The topic of church and money is a difficult one. Nobody wants to talk about giving to the church and money in the Church. Giving to the church is an act of commitment for Christians. People give to the house of worship with the expectation of certain privileges that comes along with being a member of the church. It has been closely associated to the value of Christianity, personal faith and charity, and therefore has always been revered.
Things are changing. A visible concern during the Coronavirus imposed lockdown in Nagaland was the church. While a good section of people were distressed about shutting down churches for physical worship, there was also no option but to shift to online platform. Religious institutions or churches, reportedly the biggest recipients of charity donations no more remain unquestioned by its members. When the lockdown made it impossible for the congregations to gather, few churches picked up an intensified approach by sending out request letter to give offerings and tithes in their bank account. It did not generate positive reception. With or without lockdown, the church members still receives home-delivered envelopes with request for giving donations. Tying it to the sermon has also made the atmosphere uncomfortable. The ‘disconnect’ between giving and the sermon also scares the people away.
The church is changing and so are the people. This change has lead to discussion around the question of, are the churches talking too much about money and asking too much from its members? Likewise, hopefully the church is delving into the questions of why people have stopped giving, or is the church members overburdened or experiencing economic hardship?
These discussions and questions may be symptom of greater problem facing the Naga society. As a Christian majority State, if these symptoms are appearing here, the process of thinking, communication and addressing the issue has to be initiated. Perhaps, the right start would be for the church to consider soliciting views from their members and making it easy for them to ask questions and seek clarity on issues concerning the welfare of the church.
Comments can be sent to [email protected]