Can Christians Charge An Admission Fee For ‘Worship Concerts’ And ‘Gospel Conferences?’

Matthew 10:5-8:

5 “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give”.

Jesus never charged anybody to worship Him or hear His Word.

Apart from the ‘Good News’ of Salvation not being ‘for sale’, among other things, charging for admission to a ‘Worship’ concert or event or Gospel Conference is sin. Other reasons include that it prevents people who have little or no money from fellowshipping with God or hearing the Gospel and goes against the simplicity and importance of access to the Word of God. As Jesus intimates above, believers receive God’s blessings ‘freely’ from God therefore they should give it out ‘freely’ – and without financial “impost” or “charge”.

Christians should not be charging an upfront event admission fee as this is the way of the “world” and ‘worldliness’, which believers do not subscribe to.

Jesus says, “They (believers) are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:16). Charging for admission tells non-Christians that we also operate in a ‘worldly’ manner and thus it sends the wrong message that the Gospel of God approves of requiring money to Worship God and to hear His Word. In doing so, this is contrary to the Bible’s central Message that Jesus’ Sacrifice on the Cross is God’s freely given Gift to humanity for the forgiveness of sins with no financial conditions attached to knowing God and enjoying His benefits.

James 1:27:

27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”. We do not do as the ‘world’ does. We must make a distinction between God’s way and the ‘worldly’ way.

An example of not allowing a ‘collection’ to feature indiscreetly as an aspect of a gathering of believers or an event that is held for the purpose of advancing the Gospel:

1 Corinthians 16:1-4:-

1 “Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 3 Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem. 4 If it seems advisable for me to go also, they will accompany me.”

Regarding collections, Paul the Apostle here states that the Corinthians should set aside on the first day of every week a gift-offering to Christians in Jerusalem. In verse 2 he writes that the people ought to have already prepared their giving before his arrival so that a collection would not have to be made while he was with them. This clearly shows that believers are encouraged to observe that the collection of monies should not feature impertinently as a part of a ‘God-exalting’ gathering such as a ‘Worship’ event and therefore a perception or belief that doing so would impact upon the ‘free’ furtherance of the Gospel should be avoided.

Thus, one can conclude that the collection was not something that Paul wanted to focus on when he met with the Corinthians which he advanced in 1 Corinthians 9:13-15 that he personally by choice did not accept ‘offerings’ for his own ministry although he had the right to do so. Rather, the collection for the Jerusalem believers would be ready and put away before he arrived at Corinth thus further revealing that the issue of money should be dealt with in a manner that does not in a sense act as a “stumbling block” or “impediment” to the ‘free’ communication and blessings of the Gospel for both believers and non-believers.

But Preachers are allowed to “get paid” in ministry?

1 Corinthians 9:13-14:

13 “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel”.

Although the Bible here teaches that preachers have a divine right to earn a living from the gospel, this does not mean they can charge upfront for a Gospel event as if it is a ‘conventional’, ‘worldly’ event as explained above. There must essentially be no financial barriers to worshipping God or communicating the Gospel to Christians and non-Christians. Instead, preachers and organisers are free (if they feel led by God) to collect ‘offerings’ or ‘donations’ at the time of the event as a means for people to give to God’s work or the organisers, for, if necessary or desired, the reimbursement of costs and expenses among other things.

To elaborate, offerings or “collections” may take place only after an event or session has commenced or concluded so that, as stated earlier, it would not be perceived and believed by non-believers and believers alike that people are being “charged” to simply worship and meet with God. It is a matter of faith and personal preparation for an organiser to receive ‘offerings’ after an event has commenced instead of before and particularly in circumstances where there are substantial costs involved in organising an event.

By faith, God is faithful to bless organiser finances upon doing things in the biblical way. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus reveals this: “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. In verses 25-34 Jesus speaks of “these things” as food, drink, and clothing. Therefore, we can see that when things are done in a kingdom and righteous fashion, that is, “by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), the Lord will take care of all necessities to live and be sustained.

Collecting admission fees as a condition to entry to a ‘Worship’ concert or Gospel Conference or a similar Gospel-focused event makes no important distinction between godly practice and worldly practice in the eyes of God.

Matthew 15:9:

“They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules”.