Ever since Pentecost, a short time after the ascension of Jesus, followers of Christ have been gathering together in his name to “…devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (ESV Acts 6:4) They also distributed goods to those in need. (ESV Acts 6:1) The early church met in homes and public spaces, and later, when Christianity became legal in the Roman Empire, at some point in time after, buildings used specifically for corporate worship were constructed. Today, corporate worship takes place in buildings specifically designed or remodeled to accommodate anywhere from 10 to 5000+ members at one time. Some buildings are small, not very elegant, while some are awe inspiring in size and detail. Whatever the case, there’s a cost associated with operating and maintaining the space. The church of the mid-21st century will shed these cost through gospel inspired practical reasoning.
Jeremy Mika in his article entitled Facility Maintenance on a Budget writes,
According to the ECCU, churches spend 82 percent of their yearly fiscal budget on administrative and maintenance costs which include personnel, facility maintenance and administration. Of the 82 percent, 53 percent is allocated towards staff salaries and benefits, and 18 percent is for facility expenses including mortgage/rent (eight percent), utilities (six percent) and maintenance/upkeep (four percent). Aside from this 82 percent of the budget, another four percent is used for the ambiguous “other” expenses, leaving the average church with a paltry 14 percent of its income with which to perform actual ministry.
This means a church with an annual budget of $100,000 will spread $14,000 between all of it’s ministries, ministry support, and feeding/clothing the homeless, etc.
When it comes to social work, the church undoubtedly has lead the way through the centuries. It only makes sense for it to continue this trend by shedding cost in order to have an even greater impact on the world around it. Why do we need to hold corporate worship in a building that steals the “daily distribution” that would otherwise exist if it wasn’t so demanding on the bottom line? Why couldn’t a church of one hundred members divide up between twenty homes every Sunday morning and listen to the pastor preach via a live stream from his home to theirs? Why wouldn’t the church innovate in this way?
Mika, Jeremy. “Facility Maintenance on a Budget” http://www.worshipfacilities.com; Retrieved November 1st, 2016