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Crucified Giving Changes the World by Wolfgang Simson

Crucified Giving Changes the World
By Wolfgang Simson translated by Steve Bufton
From the Friday Fax (12/23/05)

Two main themes are currently determining the future of Christianity: firstly, the rediscovery of the original nature and organic structure of Church, and secondly, the rediscovery of New Testament financial principles. When much of Christianity follows money instead of the Lord, what is the effect on the original aim and mission of the Church? Could it be that its operating system - its financial principles - is damaged?

"Everything you've heard about work and money in the church is wrong!" That was the background of a 2005 book by Dr. Thomas Giudici and Wolfgang Simson, examining materialistic 'Mammon-addiction' in both individuals' lives and the Church (in German, "Der Preis des Geldes", www.preisdesgeldes.net). Constructive criticism isn't enough, though, so the book also suggests alternative financial models. One of those models is "apostolic finances", principles for work and finances which support the mission of the Church, not its self-centered or even pleasure-seeking status quo.

Around the world in the course of the past decade, well over 100,000 churches have been planted according to an entirely new model, as described in the two most recent issues of the Friday Fax 2: house churches and regional apostolic networks. Baptist researcher Dr. Jim Slack as shown that all current and past effective long-term missionary models are house church movements - or at least were in their initial phases.

In 2001, following two years of research in India funded by American Christian foundations, Dr. David Barrett discovered that investing in multiplicative organic house church movements has the highest ROI (Return on Investment). Traditional churches, with their astronomical running costs, can never win so many people to Christ and disciple them at such low cost.

What did it cost to start these 100,000 churches? Churches with no building or parking lot, no paid pastor or youth leader, no overhead projector? Totalling the costs for all the travel required, seminars, training, research projects, equipping of the few key people and multipliers, plus emergency welfare assistance, we arrive at no more than $30 million per year, or around $300 million over the past decade.

In comparison: traditional Christianity, with its countless programs, mountains of paper, training, permanent evangelistic events, church buildings and maintenance costs, salaries of church employees and budgets for welfare and mission, cost an incredible $286 billion per year, according to Dr. David Barrett, or $2,860 billion over the decade. $300 million is one ten thousandth of that sum! What would happen if Christians changed their giving habits over the next ten years, so that instead of 0.01%, 10% of Christian finances were invested in strategic multiplicative church planting movements? It would lead to a missionary explosion of incredible proportions. In order for that to happen, we believe that a 'financial salvation' or 'financial repentance' is necessary. We call it 'crucified giving'. The cross is not logical, uncrucified giving is: it demands hard facts, reasons to expect a return on investment, a business plan and visible, rapid results.

The cross is hidden, uncrucified giving finances the shiningly obvious. The cross is weak, uncrucified giving finances the strong. Crucified giving knows that we are strong when we are weak, and recognizes that desert experiences are often the most important times for God's plans. Crucified giving is glad when a grain of wheat falls in the ground and dies because it knows God's promises; uncrucified giving wants a depot full of combine harvesters. Crucified giving recognizes that Jesus knows what the money is for better than we do, and submits to his principles.

The Friday Fax is originally published in German by Wolfgang Simson, and translated into English by Steven Bufton. This version © 2005 Steven Bufton. Permission is granted, however, to publish stories from the Friday Fax, provided these are correctly attributed to "The Friday Fax, www.bufton.net/fridayfax".

See also: The Starfish Vision by Wolfgang Simson

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