Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Church Finance and Emerging Church

Am I really going to talk about church finance....

Here it goes.

As a Baptist Church we are congregationally run, which means we are congregationally financed as well. All costs incurred by the local church need to be funded by the money given by the local congregation. In the history of the Baptist Church this is done almost exclusively by the tithe on a Sunday, and then mainly in the morning service. We don't have a denominational body which finances anything much except grants for new church plants or other bits a pieces which are only $2000 tops.

All this to say it isn't working and will continue not to work if the church changes in the emerging church way.

So what do we do.

The theory of Bivocational ministers is presented as an option.
If this is done properly it has merit but normally bi-vocational minister means, "minister paid half as much but expected to do the same amount of work" which equals burntout minister. The church needs to also be bi-vocational if having a bi-vocational minister is going to work. That is, people in the church need to be more actively and deliberately involved in the daily running of the church rather than leaving it to the pastor.

Creative money making (this is not a euphorism for illegal money making)
I am not advocating that churches start a counterfeit money factory in the basement of the church. I am saying that we need to look for other ways of raising finance, maybe not lamington drives either. (If you don't know what a lamington drive is post a comment and I'll blog on it later. It's an Australian church institution.)
We need to start looking at ways we can financially support the ministries of church outside of the tithe. People have gifts and abilities they tithe as well as money. We need to be looking at the resources we have in our churches and be helping people to find ways of serving God.

As far as the emerging church goes, it's not going to look anything like Sunday morning (for the most part). So we need to find ways of making it work and having the financial resources to fund these fantastic new faith communities so they are not hindered by a lack of finances. We need to find ways of 'doing church' where God is the focus and financing it needs to be a separate issue not an issue that is interwoven in it. Or does it? I don't know

All I know is the way we currently finance church was great in the 1950's when churches were full of people because going to church on a Sunday was just part of the Culture. We no longer live in the 1950's and therefore need to be looking at culturally appropriate ways of doing church and appropriate ways of raising finance.

I probably sound like a rambling fool who doesn't know what she's talking about. That's ok I probably am. I am at the beginning of thinking about alternate forms of income for church and would love to hear from other churches about how they have worked out this issue.



PS. No I don't want spam from a Jamaican man who has suddenly found out I am a relative and have inherited millions if I only give him money. Or any other internet scam.
Although I may sound desperate, I'm not stupid and in case you haven't read this clearly I don't have any money anyway lol

1 comment:

Songbird said...

I hear the desperate edge here. I often feel I'm on the edge of a cliff, that church as I've known it won't last, and meanwhile I didn't learn how to do anything that would allow me to be bivocational and keep a roof over my children's heads. It bothers me when people who start movements finance themselves with collateral materials (books, videos, etc.) talking about how churches won't be able to pay pastors, so pastors need to have other work. How many pastors who are also mothers would ever be able to do that?
So, what is a Lamington?