Thursday, September 30, 2004

The web of money

Ok so if the mission of the church is to prepare people to go out and be a benefit to the world as a whole. Why do we place such an emphasis on Sunday morning services happening in the largest building that we can find? So at my church last week the dude in charge of the stewardship committee got up to give the annual money report. We all got to enjoy a nice pie chart showing where the money flows in our church. It was basically broken down into four categories. The largest one was 46.5% for the building and facilities. The next was 41 percent for the staff and to keep people employed at the church. 2.2 percent was for the occasional church funded BBQ and Sunday morning coffee. This left about 10% for mission work. The question that I have to ask myself is why 90% of the money that we take in is turned around and used to keep the people that are here in church happy?
I felt dirty that morning. Here was the outline of where the money was going in the church, and I Matt Stark helped in that by taking the offering, and than a step further by going up in-front of our huge beautiful sanctuary and praying that God would give us wisdom to use this money wisely and that people would become more passionately in love with Christ because of it. How much of a hypocrite am I? Here I am taking money from people, knowing full well where it is going, and praying that God would give wisdom to use it! That money was predestined to go somewhere. That money went to paying off the church debt.
I had an interesting conversation with someone from my church this Monday afternoon. Over subway sandwiches I explained my frustration at the lack of support for missions. I explained my dislike about the church building sitting vacant for all but two hours a week. Her answer: people in our church are shallow and want to have a nice place to sit. I do not like that answer and I do not agree with it. The sad reality is that we are a church in debt and we must now pay off the debt. What a hideous thing. That our society has now “evolved” to the point that anyone any where can go into debt the day they turn 18 and not ever get out from under it till they die and pass the debt on to there children. Our “non-profit” organizations and churches can get credit and go even further into debt.
The question that I want to ask is: if “church doesn’t exist for the benefit of its members. It exists to equip its members for the benefit of the world”. Than how are we accomplishing this noble goal if we are so absorbed in our own little Sunday morning world? Our goal and function now is to get us out of debt. What a sad little web that we have weaved for ourselves.