Thursday, March 5, 2009


Hi! I’m glad that you’ve invited me back. I’m really enjoying our visits!

I don’t know the history of how it came about, but I am impressed by the fact that Diagonal has only one visible congregation of Christians. This kind of precious unity is rare in today’s world where most communities have a “church” building on every street corner, not to mention that they were typically erected by various sects.

It concerns me that many denominations are bringing missionaries home because they “can’t afford to continue supporting them.” Yet, in most instances, these same denominations seem to have enough money to maintain “church” buildings and to pay employees.

According to the Barna Group, our nation’s leading marketing research firm, “real estate owned by institutional churches in the United States today is worth over $230 billion! Church building debt, service, and maintenance consumes about 18% of the $50 to $60 billion tithed to “churches” annually!”

These statistics don’t even include the rest of the “church” budget!

Speaking of the remaining budget, have you ever wondered why “churches” attempt to provide “their pastor” with a wage comparable to that of the world, while complaining that there’s not enough in the budget to support a missionary’s meager income? In fact, these same congregations often also pay secretaries, organist, janitors, etc.

Do you suppose that Jesus considers the “church building” a necessity for a meeting place?” Have you ever pondered what He thinks about hiring people to do the work of His Kingdom? Can you imagine how much money would be available to actually do God’s Kingdom work if “churches” weren’t attempting to maintain a business-style institution? I wonder, “Is any of this ever what Jesus intended for His Body, the Church?”

It’ll be interesting to see if the current economic crisis will cause denominations to leave their differences behind and join in unity as the One Body that they were redeemed to be in order to accomplish the work which He called His Church to accomplish.

In some of our future discussions, I’d like to visit about the traditional reasons for needing a “church building” and how we might lower the budget in order to “free-up” money for true Kingdom work. While we are visiting, let’s consider what Scripture says in regards to being an “employee” for Jesus.


1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, the Church today is far from being the Church God wants it to be. The church is very vulnerable and easily ensnared by Satan into the enticements and trappings of the world and its values. Of course Satan would make the local church and God’s Church his #1 target in order to render it ineffective for God and His Kingdom work. But despite its faults and failings I love the Church and my local church, and I see in it the potential for transforming the world.

    When I lived in Milwaukee, I attended a non-denominational church called Harvest Community Church. I do believe that it started with several families meeting in a home but they quickly outgrew the home space. They held worship services in a school until they outgrew that space. They purchased a Racket Ball Court and renovated the space into the building it is today. It is a place for believers to gather for worship, for teaching and making mature disciple of Christ, for the building up and encouragement and caring of each other, and for outreach into the community and beyond to make a difference for His Kingdom. The work that God is doing through that body inside and outside that building is Kingdom work.

    God is not anti-building. Yes, these is always the danger of mismanagement of God’s money and His resources, of not seeking God’s will but instead forging forward in our own way, own strength, and own power for our own glory. When we do, we become ineffective for God and play right into Satan's hands.

    The Church needs to become a loving, caring community so that its message to the world might be presented with maximum power and effectiveness. The finest communicator loses his credibility if his integrity is in doubt. Oratorical skill without a caring heart adds up to nothing. A big fancy building is of no use to God if our hearts are not seeking His and we are not following Him. Although it is true that we probably wouldn’t build big, fancy, expensive, elaborate buildings if our hearts were in-line with His, there is nothing wrong with gathering in a nice building. God is a God of beauty, of design and of color. He is the Master Artist and Creator, and we are made in His image.

    The Church will always have its problems and difficulties, but it will endure. So no matter how troubled our own Christian community is, God has committed Himself to bringing true believers through to victory. The Church has a confident future because it belongs to God, not to us: whatever its present struggles, in the long term it’s a winner!

    Love you, Mary Lea