Tuesday

More Ego Than Evangelism

I'm not sure there's a school in Orange County that doesn't have a church in it on Sunday. When I was writing church insurance I probably wrote 20-25 policies a year for churches renting school space. Why? Does the world really need another struggling church meeting in a building they don't own and with little chance of every growing out of that situation?

Certainly there are many people who have no church affiliation and might benefit from all these dinky congregations, but at the same time there are many church properties sitting idle much of the week, and sitting nearly empty on the weekend, that could be used much more efficiently and to better effect. Are all these pastors of start-up churches called to start a new ministry, or perhaps is it an effort based more on ego than evangelism?

I remember getting a call to quote a large Southern Baptist church in San Diego - large in buildings, anyway. I met with the administrator who told me the church, with an 800 seat auditorium and a nice 2-story educational building, hadn't had a pastor for some time and was now down to about 10 members with an average age of about 75. The church at one time was a thriving community, but cutbacks in the military and changes in the neighborhood had taken their congregation away. The only thing keeping this church afloat was the Christian school that leased their property during the week. The old folks didn't want to change anything they did to attract younger members. They had become a "holy huddle".

Not far from there was a start-up church that had grown very well and was running about 250 in rented school facilities. I half-jokingly told the pastor that he should take all of his people and go join that Southern Baptist church. Once they were members they could vote the old farts off the board and take over the church and it's property. They'd certainly make better use of it than the old people were. I guess you could call that a "holy hostile takeover".

He didn't do it, but he should have. Wasting a church property in the way those old Southern Bapists did is almost blasphemy.

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