Was das Wichtigste ist

Prioritäten – was halten wir für wichtig und was nicht? Das folgende beschreibt die Situation und einige Ideen aus den USA, passt aber sehr gut auch auf uns. Sehen wir uns an, wofür die Kirche in den USA ihr Geld ausgibt. Denken Sie daran: dort gibt es keine Kirchensteuer.

“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” – James W. Frick.

If you asked the church what its primary interests are, you might expect them to say things like spreading the Gospel, developing mature followers of Christ, helping the poor and needy, and maybe even fighting against injustice. If this were actually true, you would expect the church’s spending actually reflect these priorities. So, do they? The answer must be a resounding “No!”

Churches spend much more money acquiring real estate and developing property than they do on helping the poor and needy. For every dollar spent helping the poor and needy, the church spends at least five dollars paying wages to its pastors and leaders. This represents a profound cognitive dissonance between the church’s stated values and its actual values. It all reeks of a system determined to preserve itself at all costs. The very idea must make Jesus turn over in his grave — if he were still in it.

To maintain the traditional model of church, where people turn up each Sunday, sit in a pew and hear a sermon from a paid ‘expert,’ is an expensive exercise with — one could argue — limited benefits in terms of real transformation and growth in an individual. In fact, according to Francis Chan, in his book Letters to the Church, it costs a church $1000 — $3000 per year for each person who attends a church in the traditional model. Let me explain. If you divide a church’s annual budget (say $100,000) by the number of members (say 100), it comes to $1000 per person. The number can be much higher (up to $3000) depending on location.

A new approach to church.
What would it look like if Churches did away with their two greatest expenses — paid clergy and buildings? What would it look like if they redirected this money toward the actual work of the Christian faith?

The church I attend meets in the humble home of one of our members. We gather each week around their table and share a simple meal together where we intentionally remember Jesus. We catch up. We share our joys and struggles. We encourage each other and keep each other accountable. We pray and give. We do all of this without paying a person to lead it. When our church takes up offerings, 100% of the money is given back to bless and help needy and hurting people.

This model of church is reproducible, relocatable, virtually free to run, and, to be honest, much more enjoyable and life-giving than anything I’ve ever experienced in the institutionalized church. We all feel like we are growing emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Critics of this model — usually those who stand to lose the most from it — argue that such a model would proliferate false teaching and heresy because there may not be anyone in the room with the theological training to correct all the misguided others. Ironically though, small group meetings in individual homes were the traditional model of the early church in the Book of Acts and, so far as I know, none of Christ’s apostles had any kind of theological training. Notwithstanding the fact that they knew Jesus personally. That wouldn’t be possible now, though, would it? The sad reality is the institutionalized church is just as capable of producing its own kind of false teaching and heresy, with the added possibility of thrusting it onto a much bigger crowd.

In 2017 U.S. churches received $124.52 billion in donations and spent around $90 billion paying staff wages, buying more land, and building more buildings. But what could the church achieve with that $90 billion if it were suddenly freed up? Well, it turns out the global impact would be massive.

Consider this. According to an article in Relevant Magazine:

$25 billion could relieve global hunger, starvation, and deaths from preventable diseases within five years.
$12 billion could eliminate illiteracy globally within five years.
$15 billion could solve the world’s water and sanitation issues, specifically in places in the world where 1 billion people live on less than $1 per day.
$1 billion could fully fund all overseas mission work
That would only leave the church a paltry $37 billion dollars for additional ministry expansion at a local level. How ever would the church cope with such small change?

It’s time for the church to literally put its money where its mouth is. The Church talks so much about changing the world and transforming people’s lives. Well, it turns out, it has the financial means actually to carry out this mission. However, it’s not going to happen until the institutionalized church surrenders its desire to build its own kingdom at the expense of God’s Kingdom. As for me, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will not be part of maintaining the status quo.

Dan Foster

QUELLE: Lake Institute on Faith and Giving: The National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices. 2023. Download.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht.