Archive for February 17, 2009

church-closed-sundaysIt’s like Lent during this economy – everyone is having to give up something in order to stay afloat. But what about giving up church?!

Well, that’s what happening to a bunch of non-committals at the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Ore. (I know, go figure. Carry on.)

To save money, First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland has decided to close for the month of July. The Rev. Marilyn Sewell, senior pastor, said the 142-year-old church faces a projected $185,000 deficit for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

It’s not like TBN and Daystar are earning great TV ratings in the Beaver State, so maybe there is some co-op marketing they can do with this church. I don’t know, like purchase branded Yoga mats for these folk to channel upon. Maybe the Crouchs and the Lambs could offer swank “inner child” baby clothing for all the parents who will miss out on children’s pseudo-church for four Sundays. Just a thought.

So, closing the doors to church for a month. Tell ’em what they have won guy with an abnormal speaking voice:

The closure will mean no services, no adult or children’s education, and no programming for the month. The only activities in the church or its neighboring Buchan Building will be those whose sponsors have rented the space, generating income, Sewell said.

OK, question to the chic with the man’s haircut: If July is a slow giving month, then what will you plan on doing in say, November when the church is burying in snow and your heating bill is blazing like the towering inferno? How much money will you be saving then? Plan to kill another month in the name of cost efficiency?

Again, just another thought. Maybe, you should have had one too.

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Meet Pastor Rob Wegner of Granger Community Church.

He has a novel approach to stimulating the economy, at least in the Church – share! He understands everyone these days are regressing to an infantile state stinking up the room in their diapers shouting, “Mine!”

But according to this story in the Christian Post, Pastor Wegner thinks the only way to get out of this mess is to do something completely different.

“What’s common is to say ‘it’s mine.’ What’s uncommon is to share,” Wegner told hundreds of Christians at the second annual Generosity Conference, hosted by Community Christian Church in Naperville, Ill. “We live in a culture [where] there’s this hidden curriculum that’s taught day after day – that you are what you own,” Wegner said at the one-day event this past Saturday.

Art Imitates Life. Nice.

Art Imitates Life. Nice.

Citing statistics all too familiar to pastors across the country these days, Wegner reminded people to you know, tithe.

I know, I know. But if Barna is right, and only “9 percent of all born-again adults gave 10 percent of their income to churches and charitable groups,” we have MUCH room to improve folks.

According to Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, if Christians all tithed, it would result in an additional $143 billion to what is currently being offered. Half of that additional sum could educate and provide healthcare for all the poor in the world, Wegner pointed out. “And we’d still have $70 billion left over just to spread the good news of Jesus Christ,” Wegner highlighted.

Staggering. What’s even more moving is that number of 9 whopping percent will probably decrease in lieu of this economy. Yet, the world will continue to look to faith-based organizations for benevolence in times of crisis, and like the Savior they worship, will continue to be benevolent despite those who give them the Heisman.

There isn’t a bailout coming for churches, so maybe Pastor Wegner is on to something here. We don’t have to give until it hurts… but a little sting wouldn’t kill us, would it? It’s not like we are going to stop using technology and become Amish. Well, expect for the Amish, but they are off churning butter, so they are not reading this article.

We have to act together, act soon and act often in order to help the Body of Christ become healthier, smarter and wealthier.

Nothing seems to unite denominations these days, so perhaps this economy will?! Miracles never cease, you know.