Recently, I’ve come across various preachers who told me of the challenges that they faced either themselves or their congregation with fraudsters. I then realized that when dealing with people who give financial offers to you at church, you don’t take their word for it but rather be on guard. This will prevent yourself and even your pastor from any trouble later on.
There is this one type of person (a real life case) who comes new to church, and makes friends with a lot of people. He will gauge your financial condition as he laughs and smiles with you. Later he will invite you to invest in his financial scheme but there is a clause to it. He tries to get a commitment from you, that you won’t mention to anyone at church that you gave him money, I mean not even your preacher at church. He tries this trick with many church goers and is less visible at the worship services as the days go by.
At times he might give out ‘dividends’ to you in a few months time. This makes you invest more into his schemes which he keeps offering you. One fine day he stops responding to your calls. He no longer comes to church. As you keep wondering about what happened to your money and this man, you casually ask another church goer if he happened they might have met your ‘financial planner’. Let’s say this church goers name is Mr James (not using the real name). James tells you that he too is searching for the ‘investment guy’ since he too gave him a lot of money to ‘grow’ up. Eventually you and James find out more people at church who got cheated of their money by the same vile fraudster who is absconding. Now when the news reached the pastor he warned the entire congregation but also told them that never again to hide such things from him! Being able to keep secrets is a fine thing but remember that some people who are crooked might misuse trust of others when asking them to be quiet about financial dealings with them. It makes their work of deceiving other’s all the more easy.
At the times I’ve even heard of pastor’s getting tricked. Now the bait is given as ‘invest in so and so scheme and you can use the profits to help the poor and needy etc’. The preacher who goes mostly by emotions then imagines how much he loves the poor and how much the promised money can be used to fund missionary work etc. The preacher may at times not just put his own money but also the financial offerings of the people at church. Then like lighting the pastor loses the entire amount to the fraudster and his congregation instead of understanding what happened come up to their own vain conclusions. Especially in such cases the local church tries to avoid legal action and will use private detectives to run after the money. The end result is controversy and confusion for the preacher and his congregation. Such a shame indeed!
In hindsight such preachers who hear of financial schemes that are too good to be true must consult another discerning preacher or financial or legal expert before making any investment no matter how small the amount and no matter how many people can vouch for the person who is presenting the “make a lot of money in a short time” scheme.
Above all pray for discernment. Ask for the counsel of the Holy Spirit in such things. And yes, please read the Bible and verify that your actions are wise or you need to avoid any confusion over an unvetted financial offer.
Christ be with you!