There is an opinion that often pops up when articles of faith and church arise and that opinion is that many churches are just in it for the money. I can assure you that with the exception ofa very very few that is not the case. So lets look at some of the numbers and facts surrounding church finances. we more than often focus our attention on the "mega" church when in fact mega churches make up 3% or less of all churches. 93% of all churches have 500 or less people attending them, 57% of those have less that 200 in the congregation.
For an example I am going to use my own church as I do have access to financial information concerning it. We have a a membership of about 500 people. So we do fall into the the upper part of that 93%. If each member of our church were to give $39 a week the income of the church would be approximately $1million a year. Now that is a sizable income but in reallity it is not even close to what is actually given. Based on our present numbers the average giving is about $18-20 a person. So if we are in it for the money we had better either find more gullible giving people or a different line of work. The majority of things that happen at church are not paid for by the church but by volunteers, who give of their own time and money to help. Many of our youth programs have people that have been involved for over 10 years and take nothing in return but give much in time and supplies. Many of our adult programs are all volunteer staffed, this includes an ESL ( English as a Second Language) program and an adult literacy group. If we could get that $38 dollars a week, if people would for go that Starbucks coffee or that #1 at McDonald's and put that aside to help others the impact would be unimaginable. All we ask is for people to give based on what God has put upon their hearts to give, and we will use what is given to glorify God.
Another point of contention is the "rich" pastors that fleece these poor people. As I mentioned above the number of mega churches is a very small percentage and the number of pastors that run these churches is also a small percentage. I know some mega church pastors and several of them take no salary at all because they are accomplished authors and speakers and derive their income from these sources and in return give a good part of that back to the church. This is rare and the average lead pastor makes about $50,000 a year. This not bad considering that most lead pastors have a college education and most have Masters or PHds. Until you break it down. The average lead pastors spends about 70 to 80 hours a week doing pastoral duties. They are on-call 24 hours a day for their congregation, in good times and bad. Even taking the lower 70 hour number that means the average lead pastors makes about $13 an hour. I do not know too many college grads that would accept that kind of pay or even that kind of work load. If you want to get rich I suggest becoming a plastic surgeon there are less hours and the pay is much better.
The majority of churches are not there to fleece anyone, they are their to provide spiritual growth, fellowship, and service to the surrounding community. In reality it is only a building it is somewhere to gather together. It is a place that provides meeting rooms for the Boy Scouts, class rooms for teaching. A place for youth to hang out safely and play basketball. It is a house of worship where songs are sung, hands are shook and hugs are given. A place where you should feel loved and wanted. However the real church is outside the doors, reaching out to those in need, to the lost and forgotten, the sad and lonely, and the broken hearted. It is not a place to fleece the poor or make anyone rich. So when you accuse the church of fleecing, of being in it only for the money remember that is not the whole truth.
Blessings and Peace