Word is out on the internets that Pastor Rick Warren has got a pile of bills he can’t pay. A megachurch, like a Ponzi scheme, will do just fine as long as new members keep streaming in. But there are only six billion of us on earth, and only so many who can make it to Sunday service. The early church did collect a common fund to aid its members, but the Gospels don’t mention construction projects, even small ones. St. Paul was a tentmaker. The Apostles all knew how to work regular jobs when they had to.
A financial model based on expansion has limits. If there is not a plan B for the church that has reached its limit, or the church whose members are facing a recession, a crisis of faith will ensue.
I like my church because they have a reality-based approach to money. That is, they plead with us that the buildings need to be maintained and the staff needs to be paid. Our reward for giving generously is that First Unitarian will endure as a church, not a museum.
For no particular reason, here is a link to my reaction to getting a holy prayer rug in the mail.
The point is–God doesn’t need our money. Our friends, neighbors and relatives might need a loan. Generosity is a virtue, and we should support what we value. If there is value in Saddleback Church it will endure in hard times.