Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Revolution Is Especially Valuable To Churches

I still enjoy listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio. My favorite part of his show is his sign off, "The only way to financial peace is to walk daily with the Prince of Peace." I must have heard him say that hundreds of times over the years, but I'm still on the verge of tears each time I hear it. That message is so very true.

While IOU NO MORE was written for individuals and families, I have always been sensitive to the fact that Churches will, and should benefit from the principles as well. If Church members are debt free giving usually increases dramatically. If giving increases, the congregation can be increase outreach and service.

But taking the concept further, in Churches followed the same principles, avoiding debt and living on less that you earn, there is virtually no limit to the things we could accomplish in the world.

Brainstorm with me for a minute. Churches often build a worship center first. Then as they grow, they realize they need more classroom space or a gym or offices or...........

So they go into debt to build this extra building hoping and believing that the increased attendance will translate into increased offerings and the debt will be covered. As a result, 'overhead' is the single largest line item in the budgets of most churches. I find that tragic. Something just seems messed up to me when God's people spend more Kingdom money on upkeep and real estate than on actual outreach and missions.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not against Church buildings. I'm just not convinced that we shouldn't rethink the whole process before mortgaging our children and grandchildren, possibly at the expense of world evangelism opportunities.

I think more congregations could find strip malls and closed up movie theaters and former "Big Box Stores" to convert. I also see great wisdom in building the multi purpose center first. If I were planning a building program, that's what I'd do. I'd look at a metal kind of structure that could serve as gym, fellowship area and worship center. I'd take a page out of the public school systems and put a stage on one end. Or I'd have a sectional stage that could be set up and taken down as needed.

A plan like that would minimize expenses and provide great functionality. And I'm all for both.

Well, that's about enough thinking out loud for one evening.