Friday, March 09, 2012

Borrowing billions

Ah, not a post railing against politicians at all! Tricked ya!

No, what I am talking about is the latest article on "church" foreclosures. Turns out churches are being foreclosed on like the rapture is next week. From the Slate article, Church Foreclosures Reach Record Highs, I came across this little nugget...

The Evangelical Christian Credit Union, whom Reuters calls a "particularly aggressive" lender in the property boom, has been previously reported on by Bloomberg. The ECCU was the largest evangelical lender in 2009, with more than $3 billion in mortgages initiated since 1999.
$3,000,000,000 in new mortgages. That is at just one lending institution and in ten years they loaned out an average of $300,000,000 to build or expand "churches". Servicing that debt takes a lot of money in the offering plate!

Seriously though. When the church is in the position of being a major debtor, it invariably changes the focus from reaching the lost to paying the mortgage. That may sound mean-spirited but having worked in financial services most of my adult life I know the influence money has on people. If you think that is unfair, look at this statement from a spokesperson for the Evangelical Christian Credit Union...

“We are a ministry structured as a credit union that functions as a commercial bank” said Jac La Tour, a spokesman for ECCU.
What?! We are a ministry structured as a credit union that functions as a commercial bank? Try to make that statement fit into any sort of definition of ministry in the New Testament.

Brothers and sisters, money changes things. Getting entangled with buildings and mortgage payments and salaries invariably changes the focus of a group. It might not always be disastrous but it always demands caution and writing billions of dollars in commercial mortgages is sure to lead to divided priorities. We have enough distractions in the world that impede our mission, we don't need to pile on mortgage payments and salaries.

1 comment:

Jeremy Myers said...

Wow. Amazing and sad all at the same time.

I am pretty sure this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, "I will build my church."