This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
A stimulating paper (PDF) examining how local congregations in the early church spent their money, and the implications for today:
While reading some patristic documents recently I was startled to discover that the Church Fathers are univocal in their insistence that the bulk of the revenue collected by a local church belonged by right to the poor. There was no exception among them that a large percentage of what was collected by a local congregation would be used for its own maintenance and ministry. In fact, to do so would have been viewed by them as a misappropriation of funds.