How will we pay for New Churches? And by “Church” I’m talking about any gathering of God’s people who may or may not know they are God’s people. I’m not talking about the traditional congregations – of any size – who want a spiritual leader to do all/most of the things: preaching, teaching, pastoral care, administration.
I’m talking about something for the Fleabags of the world. I imagine something like this:
A church property is re-purposed into affordable housing or a drug treatment facility or apartments for homeless veterans. Maybe they are using the old church building or maybe they’ve razed the old building and something new has been constructed. But there is still “church space” on the property – and depending on the context/neighborhood, this is what happens there – in my dreams:
- Sunday – Saturday – 24 Hour Prayer Room
- Monday – Friday – excellent affordable childcare from 6 am to 9 pm
- Monday – Friday – every 12 step group that needs space
- Monday night – Death Cafe (Let’s talk about grieving.)
- Tuesday night – “What Am I Doing?” Parenting Group (Let’s talk about our kids.)
- Wednesday night – “What Does This Mean?” Bible Study
- Thursday night – Interfaith Cafe (Let’s talk with people of different beliefs.)
- Friday night – Storytelling/Music that Matters (Let’s share stories by theme: shame stories, failure stories, Where-God-Showed-Up-Unexpectedly stories)
- Saturday morning – Brunch Church (Eat and talk to God and each other. Also some listening for God.)
- Saturday afternoon – Craft Church (making pillowcases for refugee children, knitting needle bags for people with substance abuse issues, crocheting blankets for shelter)
- Saturday night – Pride Cafe for LGBTQ youth
- Sunday – Church-ish
I would call the whole community Church-ish (stolen from Abby King-Kaiser) and – as you can see – no single pastor could do all these things. The pastor’s job would be to oversee it and – in a no-financial-worries world – there would be about 3 FT pastors on this staff.
So here’s the thing: How would we pay for it?
I have ideas for this too, but I’m just brainstorming:
- On top of the housing/rehab/whatever space are market rate apartments/condos.
- A big church – or several – to support it.
- Partnerships with local businesses.
- There is a pay-what-you-can offering at everything.
- There’s a coffee shop/tea shop/ice cream shop with proceeds going to Church-ish.
- The main gathering space is so beautiful, people want to get married there (so they rent it.)
- Online giving that makes everybody desperately inspired to make annual pledges.
- Talking about money openly and in healthy ways.
Also God. Not Magic Jesus but trust in a God who would be pleased by a gathering of misfits who believe but don’t exactly know what they believe.
So, what do you dream? And how would you pay for it?