The dominoes have begun to fall for many churches as a result of the economic crisis. Here are some things I have heard:
- Churches are terminating ministry and support personnel. In my circle of friends I heard of three churches terminating staff.
- Churches are cutting current and future compensation of ministry and support by up 20% or more. Ouch!! Most people I know of cannot handle such a large cut in pay and/or benefits.
- Churches are going back to the drawing board to eliminate ministries that drain resources. They have a tough choice between maintenance and growth ministries. Thus, some are cutting the very ministries that could help bring the church out of the slump. Difficult choices.
- Churches are drastically cutting their budgets for 2009, and yes as in number 3, they are often cutting the very things that could help get through the downturn toward recovery.
- Unfortunately, for some churches the first area of the budget they are cutting is missions support along with outreach.
- As I referenced in a previous blog, when pastor search committees contact perspective pastors, they are quickly turning down the opportunity since they probably cannot sell their house. (http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/economic-crisis-how-to-get-the-church-ready/)
- I personally know of four ministers who will most likely leave their new ministry and return to their former city and homes to avoid foreclosure.
The dominoes are beginning to fall. Of course we know that God is in control, and he knows what he is doing. It is up to us to trust him and continues to love him and share his glory with others.
There is one bright spot. My wife had an interesting conversation with an OB/GYN doctor the other day. The doctor said that she is beginning to hear of people staying home more to save money. “You know what that means!” she said. Doctors in the baby delivery business are counting on a small population explosion in about nine months. LOL! Yes, all of those families will need bigger houses, they will need larger cars, they will be more open to the message of the Gospel, and churches need to get ready for the next wave!
It is amazing that, while we have a downturn right now, what goes down should go up! Could there be an increase in the population as a result of the economic crisis? YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
Dr. Tom Cocklereece
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