Den of Thieves

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Lynx

Senior Member
Aug 13, 2014
15,047
2,789
113
#1
Christianity is big business these days. All you have to do to make money is keep up with the current trends (WWJD, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Prayer of Jabez, etc.) and make products to suit. Somebody will buy them. And you don't even have to go to the Christian bookstore. You can sell them right there at church. We have a bookstore and a coffee bar right here where you can put your trinkets in a little dish on the counter to sell. Somebody is sure to see them when he stops to pick up a WWJD pen or a large mocha before church.

So where is the line drawn between the youth group doing a bake sale to raise money to go to youth retreat and setting up a department store in the foyer? Uncle George is selling watermelons after church to raise money for foreign missions. Does that mean it is okay to open a computer store in a spare sunday school room, if the profits are going to church uses? Shoot, we could partner with Starbucks and Walmart and let them open little branch offices, if they will split the profits. It's for a good cause, right?

For the record I'm not hard-line against selling anything at church or selling anything related to Christianity. I have a lot of respect for the hypothetical Uncle George for spending his time to raise money for foreign missions, and I hope the youth group gets all they need for the trip... and I sure hope there's a chocolate chess pie at their bake sale. :giggle: But where do we draw the line?

Please note I am not saying we should be drawing any lines for anybody else. Every church needs to make these decisions for themselves. But it is something I think we all need to think about, because we need to know where that line is in our own lives, in our own churches. If your church proposes a new coffee bar to the side of the fellowship hall, where will you stand on it?
 

TamLynn

A heart at rest
Nov 27, 2014
458
583
93
#2
" If your church proposes a new coffee bar to the side of the fellowship hall, where will you stand on it?"

That would depend on what drinks they offer. What brand of coffee are they using? How much are they charging? Is there goodies also? Will there be sugar free, gluten free choices? 😉

If my church set up a coffee bar I'd be fine with that. (I actually might even stay for fellowship time because the coffee they serve now is 'bleh')
The ladies are selling cook books at the moment, I think the money is going to missions. 😀
 
R

RodB65

Guest
#3
We have a coffee bar at Church and it offers free coffee and donuts with a mixture of other pastries. I think we are having a cake auction for the youth later this month.

I have heard stories from my missionary friend about people in Kenya who walk several miles just to hear the gospel. There is no promise of refreshments or anything. So, things like this have me wondering why we nearly have to bribe people to get them in the door over here. I'm not opposed to coffee and refreshments at Church, but you have to practically beg people to visit a church. Maybe we have it too good... I don't know.

As far as cake auctions etc... to finance missions or outreach, I suppose so long as the auction does actually support the objective (missions/outreach), I don't see anything wrong with it.
 

Magenta

Senior Member
Jul 3, 2015
27,938
6,415
113
#4
I sure hope there's a chocolate chess pie at their bake sale. :giggle:
That sounds complicated to make :giggle:

PS~ it's my turn to pick up the coffee for our congregants tomorrow :)
It assures that I get there early and have more time for fellowship :D
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,169
113
#5
Christianity is big business these days. All you have to do to make money is keep up with the current trends (WWJD, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Prayer of Jabez, etc.) and make products to suit. Somebody will buy them. And you don't even have to go to the Christian bookstore. You can sell them right there at church. We have a bookstore and a coffee bar right here where you can put your trinkets in a little dish on the counter to sell. Somebody is sure to see them when he stops to pick up a WWJD pen or a large mocha before church.

So where is the line drawn between the youth group doing a bake sale to raise money to go to youth retreat and setting up a department store in the foyer? Uncle George is selling watermelons after church to raise money for foreign missions. Does that mean it is okay to open a computer store in a spare sunday school room, if the profits are going to church uses? Shoot, we could partner with Starbucks and Walmart and let them open little branch offices, if they will split the profits. It's for a good cause, right?

For the record I'm not hard-line against selling anything at church or selling anything related to Christianity. I have a lot of respect for the hypothetical Uncle George for spending his time to raise money for foreign missions, and I hope the youth group gets all they need for the trip... and I sure hope there's a chocolate chess pie at their bake sale. :giggle: But where do we draw the line?

Please note I am not saying we should be drawing any lines for anybody else. Every church needs to make these decisions for themselves. But it is something I think we all need to think about, because we need to know where that line is in our own lives, in our own churches. If your church proposes a new coffee bar to the side of the fellowship hall, where will you stand on it?
We have a coffee bar at Church and it offers free coffee and donuts with a mixture of other pastries. I think we are having a cake auction for the youth later this month.

I have heard stories from my missionary friend about people in Kenya who walk several miles just to hear the gospel. There is no promise of refreshments or anything. So, things like this have me wondering why we nearly have to bribe people to get them in the door over here. I'm not opposed to coffee and refreshments at Church, but you have to practically beg people to visit a church. Maybe we have it too good... I don't know.

As far as cake auctions etc... to finance missions or outreach, I suppose so long as the auction does actually support the objective (missions/outreach), I don't see anything wrong with it.
I'm just waiting to tally up how many times the passages about how money is the root of all evil (actually, it's the love of money, not money itself), and that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven will be quoted (but yet many of the major figures in the Bible weren't exactly poor.) I often wonder if Abraham's wife Sarah would have ever been seen shopping in Walmart in today's world.

Ah, money and the church - a debate that's sure to last until Jesus finally comes back.

I've wondered about these things as well whenever I go to pick up a new Bible and have to try to avoid tripping over the racks, shelves, and dishes of "Jesus" lunch boxes (loaves and fishes, of course!), "Jesus" arm bands, "Jesus" kitchen utensils (nothing like making bread in a pan that reminds you that Jesus is the bread of life), and, quite literally, "Jesus" rocks (an actual pan of rocks with inspirational words, passages, or messages on them.)

Now I am all for having Jesus-themed merchandise available to us... But as someone who's grown up in the church all my life, unfortunately, I only have more questions and no solid answers.

1. Rodney made an interesting point about the fact that most people (including myself) want to come to a church where comfort and benefit are involved, especially these days. Everyone wants comfortable seats in a temperature controlled building, an outstanding praise and worship team, a wide array of refreshments, and sermons that knock us off our feet with feel-good messages that tell us how much God loves us and is going to heal our sicknesses and solve all our problems.

And all of those things, whether outwardly admitted or not, take money. No one is going to show up if the church is too hot, too cold, too uncomfortable ("I can't stand those hard pews!"), has too much or too little lighting, or is too loud or too soft. Even if a church has talented musicians, no one will come if the sound system is too outdated to be able to comfortable hear the worship. Everyone (including me) is looking for their own version of a Goldilocks church in which everything is JUST RIGHT.

Churches that can't provide those things quickly go under, because everyone wants them... but who should have to pay for them?

There is a myriad of things I'd love to bring up here, but don't want to run the risk of boring people to death :D, so I'll just mention a few observations.

2. Years ago, I wrote a thread called, "We Want to Have Another Baby - and We Want You to Pay For It." This was a thread based on real-life things I'd encountered with some of the missionaries my church supported - Godly, loving people who were following what they believed was their calling from God, and felt that part of this calling was to expand their families.

But I was left asking myself, what separates their need and want from any other Christian family who wants to have a child, and does being part of the mission field automatically mean that the people supporting them should be expected to up their donations (taking away from their own families or own desire to have another child) in order to pay for it?

3. The Lutheran synod I grew up in (WELS) believes in having their own separate school system as an option for Christian education, but unfortunately, usually (at least where I grew up), has absolutely no means to pay for it except donations from its members, and that never seems to work out very well. People only have so much to give, and for some reason, that seems to go by the wayside.

At last check, the Lutheran high school I attended is 1.5 million dollars in debt. I remember when I first attended another church (in a different synod) that DID NOT HAVE ANY DEBT, and I was blown away because I didn't even think that was possible. But this was a church that believed in sticking to a budget rather than plowing ahead and hoping for miracle money to show up.

In the church I grew up in, they had great ambitions and good hearts, but also a rampant habit of always spending far beyond their means - however, it was always justified because it was believed that since they were doing the work of the Lord, somehow, the Lord would provide. I have even heard of churches praying for millionaires to come to their church, get saved, and then make massive donations, which, to me, is pretty much the spiritual equivalent of counting on winning the lottery.

And all too often, these miraculous provisions never appeared. Something I witnessed that always frustrated me in my old childhood church is that leadership often seemed to ignore what might have been God's very answer to them. My particular church had several gifted businessmen on their board of elders who put a lot of their own time, energy, and effort into drawing up reasonable budget plans for the church, which, to my limited knowledge (though I could be wrong) were always ignored. All I know is what I heard behind the scenes, and that the the church was always striving for more, more, more, and then we would see a big, bigger, outrageously-sized debt that would be printed in the church bulletin.

No, the solution was never to budget, spend within the church's means, and limit themselves to what the church could afford. No, no, no, because the men of God always knew better than men whom God had gifted in specific areas having to do with money (because after all, people who know anything about money are those dreaded camels who can't fit through the eye of the needle.) But yet, of course, the people who knew how to manage money were always expected to be the ones to give, rather than helping others learn financial responsibility as well.

Why would God drop more money into anyone's lap, even a church, if it was just going to be spent like water and with no accountability?

The one thing I do think my childhood synod got right was trying to keep their ambitions separate from outside funds, which I was reminded of when Lynx wrote about engaging in partnerships with Starbucks or Walmart.

I might be wrong about this (please correct me if I am), but the Catholic church will take donations from anyone (I don't mean that as a criticism, just as a point of difference, and maybe I'm wrong?) but the church I grew up in kept all funding within the synonymous synod network to avoid being influenced or lobbied by outside sources.

For example, in my neighborhood, kids would come around selling things for their Catholic school fundraisers all the time, but our synod never did that. All funds had to come from synod members, which is why we were always so behind in everything.

Everyone wants the "best" church that they can attend.

But who, what, and how it should be pay for?

Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to agree, and it becomes yet another point of contention that just further divides the church.
 
R

RodB65

Guest
#6
Quoting SeoulSearch:
In the church I grew up in, they had great ambitions and good hearts, but also a rampant habit of always spending far beyond their means - however, it was always justified because it was believed that since they were doing the work of the Lord, somehow, the Lord would provide. I have even heard of churches praying for millionaires to come to their church, get saved, and then make massive donations, which, to me, is pretty much the spiritual equivalent of counting on winning the lottery.

And this can be a huge problem. Budgets built by faith don't work.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,169
113
#8
P.S. Lynx, I just realized that I didn't answer a single question in your original post and then completely derailed the subject. :rolleyes: My apologies. I think I'm on my way to being banned from posting in other people's threads. :sneaky:

I've always been drawn to craft-type hobbies, and one of the ways I used to unwind was by making string friendship bracelets and also putting together various inexpensive pieces of jewelry. Sometimes I'll go on a kick (or be especially stressed out o_O) and will start mass-producing things that I never even wear (and always wind up giving away as it is.)

One of my goals was to try to make enough to donate to a church fundraiser so that any and all money that came in would be given to the cause.

And, if you want to know my final answer :geek:, sometimes I just want a donut and a cup of coffee :coffee: before church, ok? :p

If I have to make a drive-by stop at a Dunkin' Donuts, so be it, but if they're available for sale right at church and I can justify all those calories as going towards a good cause, well, the that's even better. :cool:
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,169
113
#9
And this can be a huge problem. Budgets built by faith don't work.
Amen.

If He builds it, they will come.
That's exactly what my childhood church said... and so, a million and a half dollars of ever-increasing debt later...

I would have to argue that even if God is the one behind it, that doesn't mean people will show up. The entire Bible is mostly filled with stories of people who ran away from the very things God was trying to build or do.

And even if people do show up, that doesn't mean they're going to bring money with them or offer it. (I'm not saying they should or should have to at all. I'm just saying, I completely agree with Rodney's statement that budgets can't be built on "faith" - and not reality - alone.)
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
11,357
5,756
113
#10
Good thread... already so much that warrants a response.

First, to the OP: I think a coffee bar is okay, because many people drink coffee anyway, and if it's not available at church, they'll go to McD's or the local Timmy's. Some unsanctified types might even go to Star*ucks. Might as well serve good coffee right at church to facilitate fellowship. If there are any profits, they should go directly to the general fund.

Jesus-themed merchandise? Bleh. Kitsch and junk destined for the next rummage sale, or the post-divorce garage sale. (What, me cynical?)

Fundraising for missions? Leave that to the youth group. Even then, better for them to pray for God's provision and ask around for small paid jobs they can take on. I'm not a fan of selling goal-specific items that people wouldn't buy otherwise. I'd rather just write a cheque... or not.

SS made many good points. I don't remember the "We Want to Have Another Baby - and We Want You to Pay For It" thread, but I'd have some stories to add to it. I recall a congregational meeting where the pastor's salary was being discussed, and someone had the (offensive noun) to suggest that because he and his wife had four children, and his wife contributed in the community (unrelated to the church), that he needed a raise. (What, me cynical?)

I look at church fundraising this way: my church has salaries and bills to pay. I'm a member, and therefore I have already accepted that I have a responsibility to help cover those expenses. I do so by writing a cheque after each paycheque I receive. I'm not keen on extra offerings for this, that, and the next thing. Either put it in the budget, or don't. We do extra offerings for external needs, but there is not a lot of pressure for internal ones.

Back to coffee at church: a couple of ladies recently launched a coffee and fellowship morning once a month. The idea is to encourage people to get to know each other. For the price of a couple of carafes of coffee (and fixings), the church facilitates an important function. I intend to participate as often as I'm able.
 

calibob

Sinner saved by grace
May 29, 2018
6,877
4,614
113
65
lawton ok
#11
Good thread... already so much that warrants a response.

Some unsanctified types might even go to Star*ucks.
Huh? I don't get it. After a Tuesday or Thursday night Bible study I've often gone with a small group, to a coffee shop for some coffee and pie, while continuing to discuss what we studied in the earlier evening. I fail to see what Starbucks has to do with sanctification. Other than their ungodly prices.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,169
113
#12
If He builds it, they will come.
Disclaimer: Hi Stonesoffire - please know that I am NOT trying to pick on or make fun of your post at all - you've made a most excellent point here and I'm glad you brought it up.

Unfortunately (and maybe it's just my own background), I have seen this thought misused and misapplied many times throughout my church history.

* I think one of the most important things any faith-based person, church, or organization has to try to discern is whether or not their plans are actually based on a motivation to build God's or their own kingdom, and admittedly, it seems the lines are often blurred.

Several years ago, a family member shared a letter with me from my old childhood church, in which they were asking for funds for their latest building campaign. The old grade school (separate from the high school I often mention) was already 2 stories high, but they wanted to build a 3rd story with a music school that they were sure was going to attract a ginormous following of new members who would surely then help pay off the even more ginourmous amount of debt it would take to build.

But in the meantime, of course, they needed to raise as much money as possible, or at least, to qualify for yet another loan.

It would all be to the glory of the Lord, of course, and after all, the Lord loves a cheerful giver!

Now on one hand, churches such as this that don't accept outside funds can be a protection from outside influences, but on the other hand, this also creates an environment in which the same people are drilled over and over for more and more money, so it's really no wonder why so many people feel that churches are all about money.

Even my relative, a lifelong, dedicated member, was fed up. One of my own fights of faith with God has been, "Why did you create me to just earn money that will all be handed over for things I'm not even sure I support?" My old church just assumed that if they had come up with the idea, it must be from the Lord, and surely He would provide, or the congregation members should bleed themselves out in order to help pay for it.

Now, contrast this with a different church I was attending that was already growing in numbers (unlike my childhood church, all the new people were already there and filling the pews.) My childhood church's solution would have been to build on an extension long before anyone new was even attending.

But this other church I was attending had no debt and if possible, wanted to stay that way. Their solution was to first utilize what they already had, offering new service times and days throughout the week, and asking regular members to please try attending these new times (even if it meant, gulp, making a sacrifice in their own schedule) to allow the newcomers a place in the regular Sunday services.

They wanted to try this for 6 months, and if that didn't meet the needs of the growing congregation, they would then look into other options.

Goodness gracious. I was dumbfounded, because I had never heard of such a thing within a church before!!! Using what you already have? Exploring other means before diving off the deep end right away? Asking members to sacrifice/change their normal service time instead of automatically asking for more money?

I realize churches are caught in a vicious cycle - they somehow have to balance building the kingdom of God while attracting new members, hanging on to old ones, and bringing in enough money to keep all the comfort-inducing utilities going in their (modern, updated) buildings.

However, this also taught me a huge lesson when considering how, where, and when to give my tithes and offerings.

The first thing I would want to know, whether it be an individual or organization, is where the money is actually going, and if they can demonstrate a long-term track record of financial responsibility to begin with.
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
11,357
5,756
113
#13
Huh? I don't get it. After a Tuesday or Thursday night Bible study I've often gone with a small group, to a coffee shop for some coffee and pie, while continuing to discuss what we studied in the earlier evening. I fail to see what Starbucks has to do with sanctification. Other than their ungodly prices.
It's an oblique way to say I don't like their coffee... at any price. I was chatting with a barista one day, and contrasted dark roast coffee, which I enjoy, to "Starbucks Burnt". She immediately understood what I meant, as did a couple of other customers.
 

stonesoffire

Poetic Member
Nov 24, 2013
10,117
1,546
113
#14
Who I mean’t by He is Holy Spirit. If the presence of God is in our midst? Jesus said if He is lifted up, He will draw all men.

Has nothing to do with money, donuts, or a building even.

There’s a church in the neighboring city that I love to go to. They worship and this draws people there.
 

seoulsearch

OutWrite Trouble
May 23, 2009
11,867
2,169
113
#15
I was chatting with a barista one day, and contrasted dark roast coffee, which I enjoy, to "Starbucks Burnt". She immediately understood what I meant, as did a couple of other customers.
I fail to see what Starbucks has to do with sanctification. Other than their ungodly prices.
Hmm.

Between the burnt coffee and the ungodly prices, I'm about half a flame away from declaring Starbucks to be the "Work of the Devil." :devilish:
 

calibob

Sinner saved by grace
May 29, 2018
6,877
4,614
113
65
lawton ok
#17
Disclaimer: Hi Stonesoffire - please know that I am NOT trying to pick on or make fun of your post at all - you've made a most excellent point here and I'm glad you brought it up.

Unfortunately (and maybe it's just my own background), I have seen this thought misused and misapplied many times throughout my church history.

* I think one of the most important things any faith-based person, church, or organization has to try to discern is whether or not their plans are actually based on a motivation to build God's or their own kingdom, and admittedly, it seems the lines are often blurred.

Several years ago, a family member shared a letter with me from my old childhood church, in which they were asking for funds for their latest building campaign. The old grade school (separate from the high school I often mention) was already 2 stories high, but they wanted to build a 3rd story with a music school that they were sure was going to attract a ginormous following of new members who would surely then help pay off the even more ginourmous amount of debt it would take to build.

But in the meantime, of course, they needed to raise as much money as possible, or at least, to qualify for yet another loan.

It would all be to the glory of the Lord, of course, and after all, the Lord loves a cheerful giver!

Now on one hand, churches such as this that don't accept outside funds can be a protection from outside influences, but on the other hand, this also creates an environment in which the same people are drilled over and over for more and more money, so it's really no wonder why so many people feel that churches are all about money.

Even my relative, a lifelong, dedicated member, was fed up. One of my own fights of faith with God has been, "Why did you create me to just earn money that will all be handed over for things I'm not even sure I support?" My old church just assumed that if they had come up with the idea, it must be from the Lord, and surely He would provide, or the congregation members should bleed themselves out in order to help pay for it.

Now, contrast this with a different church I was attending that was already growing in numbers (unlike my childhood church, all the new people were already there and filling the pews.) My childhood church's solution would have been to build on an extension long before anyone new was even attending.

But this other church I was attending had no debt and if possible, wanted to stay that way. Their solution was to first utilize what they already had, offering new service times and days throughout the week, and asking regular members to please try attending these new times (even if it meant, gulp, making a sacrifice in their own schedule) to allow the newcomers a place in the regular Sunday services.

They wanted to try this for 6 months, and if that didn't meet the needs of the growing congregation, they would then look into other options.

Goodness gracious. I was dumbfounded, because I had never heard of such a thing within a church before!!! Using what you already have? Exploring other means before diving off the deep end right away? Asking members to sacrifice/change their normal service time instead of automatically asking for more money?

I realize churches are caught in a vicious cycle - they somehow have to balance building the kingdom of God while attracting new members, hanging on to old ones, and bringing in enough money to keep all the comfort-inducing utilities going in their (modern, updated) buildings.

However, this also taught me a huge lesson when considering how, where, and when to give my tithes and offerings.

The first thing I would want to know, whether it be an individual or organization, is where the money is actually going, and if they can demonstrate a long-term track record of financial responsibility to begin with.
Here's about how it breaks down in the United States. In order to keep the non profit status the church must spend about 80% of the tithes and offerings This allows the pastor and staff 20% however as the membership increases so does the income and thus more money must be spent. So building funds and never ending expansion is a good investment. If the number of attendees falls or there is a scandal, the real estate is still worth $$$. Let's not forget the 20% skim off of the top.

The non profit organization loophole is often turned into a scam. And mega churches tend to grow too big to manage. So between financial, personality clashes and scandals like who's been sleeping with whom they tend to fail. In part because the attendee's quickly forget the leaders have feet of clay. Power and money are intoxicating and seductive. We all are merely sinners saved by grace, at best.
 

calibob

Sinner saved by grace
May 29, 2018
6,877
4,614
113
65
lawton ok
#18
There are also donations to the ministry by people who think salvation is some kind of commodity that they can buy with things like cars, that the pastors neither buy, nor pays taxes on. Fancy limos with wire wheels, Armani Suits etc.

Jimmy Carter was inaugurated in a $200 suit I'd bet Benny Hinn's suit costs $4000.00, at least!
 

Deade

Called of God
Dec 17, 2017
11,518
6,056
113
73
Vinita, Oklahoma, USA
yeshuaofisrael.org
#19
We have a coffee bar at Church and it offers free coffee and donuts with a mixture of other pastries. I think we are having a cake auction for the youth later this month.

I have heard stories from my missionary friend about people in Kenya who walk several miles just to hear the gospel. There is no promise of refreshments or anything. So, things like this have me wondering why we nearly have to bribe people to get them in the door over here. I'm not opposed to coffee and refreshments at Church, but you have to practically beg people to visit a church. Maybe we have it too good... I don't know.

As far as cake auctions etc... to finance missions or outreach, I suppose so long as the auction does actually support the objective (missions/outreach), I don't see anything wrong with it.
Being a missionary, I know full well the struggles of missions. I think any church worth its oats will have an outreach ministry to help the poor. If we see how God set up the temples and refuge cities for ancient Israel, we will notice the poor always must be provided for.

SS described an isolationist church and its inherent problems. God does not bless them because they separate themselves from the community. If they took those outside donations and helped the downtrodden around them, they would fair a lot better. Churches ran by blacks in black dominate communities seem to have a better handle on this. Working with them I have found if you approach the church leaders with a problem, they would try to help in some way.

That mindset, of helping the poor, will also exclude any megachurch of having too much money. All they would have to do is get their minds off building a bigger church and put it into poverty outreach. The solution is also self adjusting. If you take in more money than the poor in you community needs, just expand you community. Taking the whole world into consideration, you will always have more poor people than money.

like Rod stated above, we Americans have gotten too fat and lazy. We build these fancy homes and keep them even after our children move out.
 

tourist

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2014
29,092
7,499
113
64
Florida
#20
Christianity is big business these days. All you have to do to make money is keep up with the current trends (WWJD, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Prayer of Jabez, etc.) and make products to suit. Somebody will buy them. And you don't even have to go to the Christian bookstore. You can sell them right there at church. We have a bookstore and a coffee bar right here where you can put your trinkets in a little dish on the counter to sell. Somebody is sure to see them when he stops to pick up a WWJD pen or a large mocha before church.

So where is the line drawn between the youth group doing a bake sale to raise money to go to youth retreat and setting up a department store in the foyer? Uncle George is selling watermelons after church to raise money for foreign missions. Does that mean it is okay to open a computer store in a spare sunday school room, if the profits are going to church uses? Shoot, we could partner with Starbucks and Walmart and let them open little branch offices, if they will split the profits. It's for a good cause, right?

For the record I'm not hard-line against selling anything at church or selling anything related to Christianity. I have a lot of respect for the hypothetical Uncle George for spending his time to raise money for foreign missions, and I hope the youth group gets all they need for the trip... and I sure hope there's a chocolate chess pie at their bake sale. :giggle: But where do we draw the line?

Please note I am not saying we should be drawing any lines for anybody else. Every church needs to make these decisions for themselves. But it is something I think we all need to think about, because we need to know where that line is in our own lives, in our own churches. If your church proposes a new coffee bar to the side of the fellowship hall, where will you stand on it?
I would prefer that the church partners with Dunkin Donuts for the coffee and donut fellowship after the service. If I were at your church I would have bought a watermelon from Uncle George. It is almost summer and I have yet to buy my first one.