Any given thing is as valuable as the price we are prepared to pay for it. If we really want to enjoy freedom, we have to be ready to pay the price that it demands. Here are some of the possible ‘prices’ we may need to pay.
5.1 Slower Pace of Growth
From a biblical perspective, faithfulness, not pragmatic effectiveness, is the test of our faith. This may sound strange in our pragmatic times, when we tend to consider that if something ‘works’ it must be right. The Bible tells us that Abraham believed God and he was counted as righteous on the basis of that faith (Gen. 15:6): nothing pragmatic about this story; it was all about faithfulness.
If we want to keep intact the precious gift of freedom that we have received from the Lord, both inner freedom and, after the fall of communism, external freedom as well, we need to make the wise decision to accept a pace of growth for our ministry that is in strict accordance with the financial possibilities of our congregation. Otherwise we risk becoming dependent on external funding, and this is the arch-enemy of freedom.
By saying this we do not intend to promote the idea of isolating our local and national churches from the church universal. Such an approach would be contrary to the New Testament’s understanding of the church. However, at the same time we cannot accept that one part of the ecclesial body (the one that has more money) should dictate to other parts of the body (considered as ‘poor relations’). This is not biblical partnership but straight ecclesial imperialism.