Paul, to the church at Corinth:
"Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God." ~ 2 Corinth 2:17
"Through the abundance of your commerce (orig."merchandise") you were internally filled with lawlessness and violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you out as a profane and unholy thing From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire." ~ Ezekiel 28:16
God is raising up reformers in this hour who will be very careful not to make merchandise of the anointing that God has given them. There will also be many prophetic reformers whom the Lord will raise up to call out and confront this error and perversion in the Body. Some things are NOT for sale, and should not be used for personal gain!
Please don't get me wrong, I am not advocating that ministers should not receive an offering, or that the Lord wants us poor or broke. I am also not saying that those in the ministry should not sell books, CD's, DVD's or things of that sort...but when that becomes the most important thing, or when you will not do anything without a high price-tag, then it has become solely a business, and you are making merchandise of what God has freely given you. I do believe that those who are asked to come and minister at a church or event should receive some type of "love offering" or monetary gift for their time of ministry ("a workman deserves his wages"- 1Tim 5:18), but that should not be the primary reason they agree to come, nor should it be the driving force behind what engagements they schedule or take. If God has told you to go somewhere to deliver a message, in the end it shouldn't matter if they are able to pay you at all. Where He guides, He provides. If He has lead you there, He will provide resources and will reward you for your time, even if it is through another source. The question should only be, "is this my assignment?", not "how much money are they willing to give me to come?". I have actually known of "prophets" who required an extra $1000 if they were asked to prophesy during a meeting. Is that really what God created the five-fold ministry for? Is this really what we are allowing and accepting in the body of Christ? Is this perfecting the saints? Surely not!
This is also something that relates to ministry networks and/or alignments. They are both good things in their own right, but when your main objective is to get more people to sign up or "align" with you so you can have more monthly income, then your heart objective & purpose have become perverted.
Churches are also not exempt from this "merchandising" issue. Some Pastors will cater to high-giving or wealthier members, or they will make sure to never say anything to upset or offend those who have much influence in the church...mostly because they are afraid they will leave and take many "tithe-paying" members with them. Is this really the kind of fear we are to be functioning out of in the body of Christ? Is this not fearing what man can do to us, instead of what God is saying and wanting to do? Tithers, givers, or "partners" are not our supply...God is. When we begin to fear man more than God, we are in much of losing all that the Lord has allowed us to have for His purposes.
I have been around some of the largest churches and ministries in the world, and also some of the smallest, and this much I know - God is still the provider, and all He requires is obedience and trust. If we are willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land (Isa 1:19).
It is time for a shift in our mindsets...a reformation of the way we do "church" and ministry. It is time to reform the bride of Christ, until she is fully dedicated to His purpose and will, and not her own.