You sense a need to rebuild or renovate your church facilities but it will cost more money than what’s in the budget. You might go in a couple directions:
1) You begin a building fund seeking pledges. You might not be sure people will be on board so you stress their need to give, as though they would be less spiritual if they didn’t. You put people on the spot, afraid if you allow them too much time to think about it they might not give as much.
2) You work together with the people to seek God’s will for building, investing much prayer into it as a group. Once a decision is made, you ask them to continue to pray about how God might want them to participate and then you provide options for them to do so.
In the first scenario, you are doing more arm-twisting or manipulation — coercion. It might yield some results, but after time, you find people no longer keeping up with their pledges.
In the second scenario, you are letting God work in people’s hearts — cooperation. It will tend to yield more ownership of the project among the people and you will tend to have people giving and helping willingly in response to God’s prompting.
Effects of Coercion on Christ-like Character:
Coercion can lead to breaks in integrity as you are using gimmicks and manipulation rather than methods that are above reproach.
Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. (Rom. 14:16)
so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky (Phil. 2:15)
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17)
Now the overseer is to be above reproach … (1 Tim. 3:2)
Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. (Titus 1:7)
not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Pet. 5:3)
Coercion can lead to ungodly motivations as you are encouraging people to give under duress, out of guilt, for show, etc. rather than with biblical motives.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. (Matt. 6:1-18)
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. (2 Cor. 9:7)
for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought (1 Chron. 28:9)
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. (Prov. 16:2)
their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. (1 Cor. 3:13)
He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. (1 Cor. 4:5)
How we approach raising money to build affects both church leaders and the remainder of the Body, possibly causing both to stumble. So, keep free from coercion!
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. (2 Cor. 6:3)