Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Can we afford to leave the work to the mega church?

Here's a thought provoking blog post from Neil Cole...

I have seen a report of research to determine what it would take financially to reach the US. The report is broken down by cities listing the financial costs to reach particular cities for Christ using the traditional attractional model of church. The results are alarming. Just to reach one city alone would be astronomical and cost more than all Christian non-profit ministries receive in a single year combined.

For instance, The study shows that to reach Atlanta would cost over $63 billion. To reach New York City alone would cost more $418 Billion. Where would we expect such money to come from?

Giving USA
, a non-profit foundation that studies philanthropy in the United States, in its 2008 report found $103.32 billion went to houses of worship and denominational organizations in 2007. That entire amount could only reach the greater Washington DC area and would leave the rest of our country without any ministry at all. But of course, all our current churches and ministries would have to go out of business. This says nothing of missions to the rest of the world.

While a mega church can be missional it may not be the most wise use of resources to pursue the mission. If you want to compare the attractional mega church model against the micro model of church I think the cost alone makes it clear which is a more reasonable approach. I know that this type of content does not make my message very popular. I have tried to be fair and balanced but also share the unpopular truth. Unfortunately the ministries that end up costing the most often end up producing the least. 

This is just not a good way to reach a city for Christ, let alone the world. There are better ways. We could reach the cities faster and for a fraction of the cost with a simpler approach to church. One of the sayings in our movement is: "It doesn't cost a dime to make a disciple, it only costs your life."


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Revolutionary Networks

In this blog, which we call "Stories from the Revolution", we try and capture some of the best stories about the amazing spiritual revolution that is going on in the US and around the world.  In this revolution, where the church is returning to the home, we are seeing many house churches connecting in relational networks.  The LK10 Community is an example of a larger network.  A great example of a local network is one lead by Jim and Cathy Mellon in Central Texas.  Here's their remarkable story as told by Felicity Dale.  (Reposted with Felicity's permission.)

Make sure you watch the video interview that I did with Jim and Cathy the article.  In it, they share one of the keys to seeing house churches multiply.


Back in the early 90's, Jim Mellon was on the eldership team of a megachurch with a $1 million a year budget. One Christmas, their church didn't have the funds to help a member's family where both husband and wife had lost their jobs.  As he and his wife, Cathy, discussed it, they realized that church shouldn't be this way, that there should be resources available to help any members of the body in need (Acts 2:45, Acts 4:34-35).
As they searched the Scriptures, looking to see what the Bible had to say about church and finance, they came across the concept of church meeting in homes, and because of the financial implications, began a network of house churches.
From the start, finances played a big part in what they did. They now give to needs in their city, such as the local soup kitchen as well as to Christian ministries, and benevolence to people within the body has been a foundational principle too. They are known by their mayor and city council because of their faithfulness in giving. Their people not only give financially, they also involve on the ground in the places they help. They support church planting in India and Haiti and send mission teams out to these places.
After a while, they found that they were sometimes in the position of the megachurch–that in any given month they might run out of money before their financial obligations had been fulfilled, so they changed their pattern of giving. Instead of giving a set amount to a ministry, say $200, they now give a percentage, so they never run out of funds and there is always money available for benevolence.
They decided from the start that any leadership should be bi-vocational and to this day, only have very part time paid administrative help. 
This network of simple/organic churches is profoundly effective with their finances.
Since their inception, they have given more than $1.5 million away to missions and benevolence.
In the video below, Jim and Cathy share about the importance of the 10:2b Prayer for their network.  For more on the 10:2b Prayer, go here  http://storiesfromtherevolution.blogspot.com/search/label/10%3A2b%20Prayer