Let’s Have A Bake Sale

Keith Newell

Like many congregations of the Lord's church, we have a small, yet necessary, food pantry. With it, we provide for members of our congregation who are in need. It also serves as a great community outreach by helping our neighbors who call specifically to request food (Galatians 6:10). 

We also have planned youth events throughout the year for the kids who attend our Bible classes. Not only do we do “fun” fellowship events like bowling or roller-skating, but also we try to include “service” oriented events for the kids. We desire to teach them how to put others ahead of themselves and to be servants for the Lord (John 12:26). So, what do these two ministries have in common?

At this year's planning session for our youth events, a member suggested our kids should have a bake sale to raise money. This money could be used to help re-stock the food pantry. At first, I thought she was joking. Once I realized she was serious, I bluntly told her we could not do that. There is simply no Biblical authority for such actions.

We briefly discussed the issue in private. A fairly new Christian, she was raised in a denominational setting that frequently had bake sales and other fund raisers to support their ministries. “What's the harm in fund raisers as long as the proceeds go to the Lord?” she asked. To the less mature Christian this seems to be a very logical question. After all, most of us buy cookies from the Girl Scouts, frozen pizza's to support the local Little League, or attend spaghetti dinners to help the volunteer fire company. These are all excellent groups who use fundraisers to support their individual causes. What better cause is there than the cause of Christ? So, why not use similar fundraisers to do His work on earth? 

The church is not a civic group. It is a holy group! It has been sanctified by God, and, as with any other decision we make, we must consult His word. Does the Bible give examples of fundraisers? “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” 1 Corinthians 16:2. We can also read, in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Did Paul instruct those in Corinth to have a car wash or lemonade stand to raise money for the Lord?

God did not set up the church as a business. He is not concerned about making money. He is the all powerful, all knowing, ever present Creator of the universe. Thus, He is not interested in money. Instead, He is interested in our hearts. He wants us to give cheerfully. 

There is another reason why a “church of Christ bake sale” is not pleasing to God. Not everyone who bought something from the bake sale would be doing it to support the Lord (giving from the heart). Rather, they could be giving money because they were hungry and/or the apple pie looked good. If someone really wanted to give to the work of the Lord, he or she should “lay something aside” and give it to the local congregation each Sunday. 

There is yet another possible danger with fundraisers. The very idea of selling items and making money for the Lord could lead to greed (1 Timothy 6:10). In doing so, we could place all our time and effort on “making money” instead of concerning ourselves with lost souls. In essence, we become guilty of making the Lord's church a “den of thieves” just like the moneychangers that Jesus drove out of the temple (Mark 11:15-17).

Though they are innocent enough for the world, fundraisers should have no part in the work of the Lord. Back to my original statement to my dear sister in Christ ... we simply have no Biblical authority for them. –501 Orient Ave., DuBois, PA 15801. coc@dubois.org

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