The current economic problems have not spared churches where despite ambitious plans to develop God’s ministries, service collections do not just seem to meet the demands.
This development prompts churches across the country and beyond to explore initiatives such as auctions and raffle draws to raise funds for their coffers.
The other Sunday, a church elder brought a cake for auctioning at his church for the proceeds to be used to pay utility bills for the church.
“We have a cake up for grabs, buy it and contribute towards the growth of our church,” he said, quoting verses from the Bible to motivate the congregation.
In no time the congregation started the auction process. The cake, which was worth K5 000 was bought at K20 000.
One member of the church was not pleased with the initiative. He believes the auction was one of kind of initiatives that Jesus Christ condemned.
“This is not godly. In Mark 11 Jesus condemn this,” said the Christian, adding: “we are not supposed to conduct raffle draws or auctioning anything in church.”
As expected, the thinking was divided among the Christians.
But Centre for Religion and Public Affairs (Crapa) executive director Alex Business said there is nothing wrong with raising church funds through raffle draws or auctions as long as the proceeds are used to the growth of the church.
“In this century, no church can survive without finances. Churches have
reached this extent because there is stiff competition, every church wants to have excellent infrastructure while offerings often fall below their budgets.
“The context in which Jesus reacted in that temple (Mark 10:17… “But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves” is not related to this. The means should not justify the end,” said Business.
God’s Life Ministries Bishop Mightwell Ngwira said church fundraising activities are tricky, hence need God’s direction.
“The activities look Godly, but they are not fair. If God reveal the activities to the churches as a way of soliciting funds, then I do not have a problem with that. But means of giving should comply with the Bible. Christians give not that they want to eat the cake or the prizes,” he said.
A diploma in journalism student at the Polytechnic, Kissinger Longwe, said churches have to be innovative to generate funds.
“People tend to give more at prophets’ ministries, but not so much at their churches. This makes most mainstream churches to collect below their budgets. To avoid what Jesus condemned, let the funds be used for the needs of the church and nothing else,” said Longwe.