Is another late entry from Eric Carpenter (frankly he has had a lot of great posts this week) and deals with the love affair the church has with our buildings: Buildings, Money, and Passing the Plate. He starts off talking about the odd practice of Roman Catholic churches of donating money so you can light a candle and using those funds to keep "churches" running but then points out that evangelical churches are not much better:
When we pass the offering plate and use most of the money to pay off large mortgages on large buildings that sit empty for the vast majority of the week, what are we saying about our priorities?
I remember one time about seven years ago when a church we were a part of had fallen behind on its $27,000 per month mortgage (yes, that figure is correct). The pastoral staff made a really big deal about a special offering that would be collected in November in order to get back on schedule with the bank. The church family sacrificially gave just enough to cover the payment. The pastors made a huge deal about thanking God. So, what impact did this have? It completely torpedoed the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering that year. That church of 700 or so people gave less than $10,000 to the international missions offering. The reason is simple: they had already given a lot to their own sacred building. Our family wasn't at that church long after that debacle.
I agree with Eric and think that we should make do with less when it comes to the various expenses for running a "church" so that we can focus less on building our own little kingdoms we call "churches" and "ministries" and focus on His Kingdom which doesn't need or want our vain attempts to curry favor with God by building Him temples.