With all the
emphasis on church growth and attendance numbers I am sure that someone has
considered this before:“ Why don’t
we just pay people to go to church?”
– offer people $20 / $50 or $100 a Sunday to come to church. $10,000 and you could have a thousand member
church over night. Mega-church here we come!
I’m not the first pastor to think of this so let’s examine the reasons we don’t
do this (I reasons why I hope you’re not doing this).
It gives people the wrong motivation to
come. They aren’t coming to learn, worship, service or give – they are
coming to receive, profit and do their time.
It gives people the wrong view of the
gospel. Didn’t Jesus tell people to count the cost of discipleship
rather than tell them to count on the profits that come from following?
It harms the people who do want to come.
How would you feel if you came to worship and the guy next to you keeps asking
“when’s this over” and “what’s the time?” How would you feel if you came to
learn and as the pastor comes to preach the whole crowd around you pulls out
their iphones and ipads to start playing games?
It gives the pastor a false sense of his
influence, impact and following. Bigger isn’t always better (just ask
your friend who failed their summer diet). Your ego might feel better having a
big crowd but ultimately you are attracting a crowd that cares more about the
coffee and doughnuts than they do about the gospel.
It is a waste of the churches resources.
If I need to explain – stop reading here because you’re not going to like me at
all as I’m about to turn the tables.
where I am going:
missionary I am shocked at how many short-term missions teams pay the nationals
to attend their conferences, trainings and seminars.
Not only do
they pay for the conference, food, lodging, gifts (bibles, books, etc) but many
of the conferences in East Africa now as part of the registration pay the
transport of the pastor to and from their conferences.
if we do this in the US. Catalyst, Desiring God National Conference, Gospel
Coalition and every other conference dropped their conference fee, paid for
your hotel, meals, and gifts at the bookstore and then reimbursed your plane
ticket or fuel. Pastors would become professional conference attendees and the
churches would suffer without their leaders.
exactly what I see happening in Uganda and hear from other missionaries in
surrounding countries. Pastors are turning into professional conference
attendees and the church is hurting.
against this is “the church in the west is rich and the church in Africa is
poor why can’t we help them”
plenty of answers – let me tackle that in part 2 tomorrow…
Jeff Atherstone is the
President of African Renewal University and has served as a missionary in Uganda
since January 2006.
Jeff is the Vice-Chancellor of Africa Renewal University. One of the greatest needs in Africa is the training and mentoring of pastors. Before coming to Uganda Jeff served as a Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church of Moorpark and has been involved in pastoral ministry since 1998. Jeff has a Bachelors Degree in Theology and a Masters of Divinity from The Masters College and Seminary. He lives in Uganda with his wife Christine and their two sons Noah and Kadin.