Homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages. Foreclosure rates are at an unbelievably high level. The economic downturn has hit us all in one way or another. Churches are no exception. As congregants have less money to give, churches have less money coming in.
Many churches took out loans on buildings or to expand facilities during the boom years. Now, many of those same churches are struggling to repay their debt. You can read more about this crisis here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090314/ap_on_bi_ge/rel_banking_on_faith
What should we think about this? Is the church not to be an example in every area about how we are supposed to live? Should the church not be setting an example in the area of finances and debt as well? Does this change our feelings in any way about individuals who are struggling with the same issues (does it make us more sympathetic)?
This issue also makes me think of another topic completely: Are churches called to build buildings? Most of the debt a church can take on is wrapped up in its facilities. Are there ways to cut back on building costs and still accommodate your people? Many churches are now renting school gymnasiums or other facilities instead of buying buildings. Some have even gone to meeting in multiple homes throughout the week. Is this wise? What are the pros and cons?