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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by PrimePower7, Aug 29, 2005.
So, how does everyone feel about expensive church buildings? Is it not a waste of the Lord's money?
Expensive in the sense of overly gaudy, perhaps
Expensive in the sense of needed size/facilities, no
Was Solomon's Temple a waste of good money? If that were the case, we should tear down the Washington National Cathedral, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and Thomas Road Baptist Church.
Scripture is silent on the issue of churches. The only time the issue of resources is addressed is when the Mary Magdalene is asked about selling her perfume to help the poor isntead of using it to cleanse Jesus' feet, to which Jesus replies that the poor will always be there. I think that, similarly, there is certainly nothing wrong with a church building that is a model of architecture, so long as the ministry it serves did not suffer because the building was built.
This is one of those areas where we Christians sometimes are guilty of "church envy". In other words, someone else has bigger or nicer facility than us, therefore their use of financial resources must be wrong. It is an inhierent part of our sinful nature to think this way. We must avoid this type of thinking, and be satisfied in the setting we're in, whether it's the largest, the smallest, or anywhere inbetween.
Now, that being said, I live in Southern California. 1 acre of land can run a million dollars and up. So whenever any church acquires property, it's always going to be a miltimillion dollar project. So it actually makes financial sense for a church to get the most square footage possible out of land here.
Our pastor and his elders do not believe in spending any money that isn't already there. I have known of churches that have put the " cart before the horse " and have had many problems because of it.
Debt for anybody is a very dangerous thing.
We should ALL be good stewards of Gods money
Very good point. Any building project should be approved by the congregation in general, and a show of support should be by bankable pledges, imo. No scripture to back that up, it just makes good business sense.
John V said "Was Solomon's Temple a waste of good money? If that were the case, we should tear down the Washington National Cathedral, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and Thomas Road Baptist Church."
John V, let me say that the temple of the Old Testament is the body of believers of the New Testament. Do you not believe this? THerefore, if the body of believers is the temple, Solomon's temple being a precedent for a body of believers having a big, expensive facility is reaching, I believe.
You know very well I was referring to the physical temple in Jerusalem, which was opulent and expensive, by our standards and theirs.
I believe you are right PrimePower. A waste of money.
These churches have their “glory and praise” here on earth, just as those that dress in robes, funny hats, and make long and wordy prayers, with their “chantings”, and seems all now have those Oh So Wonderful Songs of continuous repetitious words. We will be held accountable for our stewardship, and how we worship. Are we to say in that day, “Lord just look at those large buildings we built with OUR OWN hard earned money; and they were just for you, and we just praised Thee over and over, and over and over in song, for we did not what else say to those lost, for they just wouldn’t listen to your Word. Pardon me while I throw up.
”For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. 5. And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, 6. As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Our worship and praise is to the heavenlies, and the spreading of the “good news” gospel of the “grace commission”, of Believe On The Name of The Lord Jesus Christ, and You Will Be Saved”. Our calling is not that of building buildings on this earth for our comfort, buildings that will be destroyed, and money that has been thrown to the wind.
Some beautiful large Baptist churches now charge for concerts. All of this type of worship is for us, and not the unsaved. It will be welcomed by the world for it is not a threat to them, and they will tell us how wonderful to present the gospel in this manner. Satan had His Pipes and tabrets, and knows how to use them. He was the first Elvis, the first Beatles singing all four parts; He was the first orchestra, or music group, leading away a third of God’s angels. All we do is spend the money on ourselves, our churches to make us comfortable, entertain ourselves, and think about numbers so we can have more members in order to build another building, as soon as we can just pay off that huge debt on what we have built.
Just think of the missionary’s that could be flooding the world, with the necessary tools, medicines, food clothing, and the Word. Billions and Billions is going to have to be accounted for in that day when we stand before Him for our reward/s, if any. At least we will not wind up in the lake of fire; but we should be thinking about which side of the railroad tracks we'll be living on up there.
Years ago I may have given close to 100 percent of what I gave to my church, for I could see the pleas for just a little extra would help pay off-the mortgage for that Educational building we built 10 or twelve years ago. Guess what? It got paid off, and every one praised the Lord for we were now debt free, and could now do the work of the Lord, that the saved are to do. Six months later – “We have now accumulated enough money to make a good down payment to add onto and double the size of our Educational Building, and we can borrow the money at only 6% over a period of 15 years. After prayer and words over a few days, a good many of us left, and that church died about 12 years later, without the debt paid-off.
Can anyone deny we are becoming like those around us, instead of bringing them into the chapel to hear the message that Christ gives to the world, and not our “our pipes”. A small church, with only one room (or house) for hearing the gospel preached, using that money for taking His Word to the unsaved, and for the needy among us, is going to look awfully big in heaven. Christian faith, ituttut
We Baptists are kind of odd. Most of us think we should dress up nicely when we go to church to show respect to God. Yet we build these huge ugly things with aluminum siding to worship in, and our music programs are often aesthetically impoverished. It's a bit inconsistent!
ituttut! HERE HERE!!!!
Gone are the days of church houses or modest buildings! Nay! We would rather build huge assemblies of impersonal fellowships and insist upon families going to their little subchurches for their ages. Yipee! for the modern machinery of dead orthodoxy shrouded in programs, gimmiks and Bozo the clown on the Bus! maybe next we can give free rides on jackasses around the new multi million dollar facility with 17 multi media screens and sing "Rescue the Perishing" while we tell missionaries our budgets are "awful tight right now..we are not able to fit you in right now. Go ahead and wear out a car and spend 3 years on the road while we enjoy Americana lifestyles of the complaining rich and apathetic comfortable"
ALL RIGHT Prime Power to the 7th.
I personally believe a church should be a family, probably 50-75 people. Any larger and break off a new group.
They can meet in a large home or an inexpensive rental (school, gym, community center - couple hundred bucks a month).
Example of the problem: I was interim at a church of 150-200 having difficulties, helping them for nearly a year and a half.
150,000 a year for building, maintenance, upkeep
100,000 for salaries
50,000 for program
10,000 for missions
I was appalled. That facility sits idle except Sunday morning and for Awana on Wednesday.
I think 200 to 500 is a good number. Too SMALL everyone gets in your business and nit picks. Too BIG no accountability, can be clickish. Kind of like the three bears. I would never belong to another church that was under one hundred.
Our church is about 250 and growing slowly.
Dr. Bob wrote,
I must disagree with Dr. Bob on this one! When I was pastoring a Church, we never closed the doors before midnight and we had them open 7 days a week including all holidays. We served a full, very well balanced and nutritious dinner every night Monday through Saturday at 6:00 that was prepared in our restaurant-equipped kitchen, and dinner was followed by our nightly Bible study time that included both prayer and worship. On Sundays we had a morning service, a 2:00 chapel service followed by a bowl of chili, and an evening service at 6:00. We also had a large library, a tape listening room, and a prayer room that were always open till at least midnight. We also went on campouts and retreats, but we never closed our doors and we always had a program at the church for those who did not go on the camp-out or the retreat.
Can you imagine doing this in a school, gym, or community center for a couple hundred bucks a month? An adequate church facility is very expensive, especially in southern California where an 85-year-old dilapidated one bedroom shack on a 2,500 sq. ft. lot sells for $350,000 (seriously!) or more and a basic church facility sells for several millions of dollars. Is it worth it? Just ask those who have been blessed there and who give of their income to pay for it!
But of course, if it is the 7.5 million dollar Baptist church on the corner that is used only one hour a week on Sundays—may the pastor burn in hell for his lack of stewardship!
House church services drawing in one's family and friends may work outside of the 3rd world, and perhaps even in America. House churches could network together and rent out a gym or public park for communal gatherings on occasion. And if everyone tithed, there would be huge amounts of money to do projects for the poor and missions.
I agree with Dr Bob on the size of the church. It is very difficult for the pastor (shepherd) to know his sheep by name otherwise. As far as RightfromWrong saying it can be to small and people can get in your business, that is what unity of the spirit is supposed to sort out.
Its not the cost of the facilities necessarily, but the stewardship.
You have to be very fiscally responsible, but the facilities can also be a huge asset to the ministry goals of the church. Our church is not opulent by any means, but we have a facility that is used throughout the week, and allows for some tremendous opportunities to use the facilities that God has provided to make him famous, not us.
We could meet outside under a tree like some of our missionaries in Africa, but in Michigan in mid-January that would be highly impractical. the medical bills for frostbite and exposure would eat up the savings on a building.
Many people in our church have very nice homes that they also use for small group meetings, actvities, hosting visiting missionaries or groups, etc. Its again about how you use the resources God has given you, that includes building facilities that may be nice and highly functional and in some cases expensive (try building a school nowadays with the building codes in Michigan) but they do not have to be expensive and opulent for the purpose of extravagance or "showing off"
Craigbythesea If you were a pastor of a church what happened? Why arn't you pastoring anymore ?
PrimePower7 the problem with the small churches was that they were IFB churches and very legalistic so I'm sure that was the main problem. Legalism kills the spirit.
There are pros and cons to large congregations.
There are pros and cons to medium-sized congregations.
There are pros and cons to small congregations.
Large congregations need to have more expensive facilities as an absolute cost. But on a per person cost, it may be less expensive than a small congregation.
Our church operates out of a converted warehouse and its size is about 400 people in three different language congregations : English, Cantonese and Mandarin.