Today is our fifth installment from Thom Rainer’s Autopsy of a Deceased Church – 12 ways to Keep Yours Alive. I will share his thoughts as presented in his book for our consideration.
The title of chapter five is The Budget Moved Inwardly. Rainer says when you autopsy a church you follow the money. He says, “I never met a member of a dying church who thought his or her church was greedy.” Perhaps it is better to say the funds were inwardly focused.
“Because the church members viewed the staff as their caretakers. The paid staff were to spend the most of their time meeting the needs of the church. Visiting, attending functions, counseling, and so on that’s where the money went. He further says, “Don’t get me wrong, in vibrant churches the staff often meets the needs of the members.”
Then he talks about budgets. It is fascinating to look at twenty annual consecutive annual budgets of churches that closed. Look at the line items and see what was cut. Most cuts were made to programs with an outward focus.
He then discusses the parable of the rich young ruler. The money though was symptomatic of a heart problem. The church cared more for its own needs that those of the community, if that occurs the church will die from heart failure.
Lord, help me grasp that all the money I think I have is really yours. Help me to grasp all the money our church has is not ours but is Yours. Give us healthy giving hearts to use these funds according to Your purpose.
- How would the budget and use of funds of a healthy church differ from that of a dying church?
- How does the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10 inform us about how the church might view the money it has?
- What are some ways churches can move their use of funds form predominantly an inward focus to an outward focus?