A Million Bucks

Sometimes I wonder what might have happened if, instead of choosing to meet in homes 25+ years ago, we had gone the more traditional route.

So, why didn’t we?

Well, for one thing, my experience with oiling the machinery of church structures caused me to want to avoid the administrative responsibilities of such an effort. I wanted to focus more time on relationship than on getting our organization ironed out.

Another reason was the expense of doing church in the traditional way. Recently, I became curious what the costs might have been had we decided to get a building and function more like a “real” church.

If I had paid more attention during the four years I spent pastoring a  small church in Vancouver I would have had some idea of the operational costs. Alas, I’ve never been much for budgets so I must have tuned that part out. Anyhow, I didn’t remember the numbers and I didn’t save any financial reports, so the question sent  me to the web looking for the budget of a typical smallish church. 

After a little sleuthing, I came up with the following monthly expense items for a small church building.

  • Rent or mortgage: $2,000
  • Utilities: $333
  • Insurance: $250
  • Maintenance: $500

That came out to about $37,000 a year. Now, these are pretty rough figures, but they don’t sound too outlandish. Calculate that average rate for the 27 years we’ve been around and we (assuming we had survived the financial pressure) would have spent $999,000! That’s, uhh, a million bucks.

Now, I wish I could tell you that we actually had that million over these last 27 years, and that we spent it for great and noble purposes, but I can’t do that. The point is, it would have taken  that much money to keep the roof over our head. Personally, I think we did the right thing choosing to use our houses. The fact is, over the years we’ve been able to give a lot away because it costs us virtually nothing to be the church together. I’m going to start sharing the story of a few of those things in future blogs.


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