The title of this post is a statement recently made by a Pastor whose church is now in foreclosure – an explanation of the church’s attempt at attracting younger congregants. The statement is yet another indictment on the false prosperity gospel and the culture of greed and accumulation (and a little bit of seeker sensitivity thrown in for good measure). In addition to espousing the “God want’s everyone to be rich” mantra to their congregations, many pastors embraced that same philosophy in their attempt to build churches stadiums to attract worshippers customers – and hope that those folks would continue to feed the pig.
Interestingly enough, people who can barely pay their own bills don’t seem to eager to keep funding mega-building projects for others either:
FORT WASHINGTON, Md. – By the time thousands of parishioners stream into the 3,000-seat Ebenezer AME Church on Easter Sunday, church leaders hope to have something else to celebrate: financial revival.
The congregation, one of America’s largest, has been scrambling to raise funds to save the arena-sized sanctuary from potential foreclosure. To that end, it has enlisted national leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harvard Law School’s Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack Obama’s law professor.
[...] Supercheap, few-questions-asked loans were a temptation even churches could not resist, but now they are paying for their mistakes as the debt crisis enters the house of God. Long considered among the safest of borrowers, churches gambled on real estate at a time when credit copiously flowed and lenders were startlingly lax.
And here’s a pearl of wisdom from the pastor’s statement that inspired this post:
“You build it and they will come. It really was true through the years,” said Brad Hampton, executive pastor at the Faith Center of Rockford, Ill. “They like newness,” he says of younger churchgoers.
Hampton’s megachurch was erecting a new sanctuary that could seat almost 2,000 when his lender refused further credit beyond an initial $4.2 million. The Faith Center, which also has a 48,000-square-foot “life center” that operates various ministries, is being foreclosed upon.
That’s right “pastor” – don’t proclaim the truth of the Gospel or succinctly explain the difference between eternal life through Christ and hopeless damnation without Him…just build pretty buildings to attract and keep the “they” you seek to entertain.
I still marvel that instead of concentrating on planting smaller churches throughout an area and committing to building disciples who will evangelize the Gospel, pastors sought (still seek?) to build monuments to their egos to attract seekers to marvel at their handy work. Their protestations rival the claims of Apple/AT&T’s claim that “there’s an App for that”: need something for your kids to do? We have a ministry for that. Need to lose weight? We have a ministry for that. So, that’s why they need huge arena’s and “family life centers” with their names emblazoned across the top…“to do ministry”.
God is continuing to expose waste and corruption purported in His Name, and I pray that we continue to discern and recognize the wheat and the chaff – and cling to Him instead of the material “stuff” we attribute to Him.