I have heard many pastors and ministry leaders say that the economic downturn experienced by many churches has greatly hindered their ability to extend their outreach both at home and internationally.
I have no doubt that this is true; however, I believe there is a deeper systemic issue at hand which is largely being ignored by the Body of Christ particularly in the more affluent. I am speaking of our complacency and carelessness to fulfill the Great Commission as well as to help the poor and needy.
We must seriously consider the path we are headed down! This is no light matter! In fact, the Bible indicts the wealthier Western nations as being guilty of the same sin that culminated in the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah being judged with fire from heaven! “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49 NIV).
I know that many will strongly object to my statement, but before you do, consider the following:
According to Fellowship of the Martyrs, “US Christians control TRILLIONS in assets while at any given time 200,000,000 Christians starve. Less than 1% of Christian revenue is spent on evangelism to the most unreached and 40% of the church’s entire global foreign mission resources are being deployed to just 10 over-saturated countries already possessing strong citizen-run home ministries.” 
Another report indicates, “If Americans who identify with the historically Christian church increased their giving to an average of 10% of income, there could be an additional $168 billion given to the church.”
One source estimates that $70-$80 billion would impact the worst of world poverty and $5 billion could end most of the 11 million under-5, global, annual child deaths. Also, $7 billion would be sufficient for global primary education for all children. One billion would address the costs of global evangelization, according to another source.
In the New Testament, it seems that the structure of the church was left to the first apostles to work out. The resources to develop and maintain the structure came from the individuals who made up the church. According to one author, the leaders had three claims of support from the early Christians: 1) relief of the sick and poor; 2) support of apostles and other traveling missionaries; and 3) expenses of public meetings. Today very little of the money given to the local church is utilized for mission. 85¢ of every dollar donated is spent on the congregation for the benefit of its’ current members. Moreover, of the 15¢, on average, that leaves the congregation for benevolences (what might be termed the wider mission of the church), only a small portion is directed to carrying out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) to make disciples of all nations. On average, a mere 2¢ of every dollar donated to a congregation goes for international missions .
Christians all over the world, especially in the wealthier nations, need to repent from the sin of Sodom and apathy towards the Great Commission and helping the poor that are dying needlessly as we do nothing. We must hold dear those things God does. We need to pray and cry out to God until we ache in our souls for those that do not know Christ and are headed to an eternity apart from Him. If we really believe there is a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned, we will sacrifice all to reach the lost! This was the heart of the Apostle Paul. “O Israel, my people! O my Jewish
brothers! How I long for you to come to Christ. My heart is heavy within me, and I grieve bitterly day and night because of you. Christ knows and the Holy Spirit knows that it is no mere pretense when I say that I would be willing to be forever damned if that would save you” (Romans 9:1-3 The Living Bible).
Beloved, we have nothing to fear in these uncertain economic times. We are citizens of heaven and as such God provides for us according to His riches in glory, not the world’s financial system (See Philippians 4:19). We too can prosper in a time of famine. However, we must be truly seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
In conclusion, let us remember that God has entrusted to each one of us “seed.” Whether it is much or little, we are responsible to sow that seed. If we do so, He will take care of us as it is only seed that is sown that He promises to multiply. “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10, Emphasis Mine).
A Life of Supernatural Living demands sacrificial giving!
Awake Nations is preaching the Gospel around the world as well as partnering with ministries to help the poor and needy. Donate online @ http://www.awakenations.org/donate/
[1.] http://www.fellowshipofthemartyrs.com/home/index.php/articles/29-about-the-church/47-are-you-kidding-me-scary-stats-and-facts.html [2.] The State of Church Giving through 2005: Abolition of the Institutional Enslavement of Overseas Missions by John and Sylvia Ronsvalle (Champaign, IL.: empty tomb, inc., October 2007) [3.] Gareth Jones, et al.; “How Many Child Deaths Can We Prevent This Year?”; The Lancet;http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/p1150140673603138111/full text; p.6 of 7/7/03 2:06PM printout. [4.] Carol Bellamy, The State of The World’s Children 1999 (New York: UNICEF, 1999), p. 85. [5.] The State of Church Giving through 2005, page 58 [6.] The State of Church Giving through 2005, pages 56-57. [7.] Luther P. Powell, Money and the Church (New York: Association Press, 1962), p. 15. [8.] The State of Church Giving Through 2003, pg. 4