Vol.II No.VII Pg.2
August 1965

Firm Foundations Reprint -

Robert F. Turner


(The following is an article by bro. Eldred M. Stevens, published in F.F., Aug. 3, '65. Read it carefully! THINK!)

"The day of real independence and dignity of the local congregation is almost over. There has been so much material written and spoken in defense of "congregational cooperation" that most churches can think only in terms of cooperative work; cooperation is not only scriptural in the handling of certain vital works that are too large for a local congregation, *(see footnote, rft) but it has become almost necessary to any undertaking! Few congregations will venture out on their own in anything, from buying tracts to building buildings, to sending out preachers.

A congregation sponsored a booth at a fair. The entire cost was less than $500, not one-fourth the weekly contribution of the church. Great pains and much expense were expended to spread out the cost among some twenty or thirty churches so that there could be cooperation and so that non-cooperating groups could be identified and criticized.

Recently a preacher called to solicit some inquiries, he revealed that a strong congregation had agreed to "sponsor" him if he could raise the money. The way that many "wideawake" churches with "strong leadership" have developed great mission programs with the monies of other congregations is a bit ridiculous. It is regrettable that so many churches feed this tendency by preferring to scatter small monthly contributions to dozens of places rather than stand solidly behind anything. A local church alone cannot even have a great gospel meeting any more. It has been told that "the day of great meetings is over." However, if that church will find one or two more congregations to cooperate in a "campaign" to be financed by the cooperation of many churches, the picture changes. This is particularly true if arrangements are made for a brotherhood public relations firm to do the ballyhoo and handle the promotion. This author was recently shocked (to put it mildly) to learn the cost of postage and promotional commissions involved in some well-known cooperative "campaigns." We are traveling rapidly toward the need for turning over some tables and driving some money-changers out of the temple!

The local congregation has lost its appeal to preachers. We cry about our preacher shortage. Local preaching no longer challenges. It is only for one who is too limited in talent and void of ambition to break in at the higher levels, particularly the promotion of projects that are too big for the local church.

In recent years, the old-fashioned idea of a Christian's giving as he has been prospered on the first day of the week at his home church, with confidence in the judgement and oversight of the local eldership in the expenditure of the funds, has been junked. We have developed area-wide and brotherhood-wide directories and

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