Thursday, April 29, 2010

$228 per Family Each Month

Ten thousand dollars each month.

With the average of 175 people in church every week, each person in church would be required to donate $57.15 per month just to service that debt. Every baby in the nursery would have to give $57.15 a month. Every seventh grader and fifth grader would need to give $57.15 a month to service that debt.

A family of four would need to give $228+ each month just to service the debt. Then you still have to give regular donations to keep the doors open. And last I heard, the stained glass windows are not even going to be moved. Those are the windows paid for by the founding families of the church, the families and individuals whose names are on the windows.

Here is the irony of the situation:

1) People who have NO MONEY voted FOR the new building!
2) Young people who have NO MONEY voted FOR a $10,000/month debt!.
(They have NO MONEY!)
3) People who have NEVER REACHED EVEN ONE SOUL FOR CHRIST voted FOR the building.

Let, me ask you a question. Will a modernist "auditorium" that feels and looks more like a sports arena than a place of worship reach lost people in Alamo? Will softball fields and video screens help reach those people in Alamo who now live close to the church but do not attend? What has happened to a traditional sense of place (in terms of church buildings) in the Southern Baptist Convention that has characterized the South? Why has building replaced soul winning? Why has "new and improved" replaced preservation and conservation of our heritage? This constant treadmill of building new buildings with all the fund raising and dislocation that goes with it is hardly conducive of a settled sense of continuity that develops a spiritual community. This entire enterprise has been a fiasco.

Yes, I understand that church buildings are only tools. But when the current "tools" sit half empty on any given Sunday morning, what makes you think that moving the building out of town will reach more lost people in town, as was once stated as the purpose, to reach lost people? If the church buildings are only tools, why aren't you using the tools you have now? Like I said in an earlier post, if you aren't reaching lost people now, you certainly will not reach lost people when you move. Sure, you will draw some families from other churches (People are always drawn to new paint), but that is not evangelism!!

There is much to be gained to see and feel the presence of one’s parents and their parents in the same place in which one is baptized, sings in the choir, stands before the altar in marriage, sits in the pew for weekly services. There is much to be lost as one sits in a building with no links to the past. That is especially true of modern buildings that were designed to be austere, arid, depersonalized, detached, and ahistorical.

Even though I am not currently a member of FBC Alamo, that does not mean that we cannot see things going on that should be addressed. Ideas and observations have power. The discussion of ideas produces a sifting process in which the truth can emerge. That is why forums such as this are incredibly valuable. I would hope others can read these posts and discuss what is happening at FBC Alamo.

1) Membership is stagnant.
2) Virtually no lost people are actually being reached for Christ.
3) Moving the church will put the congregation in a terrible debt.
4) Ministry that is non-existent today will be non-existent after the move.
5) Every person attending church will need to pay $57.15 per month just to pay down the debt.

With truths such as that, who has time to reach lost people?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Time For A Decision

What is happening in your life? What is happening in the life of those who live across the street from the church? What is happening in the life of those who live within two blocks of the church building? Do you know who lives within a block of First Baptist Church? Are those local citizens in your Sunday School Class on Sunday morning? If not, where are they at that time? Why aren't they at FBC?

Who visits the sick folks in town during the week? Who gives comfort to a family when someone is dying in the hospital? My Dad was a member of First Baptist Church for around sixty years. However, when my Dad was dying, there was not a church member or church leader in sight, nor had there been for several days!

Do you think THAT is ministry? Do you call that representing Jesus?

Is softball still more important to you than actually knocking on doors and inviting lost people to church? Do you ask for real ministry from the leadership or are you satisfied with the status quo?

What about plans for the future? The "new club-house" building program was put on hold because God forgot to tell the congregation and the church leaders about His planned mini-recession for the economy. So what's gonna happen in Alamo now? First Baptist has been a nice, little neighborhood club for many years, a little religious club with weekly activities and a stagnant membership. How long will it remain a club, for members only, making very little, if any, impact on Alamo or Crockett County?

When will First Baptist actually reach out to the individuals in the local community, one on one?

When will First Baptist move from an idle, fruitless "we all together should..." style of ministry programs to a powerful, effectual "I, personally, will..." style of individual ministry? To have an impact on the community, it must happen. To have a positive, active spiritual influence on Alamo, members of First Baptist must each convert from the passive "we" idea to the active "I" idea of actually talking to individuals, one on one, and reaching them personally.

When you personally reach individuals, then the community receives the results.

First Baptist can remain just another, basically ineffective church, just another one of several in the community, as it has been for so many years. Or the individual church members can demand active ministry, positive, people-reaching ministry, life-changing ministry to individuals in Alamo.

Will First Baptist remain just another religious club, coasting along, serving up the status quo week after week? Or will each individual church member become genuinely involved in reaching an individual in Alamo, personally impacting the life of a citizen of Alamo, acting out the great commission of on one?