There is plenty of money

3366720659_e93a6a29a5_oI have been working in and with churches for over a decade. In that time, there is one narrative that has been consistently present: “We don’t have enough money!” In this post, I am not going to look at this from any spiritual, biblical or theological point of view. I want to look at this issue from a purely practical perspective.

There are some honest reasons that churches feel a money crunch. Let’s name them.

1. Membership decline – Most churches and most denominations have been in decline numerically for many years now. With fewer people, there are fewer givers and less money. Even the churches that have maintained or plateaued feel the pinch because of number 2 and 3.

2. More expenses – I could be wrong, and this might be worth some research and another post, but I think it is safe to say that running a church has gotten more expensive over the years. The needs and expectations of church facilities have radically changed. There was a time when churches weren’t expected to have air conditioning. Now, there is an expectation that the church be climate controlled, have comfortable seats, new carpet, projection screens and free Wi-fi. Facilities, maintenance, technology and staffing gobble up large amounts of church resources. There is a g debate about whether or not some of these expenses are justified, but in the short run, many churches are stuck paying huge bills.

3. Faithful givers are not being replaced – Smarter people than me have written at length about this issue. In a nutshell, an entire generation of generous, faithful, consistent givers are moving their membership to the church eternal. In churches that are growing or maintaining, they are being replaced by newer members who don’t yet have the level of income, spiritual maturity or discipline.

There are more reasons. But these are some of the main issues that churches face that lead to this narrative of “”We don’t have enough money!”

If I was approaching this from a spiritual, biblical or theological point of view, this is where I would talk about moving from an attitude of scarcity to an attitude of abundance. Or, I would write about trusting in God to provide what we need. But, I am approaching this from a practical viewpoint. From this angle, I just want to say this:

There is plenty of money.

Seriously.

There is plenty of money.

Again, don’t read this as, “Our God is a God of abundance,” or “We need to put our faith in God.” Those are both true. However, I am saying that there is practically and literally plenty of money. We just haven’t convinced people that the church has good plans for it.

I was perusing the news the other day and came across Apple’s latest earning’s report. They are doing very well. What caught me was this: Companies report how much cash they have on hand. By this, they mean real money in the bank or in investments that are easily liquidated. This isn’t money tied up in capital expenses or in inventory. It is what it says, cash.

Do you want to know how much they have on hand? Money they could spend if they needed to?

194 Billion Dollars.

I was looking for a way to demonstrate how much money that is. But I can’t. It makes my brain hurt. I am no finance analyst, but I think you could buy a planet for that much money.

So, Apple, who sells products that didn’t even exist when I was a kid, or a few years ago for that matter, has 194 Billion Dollars in the bank. I can’t imagine they use the phrase, “We don’t have enough money!”

So, what does this have to do with the church? Apple is a for-profit business that sells products and services. The church is not that. But in some ways, Apple sees itself in a position similar to the church. Yes, they sell computers and phones and tablets and watches. But that is not really their business. Apple sells ideas. They sell the idea that they can make your life better and more meaningful.

So, I have to think that, if you can convince people that what you have can make their life better and more meaningful, they will give you money. But first you have to convince them that what you have can make their life better and more meaningful.

Don’t we believe that the message of the Gospel has the power to change lives, change communities and change the world? Are we telling people that? Are we telling them in a convincing way? Do we believe it?

I believe that we may be coming to the end of a generation that will give their money to pay for church services. But there are new generations who will offer everything to see lives changed, and the world transformed. We need to work on showing people that the church is about that.

There is plenty of money.

4 thoughts on “There is plenty of money

  1. Will,

    You knocked it out of the park with this blog.

    Thanks.

    Tom

    Tom Stanton Senior Area Consultant, Rio Texas Conference And General Counsel Texas Methodist Foundation 11709 Boulder Lane, Suite 100 | Austin, TX 78726 512.331.9971 | 800.933.5502 | Fax 512.331.0670 Cell 512. 632.4725

    http://www.tmf-fdn.org

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    From: “PastorWill.net” <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: “PastorWill.net” <comment+7hw7lu2hedch4vbhvxp-7s@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Sunday, May 3, 2015 11:47 AM To: Thomas Stanton <tstanton@tmf-fdn.org> Subject: [New post] There is plenty of money

    pastorwillrice posted: “I have been working in and with churches for over a decade. In that time, there is one narrative that has been consistently present: “We don’t have enough money!” In this post, I am not going to look at this from any spiritual, biblical or theological poi”

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