Church as Family
“An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deeds must be done instead of prayer said. An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated.”
~ Madalyn Murray O'Hair
There is a reason there has been a movement in America to remove the tax-exempt status of churches. Churches own $76 billion in real estate here yet pay no taxes. What's more, churches are getting the lion's share of tax deductible donations. As Christians we see this as all good but the anti-religious, not seeing any value in faith, are very upset about it.
If they can't recognize the value of faith, if they see no tangible benefit, then the salt of the earth has lost its flavor. That's sad. We understand that their eyes are "wide shut" but we also know that the light of the world should not be a hard thing to see. The value of changed lives may be hard to measure. The cost of unchanged lives just as much. Either way, the world is seeking to measure the impact of charitable giving and what they want to know is how much is being given to the poor, how much food is being distributed, how much is going towards medicine, where is the shelter we are providing, how are medical needs being taken care of, what are the real tangible benefits we can show them for the billions of dollars in annual tax deductions we are claiming. Have you seen what figures these critics are coming up with? Are we not commanded to be beyond reproach? They say we are allocating less than 3% of our revenues to tangible charitable giving such as service to the poor. The rest is paying for buildings and salaries. If we see this is true, shall we not change course?
We need to address such valid criticism on both fronts. We need to spend less on our own administration and church property and more on tangible benefits as the world expects to see them from self-proclaimed saints. We should never have ignored the poor. We did so because we were busy building and serving our congregations as we raised up missionaries to foreign lands. We got caught up in a system of religion but we lost sight of the least of these in our midst. We want to give more to those in need, especially our own congregants when they are in crisis, but we have little "left over" after our other expenses are budgeted out. Too often we find ourselves too tapped out to help at all. If a recession takes place our revenues decrease and the problem is accentuated. We have even less to give to the poor at a time when unemployment is high and there are more in need. The call for re-examining our church budgeting is very clear. So how do we accomplish it?
The All Hours Church is being proposed as a self-sustaining extension of every Church in Tallahassee that never closes. Certain expensive resources such as reference works that cannot be obtained elsewhere but which are valuable to church pastors and students of Scripture, and software applications such as Bible Works can be purchased once and shared by all. Recording and presenting facilities are another example. Money is better spent on items that are shared. The church needs to learn to share. Time sharing resources simply makes good sense. So does working together as a family, rather than as churches competing against each other for prestige or control. What sign of Christ's great light and holiness does it send to the world when denominational differences and historic divisions remain unhealed after hundreds and even thousands of years? Can anyone blame them for seeing us as hypocrites unworthy of being believed when everything about us seems worldly? What valid proclamation of the true Jesus is this to the nations? Do not our actions speak louder than our words? When we act in such a worldly way, are we not preaching "another" Jesus? The temple of Solomon and then of Herod was trampled on and destroyed. Have our own church buildings already merited the same?
It is imperitive that we change our ways while or if there is time. This is not an option or suggestion. The only question is how. The All Hours Church is being proposed as an obvious way to both reduce costs and work in unity. We must acknowledge that the strategy of the evil one is to divide and destroy. When we are divided we cannot withstand the fiery darts of the devil. When we are united mountains are moved. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us but He did not use this as an excuse for us to cop out on our responsibility to know them as our brothers and sisters and to lift up the least of these. Just the opposite - He pointed out that in as much as we did to the least of these we did it to Him. So we care about the poor and we pray for them? He gave us the epistle of James to spell out plainly that to say to someone "be blessed and go in peace" but not to feed them and clothe them is dead religion. He gave us Matthew 25 so we could see clearly that the Lord is not pleased when we do not lift the poor up high on our priority list, even as Himself. He defines "true and right faith before the Lord" not only as living unstained by the world but by visiting the widow and the orphan in their distress.
It's all a matter of priorities in budgeting. When the poor come to us at our respective churches because for wahtever reason they are unable to make ends meet, we give them budgeting work sheets. We ask them to prioritize their spending responsibley. We too have a responsibility and a list of priorities to make. We need to determine what those priorities are and then we need to take action that meets the demands such a list of priorities dictates. If the Lord has told us to preach the Gospel to all nations and we have built our churches as a response to that call, are we also willing to give up the current path we have been on and contribute those same resources to facilities that are shared so that we may re-prioritize in conformity with His will?
Who is running this?
our Director of Education and ministry preparation.
Coordinator of women's outreach and counseling.
serving as web master and master of calendars and advertising.
Fellowship, hospitality, facility booking coordinator - one amazing woman!
will head up the volunteer team that will meet with pastors and follow up seminars.
Jesus Our Lord
is our head and sovereign king. All are welcome to join us in serving Him.