Selling at the Church?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by thegospelgeek, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    I was reading the thread about the Bible misquoting Jesus, which went way off topic, and the discussion started about charging admision, charging for appearance, etc. That led me to think this.

    I have attended churches who do not allow displays setup to sell CDs etc inside the sanctuary. Singers and speakers must setup in the foyer to sell anything. Other churches who make them setup outside the church completely. Jesus running out the moneylenders is used as to why they do this.

    The question is, should a group, singer, or speaker be allowed to sell their items when appearing at a church? If so can they sell on the property, inside but not in the sanctuary, or where ever they want?

    Why do you hold to this position?
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    Good question, and a good thread to start.

    I think the moneychangers in the Temple example is HUGE for our consumeristic culture. It speaks directly, imho, to where our churches are failing.

    My position is pretty clear...there is a major contagion tainting the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is based in centering our ministries in money and superstardom. It is disqualifying us with the Gospel.

    When we allow our people to think that in order to get "this special knowledge" a presentor has given we must go out and buy their book I think we've really missed the mark. I'm not against paying for materials...I am against spending billions of dollars a year on resources that cost a fraction of that to produce. It is a misprioritization of our resources.

    I read the Gospels and the letters in the NT and see a Christiantiy that is supposed to support ministry and not material.

    I see in contemporary evangelical Christianity a group of people who support a material image and not ministry.

    Look at the "Gospel cruises" our leaders sponsor. Imagine taking that group of (say) 2,000 people on the ship and using their money to start churches and begin ministries in the 3rd world. Imagine the impact we could have.

    I know there is one ministry mentioned in the other thread, but I think it is larger than just one. How many of these ministries constantly are making appeals for money and providing catalogues of product that is just recapitulation of other peoeple's works? Seriously, how many.

    I was at a major conference last year (got my ticket from a friend who had a suite in the center and has given complimentary tickets) and all I saw was bleak, baseless consumerism. Every presentor that got up had at least two or three products to market. After a worship band led in several songs an emcee would get up talk about how great they were and tell people to go buy their CD in the (massive) resource center. That resource center was right at the front doors of the conference and (according to my friends who help with the conference) will do almost $500k in business over 3 days. At the end of every session the leaders implore people to go and check out the resource center, buy something, and then visit the fifty booths around the arena that are selling their products which are (certainly) not cheap. One time when a guy got up with a ministry that sells a product that gives a significant sum to the poor the conference leaders instructed everyone to go pick up this product (that was dumped at the resource center) so they would support the ministry. I have a problem with this mentality.

    Recently we had a guest speaker come to the church where I get to serve. Nevermind his $1500 honorarium for the 2 services he spoke at part of the deal was that he could set up a book table and sign books (250 books minimum guaranteed in his speaking deal.) Each book (he had three different books) was at least $15 a pop. During his sermon he referred to all of these books (how one made it is still a mystery) and followed up with a curt "It'll be in the back."

    When I walk into Lifeway or Family Christian Store (this isn't a knock on the stores or employees) there is a veritable sea of books, CD, and resources all bearing the name and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ all for an appropriate sum of money each. To buy a Bible you start at least $10 a pop. These are Scriptures that have been freely given to us by God. Books on finance, diet, pop-pyschology, and biographies all sell for $20+ and the books of theological and spiritual substance are tucked in the back and not awfully many. Now I'm not saying that Christians should all be reading Calvin's Institutes or Grudem's Systemmatic Theology but in a world where we apparently need more truth we have to pay to get it and in a lighter version than we should.

    It is standard practice in our larger churches to create resource centers littered with propaganda, ornaments, and trivial Christian pop-culture products that lack any theological or spiritual meaning or connection with what happened in our services that day. These resource centers are "self-sustaining" enterprises and often turn over a healthy profit for the church they exist within. Yet when someone comes to the knowledge of Jesus Christ we usher them over and show them good Bibles they can buy for a premium. This is perhaps the greatest example of moneychangers in the modern assembly of Jesus Christ.

    And the third world Christianity is being devastated by lacking of resources and people. Our suburbs are dotted with massive churches but the inner city receives no attention. Urban ministries end up being just suburban anglo-centric ministry in black face. We've got a massive problem here.

    At our conferences we laud men who have churches numbering in the thousands and enjoy cushy lives in upper middle class America, but neglect to honor the men who have given 50 years of honest ministry to the poor, sick, and homeless.

    It just is reaching critical mass for me...and you can read all about it for $24.99 in my...nah, nevermind.

    Maybe I just need somewhere to vent this too.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    If a church facility is being used for a concert, like any auditorium, they can charge admission, etc

    If used for the body of believers to meeting and be edified and fellowship, what WOULD they charge for? Books, tapes, resources? They should have a "bookstore" if they are going into the retail business.

    (BTW, the moneychangers have nothing to do with a church selling a cd. They were not setting up a "market"; they were ripping off pilgrims to the temple worship. Of course with what's preached in some churches, ripping off pilgrims is appropo)
     
  4. hawg_427

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    I do not think that groups or anybody else should be allowed to sell or set-up anything inside the sanctuary. Do bussiness in the foyer or the bookstore.
     
  5. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    Why allow in the foyer and not the sanctuary? Can you give a Biblical or otherwise stance to allow one and not the other? The moneylenders were taking advantage of people by selling at the temple. They were not in the holy of holies.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    It's up to that particular local church.

    No one needs to legislate for another church.
     
  7. BigBossman

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    This is just my belief, but if someone is at a church to do a concert & they are selling CDs then I don't see a problem with it. Its not like Wal-Mart moving into the church to sell things. I have even known churches to charge members to eat in the fellowship hall. I don't view that as business.

    Unless I am wrong (which I am from time to time), the Pharisees would set up a shop of some type in the church & expect people to buy whatever it was they were selling. Needless to say, Jesus didn't like that at all & proceeded to butt heads with them. Didn't He overturn all of the tables that the Pharisees set up in a church? The Pharisees, I think were trying to make a profit by selling things for their own greedy purposes.

    Overall, I think its according to how it is done. As long as they are not selling anything in the sanctuary.
     
  8. Jonah

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    Now thats a good question. Nit picking vs goods for a ministry

    I would propose that any selling of materials be at least done somewhere away from the coming and going to the sanctuary if for no other reason than 1Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    The appearance to someone arriving being presented with goods for sale hints of a store rather than a gathering for worship.

    Also, I would think that only the bare cost of the material would be allowed as any thing more would be a love offering to those presenting said materials.

    This is something that many Bible believing churches are getting more and more involved in and I believe it gets in the way of who should be the main attraction. And He is always watching.

    :praying:
     
    #8 Jonah, Jan 27, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009

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