I’m out of town this week for orientation for my new job, so I thought I’d do some posts ahead of time on why I’m such a big fan (and practitioner) of microchurches.
Yesterday I posted about microchurches and discipleship. Most of us would agree that discipleship happens better in a small group than a big group, but most of us are putting way more time, energy, and resources into our Sunday Services. Thus the second reason I’m such a big fan of microchurches:
Reason #2: Stewardship
Traditionally structured church plants (paid staff, rented/mortgaged facilities, equipment, etc.) spend a lot of money on their Sunday services. I don’t have any figures in front of me, but I know what our church spent (and it was really cheap compared to the rest of you). We spent about $800-$1000 a month on facility rental towards the end of our old structure (most of you are going, “Wow! That’s cheap!”). We had thousands wrapped up in equipment. We spent most of our week getting ready for Sunday–writing sermons, doing creative stuff for videos, music, evaluation–which is time we were paid for (and thus you could put a dollar amount on it… because time is money).
All on an event that didn’t contribute to making disciples. The cost/result ratio was ridiculously out of whack. And we weren’t putting near enough into what was really making disciples–small groups. So we cut out the Sunday service altogether.
Sunday services require a ton of money (rent, equipment, etc.). They require a lot of time (sermon writing, video shoots, band practices, coordination of all the elements… and that’s not including the kid stuff). In my experience, it just doesn’t add up. Disciples weren’t being made, so we couldn’t justify all the expense just because our people liked it.
Having said that, I’m not saying that Sunday services are bad things. But if they’re not helping make disciples, maybe we need to evaluate them.
Take some time to evaluate how much time, money, and effort is spent on your Sunday event–and put it in something you can measure. Maybe a dollar amount–your mortgage/rent, utilities, pay (calculate how much you and those involved make an hour, and then multiply that by the actual number of hours put into your Sunday services). Now… is that cost adding up in results? If so, awesome. If not (and it wasn’t for us), then maybe its time for a staff retreat and some hard discussions.
Church planting: The Financial Cost
I know guys who’ve raised anywhere from $300,ooo to $700,000 plus to plant churches in a traditional structure. Churches regularly spend millions on facilities that serve one main purpose–Sundays (many churches spend millions more on facilities for youth, etc.). Much of that amount that church planters raise goes to salaries, advertising, and equipment (among other things).
Again, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I’m just wondering if there’s a better way.
When I move to Greenville to start a new microchurch network, it will cost me $0.00 to do so. I’m not bragging about that–I’m simply stating a fact. I won’t get paid to plant churches. We won’t spend money on advertising. The reason: simplicity–which I’ll post more about tomorrow.
In the meantime, how can your church be a better manager of people’s money, time, resources, and “sweat equity”?