Our church is feeling the economic crunch. The pastor started asking for more in the offering plate months ago. Now it has come down to a 5 percent pay cut for him and the staff. No one knows where this will end.
I am wondering what God is up to. We started off as a house church in the 1970s---the pastor's house, a few chairs and throw pillows, maybe coffee afterwards. No overhead. No programs. No minivan. Just a pastor on fire, and burnt-out hippies and other strays packed in a living room. The love of Christ, hospitality, a guitar when you could get it, singing till you felt like stopping, urgency in the message, desperateness in the praying, not much in the way of fancy liturgy, but lots of one-anothering. Like AA before it went downhill and left out Jesus.
Our late pastor Jack Miller once wrote a book titled Outgrowing the Ingrown Church. He said, "With Baptistic directness, Vance Havner has frequently noted that to be a member in good standing in today's typical evangelical church, you would need to be a backslider. In his view, faith has been withering away in our churches for a generation, and only revival can bring back the fullness of Christ and a love for the lost."
This morning I was up to Romans in my personal Bible reading. I was struck by all the things we as a church can have for free even if we need to prune a few programs from this year's budget: "renewing of our minds," "gifts" of the Spirit, "brotherly love," "zeal," "rejoicing," "hope," "patience"---and that's just in a few verses of Chapter 12. And all "without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1). Recession-proof religion. Like in the book of Acts. What do you think?
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.