Thursday, June 08, 2006

What's the largest Turnip you've ever seen?

The 2006 session of the Central Texas Annual Conference is now over. We concluded on a hot Wednesday afternoon in Waco.

Hot as it was outside, it remained fairly cool inside. the closest thing to dissension was a couple of representatives from smaller churches pleaded, during discusison of the budget, that we are straining smaller churches. Both mentioned the old addage that "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip."

Interestingly, though, earlier in the day, we heard a similar whine on behalf of the big churches. The new pension plan that has now been accepted by our conference, has the larger (more accurately, the higher paying) churches paying a far lower percentage on their salaries toward the overall pension than are the smaller (lower-paying) churches. The leadership of the Board of Pensions defended this by throwing out some utterly irrelevant stats about what a high percentage of the overall apportionments these big churches pay. Awwww, poor, poor, big churches....

The truth is, churches, no matter their size, pay a fairly eqivalent amount of apportionments as a percentage of their overall budgets. So, yes, churches that spend more money on themselves pay more apportionments.

I think that no matter what size your turnip is, the addage is likely still true. Perhaps we are beyond the time of pitting "big churches" against "little churches."


Blogger John said...

Not to worry. Over time, we probably won't have big churches.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Steve Heyduck said...

Is it a good thing to have big churches?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Richard H said...

If by "non-large church" we mean the ingrown, self-absorbed, fortress, maintenance-oriented church, then yeah, we need an alternative.

If a church has a passion to reach people, is radically in love with God and set to obey him, then if the demographics cooperate (and here in Texas there are lots of areas where they do - plenty of unchurched folks), then we will have some large churches.

Of course, if by "large church" you mean impersonal, corporate, loud, arrogant, etc., then nah, we don't need any of them.

9:04 PM  
Blogger Conrad said...

I have been in churches that looked at apportionments as "church tax" and others that took great pride in paying them in full plus some.

Admittedly it was usually small churches that wanted to pay extra. One small church with almost no bills beyond utilities and pastors expenses would try to pay double. Their apportionment bill was usually around $1,000. They liked seeing 200% by their name in the conference journal.

My pastor when speaking of apportionments calls them "A Portion Meant for Others". As our church has been the benificiary of district and conference mission funds and has received grants from the general church we all know how important apportionments are.

11:26 AM  

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