Question:

Is pledging wrong as a way of giving? That is, asking members how much they are willing to put forward for a certain project. They specify an amount, which is then collected at the right time. We must give on the first day of the week, that is set, but is that the only time we can and must give? In our case we pay rent for our place of worship. If we don't raise enough by Sunday, would it be a sin to raise the money from members during the week? I hope you can help me on this subject. We have misunderstandings at our church on this subject.


Answer:

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come" (I Corinthians 16:1-2).

There are several verses that discuss the giving and spending of funds, but this is the only one that mentions when it was done. On the first first day of each week money was to be put aside (tithime para). In other words contributed to the church. This money was to be stored or put in a treasury (thesaurizo), not in separately but in a group treasury, so that it would not need to be collected when Paul arrived to take, in this case, funds to Jerusalem.

In your case, this planning ahead for future expenses is not being done by the church. Money is needed by a certain time and you are trying to raise it at the last minute, which is why you feel pressure to collect on other days of the week. If the rent is due weekly, then build up a fund that holds a month's worth of rent. That way, even if a contribution is short one week, there is still time to make up for the shortfall.

Pledging is asking members to make vows (promises) to contribute a certain amount each week. The problem is that giving becomes a matter of compulsion. "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Corinthians 9:7). A Christian is supposed to plan his giving, but must remain his decision what he is giving and for some Christians it may vary each week because their income varies. A second problem is that pledging treads close to the boundary about promises: "But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment" (James 5:12). Giving should not be bound because people were asked to make pledges.

Generally pledges are requested because the church leaders want to set plans for future spending; yet these plans can be made by using the pattern of giving from the recent past. Budgets can be set and after the amount needed is saved, it can be spent. Too often we are influenced by our society's "buy it now and figure out how to pay for it later" mentality.