Posted by: larry | July 8, 2005

Slanting The Church Budget The Wrong Direction

Huge churches with large ministerial staffs dot the horizon in all directions, and many of these churches are doing a wonderful job, and certainly worthy of our emulation and respect. These churches appear to involve the entire congregation in their work; perhaps they have discovered the magic combination to effect change in their communities!

Unfortunately some large churches with multiple ministers, and saddled with astronomical mortgage payments, often find no available funds remaining to aid widows in need, orphans, and others needing help in their communities. When this happens I wonder about the elders vision of the church.

Not too many years ago Christians were more than willing to roll up their sleeves and take care of the many aspects of “church work” themselves. For example; if a member was a teacher, that person often was in charge of the educational programs, and a bookkeeper would handle the financial aspects. Freely offering our talents to the church promotes good Christian character, and allows us to eliminate the multi-minister system incorporated into many churches.

It has become too easy to shift our burdens, frustrations, and duties as Christians to a group of professional ministers who are paid to handle the situation. The fact that he/she might handle the matter better than us, does not give us an excuse to sit by twiddling-our-thumbs thinking our obligations as Christians can be transferred to another person.

Where I meet (1000 members) there are seven elders and four ministers (outreach, pulpit, youth, and associate minister) who constitute the church leadership. There are no deacons in this congregation; apparently the role of deacons is assumed by the professional ministers. Members who offer their services to the Lord labor under the leadership of the appropriate minister in charge of a particular project. I’m not condemning or approving this type of church management (although I certainly have my opinions,) but only stating how this church operates.

One possible solution; resurrect the office of deacon and put them in charge of the church programs; select at least another seven elders to share the leadership role, and reduce the budget by aiding, all but the pulpit minister, in finding wonderful jobs somewhere else. Suddenly the finances are under control, and money is available to help our communities, and fortunately, or unfortunately, pay off our astronomical mortgages. Is this a realistic scenario? Of course not!

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