I understand where Duff is coming from on the money thing and I think I can speak to that just a bit.
I've served on the budget and finance committee at a couple of churches and actually chaired the committee one year. Most churches have a heavy debt obligation on the property and also have to support the pastor, music minister, etc. There is also ongoing expenses such as property and grounds maintenance. There are also utility bills. These are fixed expenses that must be met every month.
Most churches also do ministrys of some kind such as inreach and outreach and also healp needy people that stop by for help with cash or food. Some churches support foreign ministry in other countries by sending money to missionaries.
There are expenses for educational materials such as sunday school supplies and music sheets.
It's not unusual to pay the person playing the piano. When the pastor is absent the church pays for a guest pastor to preach. The church has to be cleaned and sometimes a cleaning service get contracted to do that, especially if the church property is large.
The church budget is usually voted on by the membership and i'd expect that you could get a copy of it just by asking. It will show where the resources that are given are expected to be applied during the year.
It's a fact that %20 of the people attending church pay %80 of the costs of running the church. If you have 200 families in attendance that's about 40 of them.
Now, to the heart of the matter. There are certain churches, ministries and preachers that preach a "prosperity" gospel - give and God will make you rich. It sounds like Duff's mom may have gotten involved with some of these characters. The bible does say (and I don't one right in front of me right now so I can't quote the exact verse) essentially that God will bless the giver. In fact, it's the only place in the bible that God says you can test him on what he promises.
God loves a cheerful giver and there are some verses in Malachi that talk about giving. I believe that if a person is a Christian they should financially support the ministry of Christ in some way. How you give is between yourself and God, and should be a matter for prayer.
As far as the baptism goes - it's not unheard of to have a small party in someone's back yard with a pool and baptise people in the pool. That way you can have friends and family around in a comfortable setting and have some burgers on the grill when it's done. You might want to wait till it warms up a bit though
Consider getting involved in a Sunday school group. That's a great way to meet people and make friends.