12 July 2013 by Adeline Lum CM-
While money is a sensitive subject, it can determine whether a church continues to run or not. This is a story of how God richly provides for His church.
Since January 2011, Pastor Joshua Low was released from the mother church, Hosanna Praise Assembly in Subang USJ, to independently run his church, Hosanna Praise Assembly in Kajang. In other words, the church would need to financially support itself since then.
Nevertheless, they faced two challenges.
Firstly, the church expenses were 1.5 times more than Joshua’s allowance before release. Secondly, they only had three families of 15 people committing to the church; where by the remaining congregation of 45 people were visitors.
“I remember the mother church (AOG) was concerned on whether we can even afford our electricity bill,” said Joshua.
A crucial moment to know if a young church could run independently, Joshua wondered how the money would come in for the church’s first month of independence.
“We never saw the money coming in. But I believe that God will send the burung gagak to bring the money in,” said Etmi, wife of Pastor Joshua, citing how the ravens brought food for Elijah (1 Kings 17:6).
And prophetically, in the last week before the church was due for payment, a big and tall Nigerian man came in for the service. He asked for the priest of the church, so that he could personally hand the tithe to the priest. But Etmi told him that all tithes are collected in a box.
Hence, he took out a pile of cash notes totaling to RM5000 and pressed them down into the hole of the box, mirroring Luke 6:38. That amount allowed them to pay off the church’s expenses.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“It was the first month we need to establish ourselves as an independent church. Since then, no one was worried about how God will provide for the church to run,” said Joshua.
And like how David who fought the lion and the bear before fighting Goliath, Joshua was confident that the Lord will continue to provide for their second month and the following months.
“Because I also lacked faith, I asked the mother church to provide us with the rental and salary for the first six months we become independent as a back-up financial plan.”
“But until now, God didn’t allow us to touch the money laid aside because they were collected due to lack of faith,” said Joshua.
Hence in 2011, not only they paid the church expenditure, they had surplus to fund mission giving, especially in helping needy pastors in their building projects.
“Many churches cannot move forward because of money. We don’t have money but now, we have more than we need. When God bless you, you must know how to use His blessings the proper way,” said Joshua.
As a pastor, financial management is as important as the financial attitude, where one needs to be careful from being greedy.
“It is God’s job to bless the church with money and to stir the hearts of men to give because running a church is God’s business, and our job is to share about Jesus because He is the desire of all Nations (Haggai 2:6-7),” said Pastor Joshua Low.
6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations,[a] and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.
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