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Economy hitting some churches hard

August 11, 2009

Not surprising that the bad economy is taking a toll on churches, as this Wall Street Journal article details. Here’s the lede:

When leaders of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship Church sat down to plan this year’s budget, they knew that extra prayer was in order.

The slowing economy was squeezing the 4,000 members of this evangelical megachurch outside Dallas, prompting more families to ask for spiritual and financial help even as fewer could afford to give.

To cut 10% from its $6 million budget, the church froze staff salaries, stopped using a daily cleaning service and cut $10,000 from its lawn-care bill. It also laid off five of its 71 staff members, including a popular pastor.

It’s interesting to see how these churches with big overhead struggle. Makes me think all the more that these small Emergent (or Emergent-like) congregations have the right idea. You know, the ones that meet in rented warehouses or in private homes or at coffee shops. They still do the outreach and service that big churches do, but they don’t put such a big chunk of their resources into things like lawn care.

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