Picture a church, if you will. Picture a mega church if you must.
Let’ say things are going well, on the corporate level. The Pastor is a good man or woman, the “leadership board” is honest and willing to listen, and the congregation shares a servant attitude. All these things are good things.
But let’s add some bad things to this scene, and see what happens, shall we?
What happens if that church, be it big or small, begins to experience financial problems? It happens. A church in my area currently has a seven thousand dollar a month shortfall. Seven thousand dollars a month! What, I ask, could a church possibly spend seven thousand dollars every month on? If it was for the poor, then I would say they don’t really have a shortfall, they just aren’t able to help the poor the way they used to. But a financial shortfall, one that means you can’t pay your bills?
Most churches I have seen rarely, if ever, even give seven thousand dollars a month to the poor. So in the case of the church with the seven thousand dollar a month shortfall, I wonder, how much went to the poor?
What will happen if this church declares bankruptcy? What will happen if this church can no longer open its building doors? Will the people meet somewhere else? Will the pastor and paid staff leave to find a church that can afford their “services”?
If that happens, then I say, this was never a church at all. How can “the Church” close it doors? Answer? It can’t, and it won’t.
Our churches spend a lot of money on building projects, and there seems to always be a need to “further God’s Kingdom” through money. But I ask, if the corporate church cannot keep its doors open, was it ever really a church? The answer is a resounding “No!”.
I see it everywhere, I even see signs of it in my own church. There is no warning I can shout, because the people coming through the doors want it this way. That’s okay. I think some good things happen even in places that aren’t really churches. In my church, good things happen every day, but I fear for the ideology of being bigger, and I wonder if some aren't selling out to that god.
But my heart tells me that now, more than ever, it is up to me to be the church; without a building, without a budget, and without a choir. May God be praised in everything I do, and we’ll see what kind of a budget that requires. Frankly, I don’t think it requires any budget at all.
If we are the church, even the least amongst us, the youngest, the weakest, the poorest, it is our privilege to be the church. I don’t know what is going to happen to the people whose church is going to close. Probably, they will be vacuumed up into a different church. I guess my question is; were they ever really even a part of a church? And if they go to a new church, will they still not be a part of a church? Because to me, the test of a church isn’t how successful it is financially, it’s how close the people are, how much they love each other, and how willing they are to welcome everyone, just like Jesus did. You don’t need a budget to do that. All you really need is another person to share it all with.