This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
This may or may not be a good plan, according to circumstances. If the congregation is absolutely so poor as to be unable to pay the debt, or any part of it, then it is a most excellent plan. But if the congregation is rnerely unwilling to pay, or indifferent concerning the debt, then such a donation would result injuriously to the temporal as well as the spiritual welfare of the congregation. It is only ruinous to the interests of a congregation to have an individual render it unnecessary for them to put forth any effort. It will enervate, destroy self-respect, and defeat the object of the donor. This is illustrated by the various churches we might enumerate, which have been endowed by a misguided liberality. With no need of raising money to pay a pastor, to aid the poor, or to convert the heathen, they have dragged out a useless existence, until finally they have disbanded, or had a mere nominal existence. Any gift which renders it unnecessary for a congregation to act, is injurious to its best interests. It is better for the congregation to exert itself in raising as much as possible before the balance is donated. This will make the welfare of the church the common interest of all.
Where it is decided to be best for those who hold the mortgages, or notes, to donate the same, and such is the sense of both parties, it is always best to execute such purpose by canceling the claims in a legal manner, without delay; for life is very uncertain, and in event of the death of such intended donor, one or two disinterested heirs are likely to refuse to carry out the unexecuted purpose of the deceased.
Some congregations rush unadvisedly into debt, and then seek relief by appeals through the church papers. As long as the churches continue to withhold their tithes and free-will offerings from the Lord, so long will appeals, unless for some very special objects, continue to be unsuccessful: and as soon as the churches shall obey God's laws concerning tithes and offerings, appeals shall cease to seem necessary, for each congregation in established communities will find that they have means sufficient. The plan in all ordinary circumstances, is unphilosophical and unsuccessful.
The plan of seeking foreign aid by sending agents to canvass other congregations is kindred to that of appeals through the church papers. By all means avoid both. For an eloquent chapter on the unwillingness of Christians to help their "needy brethren," you will only find it necessary to write, asking the experience of some one who has tried either of these plans.