Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speaking of haranguing the institutional church

So while I was looking up the statistics on the Southern Baptist Convention, I was reading this report from Lifeway. It was instructive to see that in 2009, based on survey results, the total value of congregational property in Southern Baptist Churches was….


That is a pretty big number. Even more so when you look at it per church and subtract out the churches that weren’t surveyed (Illinois: 1100; Georgia: 3600; California: 1800; Kentucky 2400). That leaves 36,110 Southern Baptist congregations and when you divide the total value of congregational property by 36,100 it comes to an average of $1,129,176.87 per church. Now again there are lots of churches that don’t have anywhere near that number but there are also lots of churches with a lot more than that. Lots of SBC churches are older and are sitting on pretty nice real estate on a large lot. If we were to sell our possessions, starting with Southern Baptist congregational property and distribute it to our brothers and sisters as any have need (Acts 2:45 ), can you imagine what an impact that would have on the church?

Another interesting number. Total mission expenditures in 2009 was $1,334,157,703.00. That is a huge number! When you compare it to total receipts of $11,912,179,313.00 (a number that doesn’t include California), it comes out to about 11% of total receipts. So almost 90% of all receipts in the Southern Baptist Convention go to pay expenses other than missions (no definition of that was provided). Of the money that goes to missions, much of it is run through the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board or other state/national denominational organizations which takes a cut as well. I think it is fair to say that less than one of every ten dollars in giving goes to missions work. That is pretty poor for a denomination that centers around cooperative work for evangelism.


Brian said...

That puts a pit in my stomach

Tim A said...

It's all considered normal. It's all "devoted to God" - the meaning of the word corban. No questions asked by these folks or any other believer in any other brand of institutionalized faith.

They focus on the BIG dollar number and sweep under the rug the tragically small percentage of the total.

I heard one pastor say once that he thought the BIG mission dollar figure would be much less if they did not devote the 90% bigger dollar figure to fluff the system for church life. That sure sounds a lot like the Pharisees and their corban system to give money to the temple rather than the needs of their parents.

It's all proof that the system believes it is of far greater importance that all American believers hear thousands of professionalized Bible lectures, one every week till they die, than it is for others to hear the gospel once their whole life.

Am I being too harsh with this?

James said...

And now I feel justified for having taken the term "Pass the plate" quite literally...Here it comes, there it goes...