I am continuing to think out loud about churches applying for lottery funding for social action projects. You can see 9 reasons why church’s should receive money from the lottery here. The views expressed here are not necessarily my own, I am just trying to build the strongest case I can. What do you think friends?
1. Lottery funds are essentially dirty money
The money that comes from the lottery is gained through an immoral source and is therefore contaminated . The ends to which the money is put towards do not justify the means by which the money was gained. A lot of the arguments that are presented below are related to this basic premise.
2. Receiving lottery funding gives implicit consent to gambling
The lottery is a form of gambling that could act as a gateway to other more addictive forms of gambling. Scratch cards are seen to be particularly unhelpful as you are actively encouraged to “chase your losses” by buying more cards. At its best the church is working with those most vulnerable to gambling addictions and so to be receiving money from the proceeds of gambling is hypocritical.
3. Receiving lottery funding validates the false hope that gambling provides
The lottery has long been described as an implicit tax on the poor because it offers a false hope of escaping poverty through an astronomically unlikely event occurring. The lottery is a destructive force in society that does not help the poor but actually makes their lives worse because of the money wasted on playing and the false dreams it promotes ( see the EA ACUTE report from 1996).
4. Receiving lottery could restrict or redirect the activities of a church
As the saying go “He who pays the piper calls the tunes.” So churches that chase lottery funding may well reshape their community work so that it meets the lottery funding parameters – this will be towards social amelioration work rather than evangelism.
5. Receiving lottery funding model bad stewardship
Rather than wasting money on the lottery people should either give money directly to good causes. The support of good causes is merely a conscience easing aspect of the work .
“In the year ending 31 March 2013, 28% of total National Lottery revenue was returned to the Good Causes”
The lottery both discourages people from giving selflessly it also encourages gambling instead of saving as a way out of poverty.
6. God’s people should pay for God’s work
Rather than rely on pay outs from external sources, the church should pay for its own ministry. Even in its work amongst the poor there is more profound public witness if the church is seen to be doing it with its own funds rather than relying on lottery funds.
7 Unequally yoked
Receiving money from the lottery unhelpfully ties the church to a secular agency that would then have a degree of control over the church’s ministry. The church should be free to do what God has called it to and not reliant on
8. The lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills
God is rich enough to be able to supply the needs of his people to do the work that he has called them to do. To go cap in hand to the lottery is admission that we don’t believe God is able to provide.
9. Receiving lottery funding demotivates Christian giving
Christians should be giving sacrificially to the Lord’s work and receiving large grants from an external source may demotivate church members from giving to God’s work