Giving Back To Community : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

An article in Sunday May 2, 2004 Dallas news featured playwright Laterras Whitfield. The writer spoke about how important "giving back to community" is so important to him. As I reflected on this statement (headline) it struck me that most of the time whenever a succesful black businessman/woman is in a featured article that statement allways appears: "Giving back to the community is important to him/her." Question: Why can't we start a business, launch a company with the sole purpose of becoming wealthy? Is something wrong with that? Or am I "offbase"?

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, May 02, 2004


There is nothing wrong with becoming wealthy.

Our problem is we are the only race that doesn't give back.

We turn a dollar over once in our communities. All of the other races AVERAGE a 4x turnover.

When was the last time any of our people went back to the elementary and secondary schools they graduated from and offered to tutor the students for free?

Some of us forget that it was not too long ago that we were on welfare, eating government cheese, and buying our clothes at Goodwill. If we ever want our race to move forward, we have to give back.

It's tithing on a socail scale.....OUCH!

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

Jesus' Plan and that taught by the Apostles exceeds the Old Testament legalistic concept of Tithing so many churches teach and preach. What Jesus taught was this.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again". (Luke 6:38).

No amount is specified but it even has a built in return guarantee and piggybacks on the two cardinal principles of reciprocity also taught by Jesus and the Apostle Paul. That is to say,

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31);   

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". (Galatians 6:7).

Finally, Saint Paul adds to this: "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully". (2 Corinthian 9:6).

Unfotunately, Morris Brown College is a classic example of reaping what we have sown. Much of the black community is sadly a reflection of this as well.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

My Brothers, Those were good answers but not to my question. It seems to me we as black folk are required to say: "I'm starting this business to give back to the community." when we start a business, otherwise we get no customers from the "black community". In fact our black card may be revoked as per Supreme Court Justice Thomas or Secretary of State Colin Powell or Security Advisor Rice. But the reality is we are trying to make a living. Some have asked me why my business is not non-profit and my standard answer is that I'm trying to become wealthy. I want to make a profit. Am I wrong? BTW, nothing to do with the church or religion.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

Rev. Paris,

Motive is everything. Getting is the opposite of Giving. Getting is province of the poor, while giving is the province of those who have. Surely you can start a business for the sole purpose of becoming wealthy, but by my logic, you can spend your energy to become wealthy for the sake of being wealthy, but until you give - you don't have. I think the already wealthy find wealth empty. After all, there are only so many 'things' that can be bought, and those 'things' are often burdesnome once the initial thrill wears off. What a jip - you work like a dog to get wealthy only to find that its not what you thought. But there is redemption! Give! Give Back! Improving the life of a child or a community - now that's wealth! Setting out to be wealthy for the sake of being wealthy is folly. Settiing out to be wealthy to contribute to other people's lives, well that's divine. Jesus told the rich young ruler to go and sell everything that he has and give it to the poor. Why? To make the young man happy of course! Motive is everything.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

Pastor Paris,

You are not alone. EVERY venture I've started (with the exception of my counseling website) was with the express purpose of making money, so I could give back.

I do not tell people I'm giving back to the community on my web sites. It's really none of their business. I do what I do IN SECRET. Only God, the IRS, and the recipients know I give back (and now you do).

Now, guess who's buying my products? With one exception, white people.

Am I mad? No. Am I upset? No. Do I still give back? Yes. Do I worry about it? No.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

I guess "giving back to the community" does not necessarily have to mean making money and physically "giving" a portion of it back to the community. Just opening a business and providing a service, in my opinion, is a form of "giving something back" to the community.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2004

In other words, if I employ six people in my business, then by providing six jobs I am giving back to the community. Did you know that most people are employed by small businesses rather than the large employers such as Raytheon, etc.?

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Here is something to ponder. If I "give back to the community" does this presume that I have somehow expropriated, taken or stolen something of intrinsic social value? My 8 year old son enters his sister's room and "borrows" her CD player without her permission. She finds out later and demands he return the missing item. He agrees and gives back the CD player.

Or, consider the following parable. Jonathan Jackson is a Rhodes Scholar, graduates Magna Cum Laude from Princeton and proudly displays his Phi Betta Kappa key. He is a first generation college graduate. He was class validictorian in his predominantly black inner-city HS graduating class. He was kind & respectful to his parents and all adults, an outstanding citizen, star athelete, accomplished pianist, never convicted of any crime, Church School teacher of 3rd grade boys and volunteered as a counselor at the local Boys & Girls Club in his crime-infested neighborhood. After completing his studies at Oxford he decides to enter the Sorbonnes in Paris and pursues his professional dream of becoming Curator at the Lourve.

He returns back home for his 10 year HS reunion. Many of his classmates, privately and publicly, chastise him for not returning to the 'hood and "giving back" to make the quality of life better. Jonathan, stung by the personal attacks, reminds his critics that he was working with at-risk youth when they were concentrating on hedonistic endeavors. Is Jonathan behaving in a selfish manner by not returning to his humble origins and doing what his classmate accuse him of reneging? QED

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Brother Dickens,

Since you like parables, here's one...

Jesus said, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.' "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?' (Luke 12:15-20)NIV


-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Brother Dickens, no I do not believe the brother is selfish in not returning "to the neighborhood" as his comrads stated. I have a different view of "community", as most Christians have a different view of their "neighbor". "Neighbor" is not necessarily the person who lives next door. It is everyone that you come in contact with. There is the "community" in which you live, and then there is the "larger" community in which you reside. The brother who went to school at Oxford was doing what his spirit, mind and pocketbook were directing him to do. Someone probably benefitted from it.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

I agree with "Johnathan" on this. And Augusta, too. The entire point of the dreams of our ancestors is that we would one daay be "free". This means free to pursue our own dreams, as well as free to help others. Johnathan did return to help for a while and that's great.

But there is "community" everywhere we go. WHile I was a student in Cambridge, I did "community" servicde in Roxbury, a neighborhood of Boston dominated by African Americans at the time. Since I was 400 miles from my Baltimore home, this seemed a reasonable way to shre my own skills.

We all have the opportunity to help wherever we are pklanted. It may not be the community of our birth, but if the need is great, our lights can shine there and still make a difference.

There is also a need for us to work in communities like Sis. Rogers is doing, breaking down walls of hate, discouragement, misperception, ignorance, etc.

So I think there are many ways to "give back". It is just that there are still concentrations of disparity that scream for our attention, our support, and our love.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Brother Ron -

Yes, I am an avid fan of our Lord's pedagogical tool commonly referred to as paraables. Jesus' Parable of the Rich Farmer was developed to remind us all about the dangers of selfish ambitions. The farmer was not chastised because of his high productivity, ergo, high profits. He was rebuked because of his attitude about his wealth which wasn't inclusive of others around him. The farmer chose to bask in self-aggrandizement and hoard his bounty away from others to enjoy. This was a foolish decision because he compromised his spiritual duty for short-term pleasure/gain. As Jesus was fond of saying, he that hath ears to hear, let me hear. QED

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Bro Dickens, You solved the riddle of this post. I get tired of folk who have thier own idea of "giving back" and if you don't fit thier little mold, they revode your black brother card. I like it.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Brothers and Sisters,

Forgive my answering a question with a question but here it goes...

Why would one work to become wealthy?

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2004

Cause being wealthy is good to you. No one in his/her right mind will choose to be poor, except of course an AME Preacher. By accepting a call into the AME Ministry we almost take a vow of poverty unless we choose to be bi-vocational. Or open a business.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

What about Matt 19:23-24? Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."


-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

To the AME Preachers:

Why do you take vows as AME preachers and then complain about the salaries, etc.? Did you not fully research and understand what you were accepting before you became ordained? Did you not understand that the AME Church is not a monied institution?

How unfair to your congregation that you would inflict the burden of yourselves upon them. I would not be in a church where the pastor complained. Jesus instructed His apostles to be servants. If a pastor cannot be a servant then he does not deserve to be under the banner of Christ.

Quit complaining or leave!

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

Now, now Sister Mary

Its not what you say, but how you say it. Rich or poor, content or disenchanted, let us be thankful for those the Lord has called to minister to us. They TOO are still being perfected.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

Sis Brooks!

Even the apostles had jobs to fall back on (tentmaking and fishing come to mind). And in those days, the people they preached to gave them money (Paul told one group to have the money ready so he wouldn't have to collect it on his next visit) and took care of their needs.

That was then. This is now.

The reality is that home prices and gas prices (especially out here in California) don't get discounted because you are a pastor. The bills you have are not forgiven because you are a pastor. If you are making $50,000 per year in your day job, and accept an assigment to pastor a church where you are getting paid $15,000, someone has to make up that deficit.

I don't think any of the people here are complaining; I think they are making the rest of you aware of the plight of a pastor. If I am not mistaken, this profession is the only one that the IRS allows a poverty exemption for.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

Rev. Harper,

This may come as some surprise to you, but if the cross you must bear in service of the LORD is a few bills, then hey - get over it. Those in service will never starve, they will never be without a place to stay, they'll be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Could it be they can't keep up with the Jones? No great tragedy there. Sister Mary's point (though badly said) can not and should not be dismissed without due consideration. Paul you can bet received subsistance income from his congregations at best, and surely anything over that was given back to the Church. Money is the root of all kinds of evil, and if we're honest with ourselves, we recognize that far too many of our devouts are far too preoccupied it.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

That remark about the AME Preacher and poverty was an reference to an inside joke about Methodist people. The Layman prayed to Lord; Lord, you keep him humble and we'll keep him broke." I bought my wife a mink coat and one of the good sisters thought she ought not have one and since she did, she should not wear it. The people have to be taught that if you bless the one who teaches (preaches) them you will be blessed. Galatians 6:6-10 or thereabouts. That is also the sowing and reaping scripture which is treated as negative by most people but is really in a positive light. After the congregation that I serve had been taught and experienced the bl;essings of the Lord, they stopped withholding from me and realized that thier blessings were tied to mine.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

Rev. Paris,

What need of you/your wife with a mink coat? Before you get too excited, know that its a rhetorical question. I've heard A.M.E. preachers for 30 years say that their congregation want them to "look good." What exceedingly poor judgement! The Galatians verse you site doesn't seem to be talking about mink coats or mercedes benz, etc..., but its all in the interpretation isn't it? In that same cluster of verses it also states that God will not be mocked. You mentioned this in an earlier post. I'm curious, what would you call clergy who dress in mink, drive mercedes, wear diamonds and plea for the tithe?

In Christ,

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2004

"You mentioned this in an earlier post. I'm curious, what would you call clergy who dress in mink, drive mercedes, wear diamonds and plea for the tithe?"

In my house, she is called Mrs. Harper...

She wears those diamonds, mink, and drives an E430 because God has blessed us BECAUSE we tithe. We have no problem asking people to tithe. We lead by example. End of story.

One more thing, a pastor shouldn't have to plead for the tithe. It reminds me of the story about two men talking on the job. The first man is reading a letter from his wife who is overseas. "money money money! She keeps asking me for money! $50, $100, $250! it's enough to drive me mad."

"What does she do with the money you give her?", asks the second man.

"Who gives her money?", the first man replies....

If the people tithed, the pastors wouldn't have to "plead".

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004


I almost forgot. I'm not complaining. My day job pays very well (see the above post). And I am currently running on 50% of my salary 2 years ago with added bills. God does take of you.

I will say this: I don't know of any pastors who ask to see the congregant's W-2 statements (I know of two denominations that do, and they have no issues with lack of money). So why should the pastor's books and possessions be under scrutiny/judgment?

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Bro Ron Harris, Let me show you what I said and see if you agree: First, Gal 6:6-10 make up a complete paragraph. Second, verses 7 through 9 is parenthetical information, examples if you will of the truth taught in verses 6 and 10. Verse 6 is very plain: (NKJV) "Let him who is taught the word share in ALL GOOD THINGS with him who teaches." [EMPHASIS MINE]. Now, verse 10 begins, "Therefore, . . . ." - which means: "On the basis of the preceding information . . . " Now, verse 7 is a statement of fact: "God IS NOT mocked: . . ." In other words, God cannot be mocked by you, me, or anyone else. Why is God not mocked? Because: "Whatever a man (you, me, or anyone else) sows (plants), that he will also reap." So, if we sow bad stuff, we reap bad stuff multiplied, and we are mocked, not God. Likewise, if we sow good stuff we will reap good stuff multiplied. The "multiplication" comes from Genesis Chapter 1. Notice how God says that every "seed" brings forth fruit "after its kind". One corn seed is planted and two ears with many seeds are reaped. (Praise the Lord! Makes you want to shout!) Also, the old Testament mentions "Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind". Conclusion: This scripture clearly teaches us to share ALL good things with the one who teaches. I hope this detail does not offend anyone for this is my analysis and it works for me. This has nothing to do with the TITHE. That belongs to God. I give the Tithe and offering because I love the Lord and is one way I demonstrate my love. If you have trouble giving to the Lord, you are having trouble loving the Lord. As Jesus said, "Where your heart is your treasure is also." REMEMBER, the tithe and offerings given to a church ministry is not given to the pastor, although the pastor and stewards are custodians and make decisions as to the use of these funds; responsible only to God. By the way, these are "given" not "paid".

Sorry about the length of the post. Rev. Harper: I knew there was someone else who understood as I do. Again, you have it right. In my house she is called Mrs. Paris and blessed!

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Brother Harris:

Mrs. Paris does not need a mink; I want her to have a mink, one facet of demonstrating my love and appreciation!

I call clergy who dress the wife in mink, drive mercedes, wear diamonds BLESSED.

No one should plea for the Tithe. I teach that one should tithe out of love for the Lord. No one should give to a Church or ministry unless they are convinced that the love the Lord. If one loves the Lord and is taught; they will give the tithe and offerings. If either one of these is not true, they can't give anything to the Lord. Those who do not give the tithe PLUS offerings have not been taught or do not love the Lord.

One man's opinion!

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004


I am astonished at your zeal for temporal things. Your descriptions of them as GOOD and as demonstrations of love, strike me as the kind of folly found only in darkness. Though surely I must be mistaken in this regard since you are leaders and teachers in the Church and are held to higher requirement by God, and would surely not jepordize your immortal souls temporal pleasure or gain. So I put to you - how do you co-mingle God and mammon in good conscience and recommend by your example, that those for whom you are accountable, do so too?

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

To Brothers Paris and Harper:

I am curious as to the size of the congregation each of you pastor? Are you in a rural setting or city? Thanks.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

THE BIBLE SAYS (uh oh, I'm going there):

1Cor9:14 "Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel [NIV: the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel]."

Gal6:6 "Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things [RSV: share all good things with him who teaches]."

1Tim5:17 "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

EVERYONE WANTS GOD TO BLESS THEM WITH AN ABUNDANT LIFE - but few people think their Pastor should live abundantly.

LAY MEMBERS: If you're at a small church, ask yourselves "can I live on what we pay our Pastor?" My wife and I are fortunate enough to have decent jobs with benefits outside of the church. Otherwise, with two kids (one in college), there's NO WAY - even if I was single without any kids - I could Pastor my flock.

[end rant]

Matt10:8-11 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence."

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Rev. Cager:

You are correct. There are many wonderful pastors out there who do an outstanding job in the AME Church. I know of many wonderful pastors right here in Philadelphia in which the congregation cannot pay enough. My pastor is a brilliant man, well-educated and has the Spirit of Christ in him. This man was called by God to be a pastor. I wish we could quadruple his salary because he is about his Father's business. He has never neglected his congregation, his church church is well run, and we are blessed with the Word EVERY SUNDAY!

I know of other pastors who work and pastor their flocks very well. Yes, indeed, these are educated people and they are kind and considerate in their actions. You can feel the Spirit of God in them, and yes they should be paid more, but they knew and understood the money situation when they were ordained and accepted the pastorate of a church.

Unfortunately, there are too many "Rev. Jack Legs" to use the old fashioned term in the AME Church. Everyone that claims to be called has not been called by God. There is great responsibility in shepherding a flock. The truth be told there are too many pastors that simply want a church to supplement their incomes. If they do not get a salary they are allowed a parsonage with some or all of bills paid. The sick are not being tended to and communion to the shut-ins...well you can forget it. Their sermons are not even based on sound doctrine. A congregation can take only so much mindless whooping and a hollering each week. Even the children see through the lousy redrafted sermons. The only time the congregation can feel a little something is when the pastor recites the words to a favored hymn. These pastors are there for the grab and the grab only. The sad part is they do not believe the flock has enough sense to know what is going on. Sometimes the sheep keep their mouths shut in the church and pray that God moves Rev. Jack Leg to another church. Other sheep in the flock pray not to move Rev. Jack Leg in fear that Rev. Pitiful will be assigned to their church.

Also, how much do you think associate pastors should be paid?

At an AME gathering a number of people from various churches were sitting commenting on the pastors. Everyone could pick out the good ones, the ones they wanted for their church. These men were not perfect as we all have our flaws, but there were some pastors known to an entire district to be bad news. Not only do you have to protect your pocket books, but you have to protect your sons and daughters as well.

Brother Ron, sorry you don't like what I say, but I call it as I see it. I am a grown woman and I speak for myself. You do not have to make corrections or explanations for me. The time for mamby pamby in this denomination is over. I am a woman and stand as a woman on my own as a child of God and a daughter of Allen! You take your stand on whatever you are.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

ron Harris, I can't even call you brother now.

I went to all that trouble to explain the Galatian scripture and you did not even respond to it. You are not listening and I fear your mind is closed. But one more time: Stop trying to be so holy using words like "temporal things" and "mammon" and you might understand what is being said. In other words, Keep it real. The facts are that God wants all of His children to prosper. If you trust Him, he will not give you more than you can handle. Ministers are NOT held to a higher standard than anyone else. Members who have the mind of the Pharisees of Jesus days on earth try to hold ministers to a standard they themselves set. God says in numerous places that all one has to do is: To do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Now, people like yourself want the minister to walk humbly in front of you; Forget it! This preacher is fully aware of who he is; with all his faults and failures; knows that he loves the Lord and that his Lord loves him for more than he can love the Lord. So I walk with my head held high among men; yet fall on my face before God who loves me and died that I might live: That's GOOD news. This same God says he will give me the desires of my heart. I take Him at his word because I trust him and thank him every day for making a way out of no way for me. And my bride sits there with that lovely mink, driving that new car, wearing whatever her heart desires. MY, MY, MY, God is GOOD.

Mary: I am blessed to pastor the Macedonia AME Church of Kaufman, Texas, a growing church for a coming Lord. I was assigned there in 1997. The first three Sundays I say a total of about 6 people per Sunday; no money in the bank and a building about to fall down. Now, Praise the Lord, we have approximately 65 adults, 10 teens, and 15 children and still growing. About 15% are tithers; all are givers. They learned. We are negotiating for a loan to begin construction of a new sancturary. The web site is www.macedonia-ame- . If the Lord leads you to make a contribution to our Building Fund, send to: Macedonia AME Church Building Fund, 1504 First North St. East, Kaufman, TX 75142.

Please do not send anything unless the Lord tells you to.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Oh I forgot; Kaufman is a small town that is growing, approximately 17,000 souls in the county half of whom live in the city. Meacedonia is in the city. We are about 25 miles from the Dallas City limits. Several members come from Dallas twice a week, and others are regular attendees from Dallas. Several non-members are regular contributers to this ministry.

Ron: I'm like Paul as and example. I wish to God that more were like me because I am real. When Jesus spoke of making us FREE and leaving His PEACE, he meant that as long as we loved him with all our heart mind and soul, we no longer had to pretend to be good little boys and girls. We are free to be ourselves and let His will be done in our lives. The Holy Spirit of God is in us shaping us to be what God wants us to be. Now I'm preaching.

BE sure to stop and visit us if you are in the area. We have two services, 8:30 Worship, 9:30 Church School, and 11:00 Worship. We will be pleased to see you if the Lord says so.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Sister Brooks:

"Sometimes the sheep keep their mouths shut in the church and pray that God moves Rev. Jack Leg to another church. Other sheep in the flock pray not to move Rev. Jack Leg in fear that Rev. Pitiful will be assigned to their church."

Yes. You are dead on in your last few points. Some of those who are representing the Gospel shouldn't even be allowed in church, much less be ordained to preach and teach. My constant prayer is that I not become an embarrassment to my Lord or my calling.

I've seen the effects that "Rev. Jack-leg," "Rev. Pitiful" or, worse yet, a "Bible-pimp" can have on a congregation and, to the extent that sin can be graded or mitigated (not Methodist doctrine, I know), misusing God's people and God's temple have to rank among the worst.

It cuts both ways, however, as there are many folks in the congregation who, without training, ordination, appointment from the Bishop or calling from God attempt to Pastor the church from the pews. Many a good Pastor has been run away by folks who refused to recognize the Pastor's authority.

As for paying associates, that depends on the church's budget. Like in all things, however, you cannot expect to get value without paying for it and a trained, ordained minister that does a significant amount of work for the church should get compensated.

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

Rev. Paris,

Did you actually say "Stop trying to be so holy...?" Hmmm. Let's agree that we live in different realities and that this board is an attempt to communicate between them. I did read your explaination of Galatians and was going to get back, but you know how busy life can get sometimes. I wasn't ignoring your reply, indeed, here comes my response!

I agree with your characterization of the verses with one exception. I'm not sure we agree on what is meant by 'All Good Things,' but I don't want to put too fine a point on that because it wouldn't serve the larger conversation we're having. Suffice it to say that Good is universally recognized as that which is of God.

Let me say that I too think minks, and cars and such are nice things, and it is true that our Father would have us to 'prosper.' The difference between our points of view is how we reckon 'prosperity.' In your earlier post you referenced the scripture from the Gospels that says..."Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matt 6:19-21) I agree whole-heartedly with what this scripture says, but cannot square it with prosperity that includes minks, and cars and diamonds and such?

You suggest that men want the minister to walk humbly in front of them. YES. But I would go even further, I expect them to walk as servants, humbly, meekly, abounding in love and kindness and gentleness. But think you this is too much to ask of our ministers? Injures their pride does it? Hmmm.

Lastly, the TITHE. Those who live off the tithe all teach the same thing about it. A.M.E.s all know that sermon better than any. And yet, those who tithe do so out of spirit of giving and in obedience to the Lord - however, those whose salary depend on the income of the church (regardless of how big or small) should know that the givers will most definately take note of their mink coats, their fancy cars and any other symbol of 'impropriety' (that's the word for it in my reality). Make no mistake about it, no amount of preaching or indignation will change the ground truth about the dollars and cents of tithing.

Sister Mary,

I intended no offense - God bless you.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 06, 2004

One last time Ron: Yes, I said stop trying to be holy. Only God can make you Holy. You simply do not want to trust Him because you know he will change you.

What is so difficult about "all good things"? You want to imply that it doe not include money. Consider this and tell me what it means: Haggai 2:8 "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, says the Lord of hosts." You will have to consider the text and the context, but open your mind and read and tell me what you think.

While in Haggai checl 1:6 and tell me what God is saying. Then see 1:9. Study the entire book of Haggai and tell me what the Lord says to you.

Associate Pastors Pay: Pay them what they are worth to the congregation. Gal 6:6 "Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches." This also applies to pastors. A ministers pay is not NEEDS based. If Bill Gates became a bi- vocational minister, you must pay him based only on what he teaches. Mary, your blessings are tied directly with your relationship with your pastor. If you do not pay him/her what he/she is worthy of, you will forever be in need yourself. God will take care of His servant the pastor, but you are doing the right thing because of yourself.

Humble Walk - That is the biggest bunch of garbage since garbage was invented. I serve God not men. A child of God is humble before his God; but how can a child of the King be meek before men? A royal priesthood.

The TITHE belongs to God. Ron, do you give the Tithe? I'll bet dollars to donuts you do not and you can justify it. Be honest, and tell the truth. Unless you give the Tithe, you have no right to even talk about it.

Sister Brooks, do you trust God? You talk about the wonderful pastor whom you cannot pay enough, but that is just platitudes. If you want to pay these ministers, tell God what you believe they are worth to that congregation, then set the salary at that level, ask the congregation to trust God and give the Tithe, and God will pour you out a blessings you will not have room to receive. The Bible tells of a widow who had a little oil and meal left. She was gathering sticks to cook what she had and she and her son would die. The prophet (man of God) said to her, "Cook for me first and let me eat first." She trusted God and did as the man of God asked. Her meal and oil never ran out. She was able to provide for others. If you trust God, He will provide but you have to step out on faith. Don't try to SEE it; walk in faith not by sight.

God never told us to take communion to anyone.

If it is mindless whooping, lousy redrafted sermons, get up and leave. Take the children with you and go where the gospel is preached. Why do you sit there?

YOU tend to the sick that you see. In my small flock, I can't feed everyone one, but I can see to it that all are fed.

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:14-19)

Rev. Paris,

I've finished reading Haggi and the basic theme I take away is that the 'greater the greediness the greater the disapointment.' The people neglected the work of the Lord in order to satisfy their own selfish desires and provoked the Lord. That is my reading of it.

You reject the humble walk. Do you wash the feet of your congregation as Jesus washed the feet of his diciples?

I'm satisfied that we have different points of view with regard to holiness, humbleness, tithing and walking in the Spirit. We've expressed those views on this board. Fortunately we don't have to agree. We can agree on this though, that at the appointed time, when the Lord comes, He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. In this we can all be sure.

May the Lord continue to bless you, yours, and all those whom He loves,

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

Rev. Harper,

Praise the Lord! He is indeed Good! Two quick items. If you are doing so well with your salary from your day job, why accept any salary from the church? Second, in answer to the question about scrutiny/judgment of the pastor's books, I think the answer is that the pastor must be beyond reproach and should fear no scrutiny - including the books.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

Rev. Paris says:

"Sister Brooks, do you trust God? You talk about the wonderful pastor whom you cannot pay enough, but that is just platitudes. If you want to pay these ministers, tell God what you believe they are worth to that congregation, then set the salary at that level, ask the congregation to trust God and give the Tithe, and God will pour you out a blessings you will not have room to receive. The Bible tells of a widow who had a little oil and meal left. She was gathering sticks to cook what she had and she and her son would die. The prophet (man of God) said to her, "Cook for me first and let me eat first." She trusted God and did as the man of God asked. Her meal and oil never ran out. She was able to provide for others. If you trust God, He will provide but you have to step out on faith. Don't try to SEE it; walk in faith not by sight. "

And the answer is: YES! A RESOUNDING YES! Rev. Paris I do trust God and all that you have said has been done. Not by me but by our church's Board of Stewards. You see, our congregation loves our pastor and we understand the gem that we have. We are blessed as a congregation by our pastor, Rev. Jeffrey N. Leath, D. Min. and made better because of him. God has placed an annointing on him and we recognize it; therefore, we try to see that he has all that ne needs. To be quite honest, we can never give him all that he deserves because he has been such a great blessing to the church, but we can offer the gfits that we do have. We understand that we may lose our pastor this year and our congregation says that our shepherd has spoiled us. We are uncertain if anyone will be able to fill his shoes. Alas, we are in God's hands and we trust God can provide us out of his ample resources.

In addition, our church does not solicit. Nor do we have women's day and men's day because of the successful financial plan set in motion by our pastor. Our church is a place of worship. I can only say praise be to God! Thank you Father!

You know Rev. Paris, I do trust God and have loved Him since childhood. I was fortunate to be raised by God fearing parents in a suburb of Philadelphia. I received infant baptism in a small AME Church where the Word was strong. I will always remember Rev. Napper instructing the congregation to sing Mary Louise's favorite hymn, "Blessed Assurance." I thank God for the prayers of the saints who have passed on and their life instructions. Rev. Paris, God has been good to me and to my family. My father died when I was six years old, and my mother ran her own succesful business in a small community for almost forty years. I saw her pray in the morning, in the evening and at night. Her most precious gift to me was the gift of God. She told me to always place my cares on him and trust Him for all that I would need throughout life. My mother was an orphan and I was raised without sisters and brothers; therefore, it was just the two of us. God did bless her and gave her the increase. Through God's blessings to her, she was not only able to provide an education for me, but she was able to provide for members of her communtiy as well. She was the woman named in proverbs. Because she rose early in the morning and prepared for her family, others in our community had a home to stay in many times rent free in one of her properties. Or they were able to eat when they had no food because of her. I have been able to pass on this blessing as well to others. My mother was not unique in our community. Dr. Gates, the black dentist, served as our Sunday School Superintendant for fifty years. He and his mother started a mother's club to assist women in how to raise successful children. His wife taught school and was our YPD Director and involved in a number of other civic activities as well. So you see I cannot understand our people belly aching about giving back to a community and revoking black cards and such. You give as God has blessed you to whomever, whether they be black, white or otherwise.

The next statement is an ugly statement to make, but nevertheless it is true. "A fish rots from the head down." I am not speaking of all AME ministers, but to the ones who do not have annointed fresh ideas. We are in a day and time when our clergy must be right! What was allowed or ignored in the past will no longer be accepted by your congregants. Inept and incompetent leadership has to be dealt with.

A pastor has to be about his Father's business tending to his flock. If that is done, then the flock will love their pastor and see to his needs. Perhaps, that was what brother Matthews was saying in his post earlier.

Maybe one day on this website some of our ministers will share ways on how to improve the circumstances of their parishoners instead of how they can improve their lot. It all works out in the end.

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

Amen Sister Mary, Amen. My appreciation of you grows great.

In Love,

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2004

What can separate us from the love of God? Money, mink coats, expensive cars? The problem of idolatry still plagues us today. God is a jealous God and He will have no other gods before Him.

All this talk of material gain. Does anyone desire spiritual gifts? We can have the desires of our heart if they line up with the will of the Lord. In the Book of James we find that some prayers go unanswered because we ask amiss... lustful desires.

The money that we use for extravagant living can be used for ministry. Being wise of worldly things is foolishness with God!

-- Anonymous, May 14, 2004

Clergy and lay people are not separate species. They are one in the same. Sis. Trina is correct, what about the spiritual gifts, yes, I believe those who have studied and trained and prepared themselves should be adequately compensated, because no where in the ordaination rites is a vow of poverty. I am sure clergy persons want to send their children to college just like you do. And perhaps they should work outside the church, but then do not complain when the sermons lack substance, because I would assume that takes time, do not complain when their is no programs operating in your church because your pastor can not be at work on his or her job and at the church.

Also do not complain that your pastor and his wife and their children look like "throwed aways."

I'm not mad at Sis Paris' mink coat, nor Sis. Harper's Mercedes nor Bishop Big Shot's grand house. They are the exception.

I think more of the pastor who lives in the parsonage trailer, the pastors who dwell in a hovel furnished with every members hand me downs.

I think of pastors who go into their own pockets to make sure the youth can attend some of the programs of the church and who act as janitor, handyman and gardener.

My heart goes out to the men and women who devote their lives to the work of Jesus Christ and find out that the congregations they faithfully served are quick to kick them to the curb when sickness befalls them.

No health care benefits, no death benefits, and many many times no retirement to speak of.

So go ahead sister Paris sister Harper go head slimy stewards who think the pastor should apply for public housing and food stamps.

Go ahead for God will make a way somehow.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

The facts are: God has established his system and it works well. You have to be a born-again spirit-filled Christian to even see how he wants the system to work. If a church/congregation/individual withholds support from the pastor/priest/teacher he will withhold his blessings from that church/congregation/individual. You can't starve the pastor and be successful yourself. I can give you scriptual proof but that shouldn't be nesssary. Think about this: As you know God, would he want his preacher to be broke? What about the preacjer's family? Will he bless your kids while the preacher's kids are in rags? He called Abraham and made him wealthy; he called David and made him king. Now if you want proof, send me a private email.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

Rev. Paris,

Its my practice to think myself in error when I arrive at a negative conclusion about the motives of a man's conversation and thereby render rebuke. But you sir stand at the door of a stinging one! Yet, keeping with my practice, please tell me why your reasoning does not conform to the base materialism of the lost? Do you mean to say that the material prosperity of individual members of a congregation is dependent upon the material prosperity of the preacher and his family? You hold up Abraham and David as examples of material prosperity, but fail to mention the Apostles, the Great Prophets, Elijah, John the Baptist, etc. who not only lacked it but rejected it. Please, by all means, provide some scriptual proof of your assertions. Think about this: Would the Lord have the minister of the gospel in fur and Benz while there was 1 in his charge cold or hungry?

In Christ,

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2004

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