The first verse that came to mind after reading this good question was Proverbs 15:8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”  Put simply, the Lord does not want the unsaved to try to minister to Him in any way.  The unsaved, or wicked, is one who has rejected God’s free gift of salvation provided through the death of God’s only begotten Son.  For this person to try to ‘sacrifice’ to God by supporting a church fund raiser to help its ministry, or by giving money when the offering plate is passed around is an offense to God.  For this very reason, I discourage any type of event where the church seeks funds from the world.  In doing this, you are allowing the wicked to offer a sacrifice…a sacrifice the Lord does not want.

I realize that fund raising is accepted and practiced by many, if not most, church groups today.  Perhaps the cause is noble, such as raising money for Bible camp, for building additions to accommodate more people, for the financial needs of members or others, etc.  Can we learn any scriptural principles that might apply in this type of situation?  Let’s read 2 Corinthians 8:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”  Paul was writing to the church in Corinth.  These saints were in need of finances.  Paul pointed out that although the church in Macedonia was also going through a time of ‘deep poverty’, they still gave funds to help those in Corinth. 

Earlier, in 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth concerning needs in the church of Jerusalem.  We read in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me.”  This shows, as the first example also showed, that support for the needs of the church groups were met by fellow saints in different locations.  Obviously, the saints in Jerusalem were in great need, so Paul taught the responsibility of believers to support the needs of other believers.  Funds were collected on the first day of the week (Sunday) to meet the needs that existed. 

I’m sure we all realize that “God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7).  We should all be sensitive towards the Lord’s leading as to our individual giving to help provided needed funds for proper causes, realizing that we should always give “as unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23).  There are blessings for those who give cheerfully to those in need, as the Lord leads.  We have an example of this in 1 Chronicles 29:9, “Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the LORD: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.”  Here, the reward was a glad heart for giving cheerfully to the Lord.

With all that said, you may ask, “What is the Lord’s method for supporting His work?”  I think it is clear that the Bible teaches that God’s people, not unbelievers, are to support His work.  I believe that it is wrong for believers to actively solicit unbelievers to support God’s work.  While most would not directly go after support from the unsaved, allowing them the opportunity to give is against the Lord’s desire.  If there are needs, let the people of the church come together to pray, asking the Lord to meet their financial needs.  Let the people be very sensitive to the Lord’s leading if He would have them give more money so that the legitimate needs be met.  As has been said before, “The Lord never orders anything He does not pay for!”  If there are needs, the Lord will lead the believers to meet that need without the help from the world.  (434.2)