Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are You Getting the most Bang for Your Buck?

The other day I was working my way through my blog roll when I came across a blog that caught my eye. It made me stop and check it out. You know the kind that make you go ummmmm? Well, it made me do more than go ummmmmm. It made me do some thinking.

How expensive is your church membership? What are you getting for your church membership? Now, let me make it clear that I am really addressing this to the seeker-sensitive, cutting-edge, and/or production type churches rather than truly biblical churches.

Here is what I mean. Most of these churches have an entrance or membership fee; it is called the tithe. Setting aside the true teaching of the tithe for a moment, I am referring to that 10% or more that is received each week at your church. Let's say you make $60,000.00 a year. That puts your "tithe" at $6,000.00 a year. What are you getting for that $6,000.00? Mind you this works out to about $115.38 a week. Even if the show, oops sorry, the performance, oh again, sorry, service is 2 hours in length, that is roughly $58.00 an hour.

Most of these seeker-sensitive and cutting edge churches are drama, skit, or musical performance oriented. I mean they have huge productions. They have full costumes, lights, smoke machines, fans, even rain makers. The lighting alone must be horrendously expensive. In addition, many would be actors and actresses, regardless of how talented they may truly be flock to these churches to live out their long denied dreams of stardom.

Are these services worth $58.00 an hour? I can not think of anything that I have done that would cost that much, at least lately.

  • Netfliks charges 7.99 to watch unlimited number of movies as many times as you want.
  • Seattle Seahawk single game tickets in the nosebleed sections run about $155.00 or for a 3 hour game $51.67 an hour
  • Disneyland offers a ticket pass for $199.99 for three days which grants entrance into Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park  
  • Even our "cheap date night (somebody thought I should have used inexpensive date night) runs about $10.68 (Lest you women start trying to find a better husband for Irene, we spend our money on many other items making life easier or for our kids, neighbors, and even strangers)
At our church, Coal Creek Community Church, we don't have productions, shows, drama, skits, or even musical performances. We don't have light machines, bubble machines, smoke machines, or rain-making machines. For our gifts and offerings, we do not practice tithing at Coal Creek, we receive each week the opportunity to gather with our brother and sisters in Christ, sing a couple of hymns, and hear a well studied and prepared exegetical and expositional message from the Gospel According to Matthew by a humble and gifted bible teacher.
    Now, you are well aware that this has been somewhat tongue in cheek right? We at Coal Creek are not paying a membership fee anymore than most of the seeker-sensitive churches are. I am not impugning their motives nor judging their hearts. I thought I would play a little devil's advocate for a moment in order to evaluate the best way to invest in eternity and expand the kingdom of God.


    Pat Donovan said...

    Good job Greg


    Perhaps a better question is, "Is your local church benefiting from your natural talents and spiritual gifts as our Lord would desire?"

    Blessings to you Gregg.

    Kansas Bob said...

    Sadly most "tithe" money is needed in most churches to pay for salaries, brick and mortar. And the tithe does seem to resemble a dues. :)

    welcome to my world of poetry said...

    Thought provoking Gregg, it made me stop to think.(a rare occurrance)


    Arlee Bird said...

    You had me going there, but really this is not all that far off. The church where we attend is in a constant struggle to make things meet and the services are pretty simple. But they do preach right out of the Bible even when it upsets some of the folks that don't like hearing it.

    Would you like to share your A to Z experience? See this week's post.
    Blogging from A to Z

    Mike said...

    I must agree with Robert and Bob. Money is one aspect that makes churches more like businesses. Its one reason I truly enjoy being part of a house church. 99% of our giving goes into serving people in our community...no salaries, very very very few expenses.

    I like your idea Gregg, and I will set aside my argument regarding the "seeker" style church to which you refer for now.