I saw this post on Collide Magazine’s blog a few days ago and wanted to pass it on.
I’ve blogged about the tension between building a great church facility and the precious dollars that requires before, but I feel like there is still more to say on the issue. In my previous post, the jumping off point was Sarah McLachlan’s “World On Fire” video—a music video that was created for $15 instead of $150,000 and told how the surplus cash was donated to causes around the world. I’m still wondering what this concept would look like in local churches, and I’m wondering how pastors and budget committees decide what to spend on media & technology vs. what to spend on feeding the hungry.
My church is a great church. I love the church’s sense of community, concern for others, and commitment to Christ. We’re a large church with a lot of resources, so we have things like flat-panel TVs on the wall here and there. I wonder what it would look like, in Sarah McLachlan fashion, if instead we hung a sign on the wall that said, “We were going to spend $1000 on a TV for this spot, but we sent the money to this fill-in-the-blank cause.” Would that be cool, or would it be weird? Would it inspire churchgoers to do the same thing, or would they leave and go to the church with the TVs?
The reason I bring this issue up again is I stumbled across a news blurb about a church in the Detroit area that opened a new $65 million facility. Folks, that’s a lot of TVs. It’s also a lot of winter coats for Detroit kids who’ll be cold this winter. I’m not criticizing the church’s financial decisions in any way, but I am curious about how they decided on the $65 million number and whether or not to include certain pieces of wonderful technology. The news blurb mentions that the church hopes the facility will be a great resource for their community, and I hope so, too. Perhaps one of the worst possible outcomes of an outstanding facility like the one is question is that it is plunked down in the midst of a community that has fallen on hard financial times. The church wouldn’t be a symbol of hope and grace for that community, just a reminder that this materialistic world consists of haves and have-nots. Church, after all, is a place for the needy—spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially.
So what do you think? Should the church spend big money on technology? Should any of us? I have a few thoughts… I’ll post about them after they’ve had a little more time to stew in my head.