Unfortunately, it can be hard to see God present in churches. Our eyes too quickly skip over the generous and quietly effective congregations in our midst. It's much easier to sneer, justifiably, at predatory preachers traveling on private jets and counting the money they've fleeced from misled donors. How will God protect us all from their deceits?
The New Testament praises those who give generously to the needy and to support the people who provide leadership to Christian communities. Almost just as often, it tells those leaders not to be financial burdens to others or to create circumstances in which they appear to be unduly profiting from their preaching.
We claim to have a heart for the poor, for changing the world to more closely reflect the divinely inspired kingdom vision offered to us by Jesus. And yet, the tools required to make the changes are right before us. It's how we're choosing to employ them that betrays the darker nature of our all-too-human hearts.