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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Like I said, I was in lay leadership for ten years, have been in the church all my life, and worked closely with pastorship. More than a few of my closer friends are/were pastors. This isn't rocket science. Go talk to some pastors of different ages and from different denominations. You'll probably get some variety there, but I think the last answer you'll get is that it's some cushy job where you soak up cash while not doing anything. If that's your view, then you should stop using very top 1% megachurch pastors as your litmus test. Those guys are the exception.
    Right when it comes to the way churches are run their the minority but when it comes to how people think their ran their the majority. And I think that's because when it comes to church, religion out shadows everything else about it. And the that the religious part is the only part that's connecting them to the other churches I always figured that if we just pushed it out of the conversation and talked about the other parts of the church the distinction between them to everyone else would be huge and that's how other churches can begain to distance themselves from them. Also since money was part of the issue I figured why try to avoid it and say yes bringing in money is important but this is why. This is how much we bring in and this is how its spent and put the majorities minds at ease. Of course it could a stupid idea but its not gonna hurt.

  2. #22
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    I spent about half my life as a christian and the second half as an atheist and the reason for that was because I would get frustrated with the inability to get straight answers for obvious contradictions, flaws and incorrections in the stories that were being preached as facts. And no one including these preachers were able to prove these stories to be true. They just are because they are would seemed to be the answer and that's not answer. Then the preachers and the church always seem to be needing money but for what? I would ask myself. They would just read us stories and give us their interpretation of the story. And it seemed pointless. And they always seemed very depand on on money. We seemed to be always giving or raising time and money and I never felt like anyone of us in the seats were getting amswers and it felt like we were being lied to and used and the fact that we could never question anything just solidified my assumptions. But maybe Im wrong so what does a church do that didn't require us to give into it. Why would I feel used and left in the dark? I know how important we were and God was but we both seemed to be most important to the pastor because he always seemed to be completely depend on us and word of god. Why?

  3. #23
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    The way I see it, the more comfortable church is for people, and the more ways they can reach people, the better for them.

    Pastors need to be taken care of.. Yeah, technically they COULD all work for free. But Pastors are not monks either. I'd rather a pastor who works EXCLUSIVELY with the church and be supported by that church than a pastor that was a 'weekend warrior' of sorts. Dedicating your life's work to the church is what it is all about, as far as I know.

    It does seem business like. But many things seem that way. You're planning a family fun trip to the beach, eh? Business transactions will be involved, for sure. Careful planning, budgeting, distribution of money, scheduling, etc. All goes into it.. but the purpose is not business, is it? The purpose is family bonding and fun. Sure, that can be done for free at home, couldn't it? But the experience of having a beach in the mix.. that's something special. Worth the money? I suppose that depends on who you are.. but most will say yes.

    I am sure there are churches that are scams. But I am also sure that things like climate control, a facility to come together in and grow into or expand on, a place for events to give back to the community, the ability to finance trips to help out other communities as well, the ability to let pastors do their jobs, reaching out to people on the internet and modern conveniences that younger generations are increasingly depending on, the list goes on.. these things ALL require business-like proposals. Meeting every so often about these business things seems more than acceptable to me. "Meet up, get the the business over with and a solid plan so we can get on to important things--like religion." That was the tone of the church I worked for..

    Even if you are not in the religion.. Churches provide many services for the communities they are in.. Some of them more concrete than praying. Personally benefitting one person? Maybe. Benefitting the community that person lives in? Probably.
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  4. #24
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    I have not read through this thread, but in the response to the thread title, I think absolutely. it is only by honest discussion of all the variables of a subject that clear understanding can be attained.
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    Can we get an example of a churches solid financial plan. What are the expenses that are on their. What type of things are discuss during this meetings. What is a re occuring problem that is offend discust in these meetings. And most importantly how is the money divided up. Like percentage wise? I think most people have no clue as to what would be on a churches financial plan. Some stuff is obvious but I bet something will surprise people because we wouldn't include a lot of the little things that we forget about.

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    How does the church benefit the members of the surrounding communities that are not part of the religion. What do churches bring to an area?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    Right when it comes to the way churches are run their the minority but when it comes to how people think their ran their the majority. And I think that's because when it comes to church, religion out shadows everything else about it. And the that the religious part is the only part that's connecting them to the other churches I always figured that if we just pushed it out of the conversation and talked about the other parts of the church the distinction between them to everyone else would be huge and that's how other churches can begain to distance themselves from them.
    I'm having trouble understand what you are saying, but money (as in marriage) is probably one of the biggest topics discussed in church leadership.

    Also since money was part of the issue I figured why try to avoid it and say yes bringing in money is important but this is why. This is how much we bring in and this is how its spent and put the majorities minds at ease. Of course it could a stupid idea but its not gonna hurt.
    Again, I'm having trouble understanding what you're asking for, since I provided a bunch of information about how money impacts the church and how invested the pastor is in terms of his schedule within the church, rather than just sopping up money.

    Within the church itself, detailed records are kept. They have to be -- people claim their tithes as tax deductions, and the churches are typically non-profits, so they have to keep books as a non-profit entity. If you mean providing information as to a lot of the specifics to which money is going so that people who do not attend church can see all the various expenses, then maybe someone can provide that to you. I no longer attend a church and don't have access to a yearly budget accounting, but typically these statements are passed out to all parishioners. The church I left actually has its own accountant (I think she's paid part-time by the church), and ironically my ex is being trained as the backup.

    WHat you should know is that the churches in the US have drifted toward a more corporate model -- especially they are financially like a non-profit company. They not only have numerous salaries (w/ benefits and housing) to pay, but huge amounts of overhead and rent/mortage on a chuch building (just like any corporation), any construction, any missions trips, donations to various ministries, missions trips, teen programs, music rights (because they pay ASCAP a fee to use music -- the churches actually have to submit records of what songs are sung during a service and send the data to the Christian publishing group, where dues are distributed appropriately among the songwriters/arists who wrote the works), whatever. There's lots of nickel-and-dime stuff... on par with a corporation, and the sort of thing someone encounters when working professionally, possibly getting married, and having to create their own budget and account for their own finances when tax season comes around.

    But... just amazing amounts of overhead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    How does the church benefit the members of the surrounding communities that are not part of the religion. What do churches bring to an area?
    Lots of churches are invested in community service, whether that means service projects in the community or church-centered activities such as sports programs, teen programs, public concerts, health care programs, visitations, food drives... you name it.

    Churches also providing a lot of counseling services for people -- if not the pastoral staff, then some churches actually donate their buildings to be used by programs involves newly released prisoners being integrated back into society, drug counseling, abuse counseling, you name it. In Harrisburg, the political community has officially recognized that many of the programs the government would try to run actually would be better served handing off to the church, which is already established with its own network. Why recreate the wheel? You will be seeing more and more integration of political/gov programs into the church-affiliated networks.

    (Sorry, I do not really want to dominate this discussion and would love to hand it off to some other people with appropriate background knowledge. Right now, I guess I just happen to have spent so much time in the church, I know some of the information you're asking.)
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  8. #28
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    Jennifer I just wanna say thank you. It was very informative with answers to a lot of the questions I was asking. Church is a good thing even though I don't attend it. It does carry a bad rap. I'm not religious but I do see the benefits to church. It does help a lot of people. If you just push away the religious side of it then I think atheist might give them a little more of a break. In other words" I don't believe in your religion but I respect what you do."

  9. #29
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    I don't believe the Church was ever supposed to become such a corporate (i.e. business) institution. Originally, they met in homes, and a person who knew the bible would teach the others. Support was really only for those constantly travelling, like the apostles, not for stationary ministers, or those who decide to go on a "mission trip"; and this was food and shelter, not a "salary".

    All of that is where the church took advantage of the end of persecution in the empire to organize itself as basically, a microcosm of the empire. Eventually, it became the big persecuting government, and then split apart when the stranglehold was broken through the advent of printing, forming dozens of mini governments, and then the more independent ones just went for a business model, and the incorporation laws included them as another "non-profit corporation".

    All of this might make it easier to have a nice building, and someone motivated to "lead", but then it becomes another power base that people covet for its own sake, and all the red tape as we see here, and spreading the message is dependent on, and in practice takes a back seat to all this other stuff.
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  10. #30
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    How does the church benefit the members of the surrounding communities that are not part of the religion. What do churches bring to an area?
    Its interesting you know, would you have an expectation of a sports team or fan community to benefit people who werent members?

    If you dont believe in religion then all that religion is is something similar to a fan community or sports team. And yet the same hatred and high expectations dont readily attach to those things that does to religion.

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