Does the idea of charging for access to your church’s sermon library sit comfortably with you? This question has become increasingly relevant in the last decade as churches navigate the digital age.
As church leaders, we have to grapple with how we handle the distribution of our sermons. It’s not just about convenience or reaching a wider audience; it’s a matter of principle and mission alignment.
Table of contents
Is it Even Ethical?
Consider the ethical dimension of this decision. Charging for sermons could inadvertently commercialize a sacred aspect of church life. Our role is to shepherd and nurture the flock, not to monetize essential spiritual resources.
Offering sermons freely aligns with a spirit of generosity and ensures that everyone, regardless of financial status, has access to these valuable teachings.
What does Scripture Say
Scripture offers clear guidance on this matter. For instance, in Matthew 10:8, Jesus instructs, “Freely you have received; freely give.”
This directive underlines the importance of sharing the Gospel without barriers. By freely offering sermons, we follow the precedent set by Christ and the early church – making teachings accessible to all.
Verses to Consider
- Matthew 10:8 – “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
- This verse directly speaks to the principle of freely sharing what we have been given, an ethos that can be extended to the sharing of spiritual teachings.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- This verse emphasizes the value of voluntary giving, an idea that can be applied to how church resources, like sermons, are offered to the congregation and wider community.
- Acts 20:35 – “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
- This passage highlights the importance of generosity and service, underscoring the blessing inherent in giving freely.
- 1 Peter 5:2-3 – “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
- This verse speaks to the heart of pastoral leadership – serving willingly and eagerly without the motive of financial gain.
A Practical Reason Not To Charge
From a practical perspective, free sermons can significantly expand your church’s reach. In our connected world, a sermon behind a paywall is far less likely to be shared or discovered by those outside your immediate congregation.
Conversely, free sermons can travel across digital platforms, reaching an audience you might never physically encounter.
Final Thoughts On Charging for Sermons
In summary, offering free access to sermons aligns with ethical principles, follows scriptural guidance, and makes practical sense in terms of outreach and impact. As church leaders in the digital age, our decisions around sermon distribution should reflect our core values and mission. By choosing open access, we reaffirm our commitment to spreading the Gospel freely and widely.