That is quite commendable. I’m glad they took such a stand, though it would be interesting to see how they define “missions.” (For example, is Youth Group missions? Is the annual Missions Conference missions? How about when the pastor takes a a two week fishin’ trip…I mean mission trip…to Alaska? But we’ll leave all those questions aside.)
The funny thing is that I hear this sort of thing from several megachurches. It seems they have a desire to justify their big buildings, stained glass windows, and fancy choir robes by saying they give 50% of their budget away.
But that’s like multi-millionaires saying they give away 50% of their income in order to justify spending the other 50% on a house with 50 bathrooms, 7 Lamborghinis, a personal airstrip and golf course, and weekly jaunts to Greece and Italy. The generosity is commendable, no doubt about it. But they’re still spending millions of dollars on themselves every year.
And then yesterday, it hit me. Most house churches I know give away nearly 100% of their church “budget.” They don’t have paid staff, mortgages, electric bills, or any of the other things that traditional churches have.
But since these churches are so small, they don’t equal the “missional” force of a megachurch giving away 50% of it’s income, right?
According to some studies, there are at least 1.4 million people involved in house churches in the United States. Some place it as high as 50 million, but we’ll keep with the much lower figure of 1.4. It looks like the average attendance in mega-churches might be around 3000 people, and very few of those are giving away 50% of their budget. So the 1.4 million people involved in house churches equals about 467 megachurches, and almost 100% of the money that these 1.4 million people give to their home groups goes straight to some sort of missions activity. To equal the same amount of giving power, you would need over 900 megachurches giving 50% or more of their annual budget. When you realize that there are only about 1400 megachurches in the US, it seems unlikely that two-thirds of them are giving away 50% of their budget.
It seems then, that there might be more mission and tithing power in house churches than megachurches.
What do you think about all this? And does anyone have any better statistics?