Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lowering Costs of Doing Ministry

Embrace the World
Because the economy has been powering along like a Bull for the last eight years, Christian ministries have been growing like weeds and spending a lot of money to achieve their goals. Now, the Bear Market has changed all that. There is a great article about this issue in the Out of Ur Blog of Christianity Today.

No one knows how long this recession will last or how far the economy will slip, but this may serve as a wakeup call to an American church that has built its missional strategy on the assumption of affluence. If the downturn is protracted, it may cause churches to reevaluate their philosophy of ministry. If those delayed plans to build a larger facility or hire new staff members cannot be taken off the self in two, three, or five years because of the economy, will we be forced to think more creatively about advancing God's mission?
Neil Cole, in an interview in the latest issue of Leadership, said his research concluded that, using traditional church planting methods—hiring staff and building facilities—it would cost $80 billion to reach the city of Atlanta with the gospel. Even in a robust economy, that number is prohibitively large. Perhaps it's time for American church leaders to begin learning from pastors in the developing world who have few resources but where the gospel is spreading nonetheless.

Tom Sine, author of The New Conspirators, has also spoken about the danger of predicating our ministry model on the automobile. Megachurches in particular have flourished by drawing attendersAdd Video from a wide geographic area. But if average fuel prices rise high enough, we may see driving habits shift as people become more reluctant to commute multiple times a week to a church facility. Economic realities may accelerate the already perceptible trend toward decentralized ministry.
Faith should protect us from the fear seizing many in these uncertain times, but faith should also lead us to greater creativity and an ever increasing trust in God to continue his mission even as resources disappear.

What do you think about this? Are these guys right or can we and should we continue spending so much to achieve so little?
Sweeten Life has always operated with very low overhead. We get a lot accomplished with a small investment. We do it because we multiply the resources through discipleship and equipping leaders. We have very few large group meetings but rather follow the example and teaching of Jesus.
We can certainly use your financial support this year.
Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249
Gary's Cell: 513-300-5065

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