Show me the money! Funding the Reformed Church in America

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Roger J. Nemeth
Donald A. Luidens

Abstract

Early in the movie Jerry McGuire, the demand "Show me the money!" is used by a professional athlete as his precondition for an ongoing relationship with his talent agent. This guiding principle dominates the plot as player and agent bluster and cajole, wheedle and whine, in order to promote themselves in the face of corporate and personal greed. However, in the time-honored tradition of morality plays, by the end of the film both characters learn that money is not the only, or even the most important, ingredient in their lives and in their relationship—although it sure is nice to have around!


Christians would understand this ambivalence about money. Churchgoers are notorious for downplaying the issue of finances in their church lives, much to the distress of those who are charged with managing the fiscal survival of congregations and denominations. In responses to countless surveys, the issue which disturbs parishioners the most about their congregations is (perceived) carping about donations. Having said this, however, few congregants would maintain that church finances are unimportant. Financial resources allow congregations and denominations to do the work of the church, from supporting clergy and staff to maintaining church "plants" to funding a worldwide array of "mission" programs. Despite all efforts to evade it, the issue of money inevitably intrudes on the life of the church.

Article Details

Keywords
Reformed Church in America -- Finance; Reformed Church in America -- History
Section
Articles