Oh my gosh! So because some people do bad things, an entire institution is unworthy of support? Okay. (begin sarcasm) Because of bureaucracy and mismanagement, the government doesn't deserve my taxes so I'm going to give them directly to the causes that can do the most good with them–like clean energy, local homeless shelters, etc. (end sarcasm)
Seriously, at my church I've seen marriages and lives literally saved. They wouldn't have been saved (some of the people I'm thinking about, like my friend Brent who was hours away from killing himself, would be actually, physically dead) without my church. That's worth everything to he, his wife and daughter.
Stepping off soap box.
what a low blow.
Yes, there are a lot of churches that are simply money makers, but you can't lump them altogether.
This is nothing but a hit job, and completely discounts the ton of good stuff churches do.
Barna did a study that shows that even outside of church giving Christians outgive secularists, so they're really going after the wrong crowd.
The video asks "aren't there more worthy causes?"
… clean energy? (as if the energy sector needed our donations)
what a load of crap.
This is a well made, but ignorant, video.
Really, if you're a humanist, fine, do your part for humanity.
If you're a Christian, fine, do your part for humanity.
And if you go & give to a church that does nothing but line the pockets of the leadership, leave and go somewhere that operates like Jesus did.
I love this blog because of the thoughtful way you include ideas from every angle. I hope you will stay at it.
I’ve never made a single comment on any blog … ever. I pastor what some might call a “Mega Church” so I’d like to offer some insights that this video might not understand. Are mega churches growing? Yes. Why? Because this reflects a trend in the way Americans do church.
Large churches tend to avoid some of the in-fighting that is so prevalent in many smaller churches. They can do ministry in ways that smaller churches simply can’t. For example, most large churches offer ministries to singles, support for addictions, and counseling services. They tend to be able to serve the needs of families in ways that smaller churches can’t. Large churches can do missions and ministry in numbers that smaller churches cannot pull together. This year our church will spend tens of thousands of dollars and send more than 100 people to places like Dominican Republic, Ukraine, and Tanzania, Africa. And our efforts are small compared to what other large churches do. Over the last ten years, Rick Warren’s church has sent more than 17,000 people to every nation in the world.
No knock on small churches. I spent most of my ministry pastoring in small churches. Small churches have some benefits that large churches don't have. You can know your pastor personally. You tend to have more of a voice in the leadership and administration. If you value those things, then the small church is probably better for you. However, most people these days are willing to give up those things for the benefits that larger churches offer. Hence, more large churches.
Do large churches have large budgets? Yes. They have more people and that translates into greater needs. Interestingly, large churches are actually more financially efficient than small churches. For example, our area has 21 Baptist churches. Our church is roughly the same size as the other 20 churches combined. But our income is far smaller than the combined income of the other twenty churches.
Do some large church pastors abuse the resources? I’m sure some do. But the large church pastors I know don’t. We have 17 pastors on our staff and the average income of the staff members is roughly similar to that of a public school teacher. Most of them have college and post-graduate degrees. The high-profile “in it for the money pastors” that people read about are in the vast minority. Again, Rick Warren is a good example. He takes no salary from his church and tithes 91% of his income from the sale of his books.
Do churches only spend the money on themselves? I’m sure that some do. But in my thirty plus years of ministry, I’ve noticed that churches that abuse the calling of God eventually fade into oblivion. All of the large churches I know invest huge resources in the needs of people. The purpose of the church is to reconcile people with God and each other. In the process, we are called to help ease suffering. Churches do this better than anyone does. I worked disaster relief in Oklahoma City after the tragic 1999 tornadoes. Most of the people involved in the effort came from churches. The large churches of that area were the strategic relief centers. The bulk of food and clothing came through churches. When Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the churches responded. Our church housed over 300 refugees. We sent teams to help with the clean up. When the Texas coast was destroyed by Rita and Ike, again we sent teams. Every year, we spend tens of thousands on paying light bills and feeding the poor. And we are NOT the exception. That’s what churches do. They just don’t do it with a camera crew on the front of the boat like Sean Penn.
Do churches pay tax? No. The pastors pay taxes on their income like everyone else, but like every synagogue, temple, or mosque in America, churches are exempt from taxes. This isn’t the result of the Republican Party or Fox News. All religious institutions are exempt from taxes by virtue of their status as a non-profit 501c3.
I hope this gives a bit of perspective.
BTW, I’m a Hardin Simmons Alumni too. Go cowboys.
These things kill me…
I'm one of those staff pastors that Bill speaks of. I work at what many would consider a megachurch, as I'm one of 18 pastors on staff. I'm a blessed man, but my salary might surprise the creators of this video…and not in a "Wow, he makes a bunch of salary!" sort of way. 🙂
I know that our church operates on a multi-million dollar budget, of which only 30% goes to salary and all 70% that is left is doing ministry. Ministry on a local-level, state level and all around the world. We also make all spending a matter of public record; and I think many would be surprised to know that many churches do the same thing.
I'm also a man that gives a tithe to my local church; but also gives to those things in my community outside of my church. Albeit I've not given money to the local yoga institution…
I know this comment isn't directly related to the video but what is the definition of a "mega Church"? That term has developed a negative connotation and I just wish I knew what makes a church a "mega church". Is it one with a lot of members? How many members is the cut off? Is it one that does church in a creative, "non-traditional" way, or is it just simply a way to point fingers without actually having to single anyone out. It has become popular to criticize mega churches by using a lot of generalizations and, stats with no backing. People forget to look at lives that are changing.
Getting off my soap box now..
I like the idea, well done!
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