Thinking Out Loud

January 1, 2010

Bottom Drops Out of Donations at Saddleback: $1M Debit Crisis

The bigger they are, the harder it gets during a recession,  as USAToday reports:

Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Community Church

Evangelical pastor Rick Warren appealed to parishioners at his California megachurch Wednesday to help fill a $900,000 deficit by the first of the year.

Warren made the appeal in a letter posted on the Saddleback Church website. It begins “Dear Saddleback Family, THIS IS AN URGENT LETTER.”

“With 10% of our church family out of work due to the recession, our expenses in caring for our community in 2009 rose dramatically while our income stagnated,” the letter reads.

Still, Warren said the church managed to stay within its budget, but “the bottom dropped out” when Christmas donations dropped. “On the last weekend of 2009, our total offerings were less than half of what we normally receive…”

[continue reading the story at USAToday Religion]

Related story at Godvertiser blog discusses the announcement — just one day earlier — that Warren’s magazine is discontinuing its print edition and going digital.

December 23, 2009

Link Letter

Art Linkletter was famous for doing something on TV, but I can't remember what

You’ll never know unless you click on these links, right Art?

  • I never thought the day would come when I’d link to John MacArthur’s blog, but he does a good job of separating out the nuances between “Word-Faith” doctrine and “Prosperity Gospel;” perhaps as only a non-Pentecostal can do.   All this follows the passing last week of Oral Roberts, and is a rebuttal to a (linked) Christianity Today article by Ted Olsen.   Check it out at Grace to You.
  • Speaking of Prosperity Gospel, and how it raises lifestyle expectations, The Atlantic magazine asks the question in a lengthy, in-depth article, “Did Christianity Cause The Crash?”

    Demographically, the growth of the prosperity gospel tracks fairly closely to the pattern of foreclosure hot spots. Both spread in two particular kinds of communities—the exurban middle class and the urban poor. Many newer prosperity churches popped up around fringe suburban developments built in the 1990s and 2000s,…precisely the kinds of neighborhoods that have been decimated by foreclosures… Zooming out a bit,…most new prosperity-gospel churches were built along the Sun Belt, particularly in California, Florida, and Arizona—all areas that were hard-hit by the mortgage crisis. … “financial empowerment” seminars that are common at prosperity churches…pay lip service to “sound financial practices,” but overall they would send the opposite message: posters advertising the seminars featured big houses in the background, and the parking spots closest to the church were reserved for luxury cars.

    Read the whole article here.

  • New Blog of the week:  Redeem the Time by David Mercier.
  • Rob Bell item of the week:  “Christians Shouldn’t Fear Controversy Over Doctrine” by Drew Nichter at Associated Baptist Press.
  • Quote of the week: “Good preaching is like a belly button, every person has their own idea of just what it should look like.”  – One of several observations by Clint Cozier, who marks the occasion of the end of his Presbyterian pastorate in Grand Rapids by starting a blog.
  • YouTube video of the week:  “O Come All Ye Faithful” by the online sensation, Pomplamoose Music.   The music’s great; the video itself is excellent.    If you like it, which you will, you can check out “Always in the Season” at this link which is a combo music video and World Vision fundraiser.  (It means “grapefruit” in French.)
  • Speaking of Christmas, why are the genealogies of Jesus in Luke and Matthew so different?   Grant Osborne answers that one in “Who Was Jesus’ Grandfather?” at Christianity Today.
  • Wanna see if you could make the cut for your church’s handbell choir?   Handbell Hero is the liturgical version of Guitar Hero.  Okay, look at the first four keys of center row of your keyboard:  A, S, D, F.   Those are your bells.   Ready?  Click here.
  • YouTube runner up:  The Amazing Grace House. The display has 50,000 lights and is computer controlled by 180 channels.  (I think this was done last year, too; but this is a new video.)
  • Congratulations to Stephy at the blog, Stuff Christian Culture Likes which is now part of Beliefnet.
  • By the way, just to update you — especially our Canadian readers — our iKettle got a couple of direct donations yesterday that bypassed the site, and were picked up by the Salvation Army yesterday.  They totaled $250, which brings us to $380, but still $620 short of our $1,000 goal.   You can still donate (securely) here.
  • Some of the blogs with larger readership are ‘monetized,’ that is to say, they make money because they accept advertising.    The key to this has been the Beacon Ad Network, and your organization or business can reach 450,000 blog readers (guaranteed!) by clicking here.

HT: Pomplamoose at Zach’s.

Today’s cartoon is another from Jon Birch at ASBO Jesus.  Click the image to link the site.

January 24, 2009

A Visual Representation of the Economic Slowdown: The Auto Industry

Filed under: economics, issues — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:05 pm

nissan-test-track-used-for-storage2This Nissan test track is intended for test driving cars, not for storing them bumper to bumper.

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Below, an outdoor storage facility in Sheerness, UK.

sheerness-auto-open-storage1

These pictures plus eleven more from The Guardian

via: Jordan Cooper’s blog

December 3, 2008

Recession Action Plan for Churches and Ministries

Filed under: Christianity, Church, economics, missions — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:30 pm

Love reading the comments after bloggers post a question, but love it more when they go back a few days later and give us all a summary.   Andrew Jones does just that this week:

Top 5 Ways for Ministries to Get Over the Recession

Thanks everyone for last week’s discussion. I have collated the best ideas below on how to get over the recession and added, as I usually do, my own thoughts.

- Seek God. (Mike Lane) Maybe this recession is an opportunity for a midcourse correction, a time to reconnect with God, retool and get ready for the next season.

- Restructure training and gathering events to make them accessible and sustainable (Becky Garrison, Charlie Boyd) Give preference to local leadership for teaching over long-distance celebrity speakers (Rob Karch) In your thinking, think about houses instead of hotels, kitchens instead of restaurants, festivals instead of conferences, joining something larger rather than starting your own.

- Start micro-businesses (Zack Newsome, Bill, Mike, Bill Cummings). Start something. Start a few things. Its a great way of becoming financially sustainable and it also opens new doors into the community. Social enterprise and micro-business has been a normal activity for overseas mission for many centuries.

- Move in together. (Mike Todd, Andrew Jackson) Intentional Community is a wonderful way for a small community young people to mature together. Its ridiculous that we all need big empty houses for one or two people. Fill up those empty bedrooms. Maximize what you already have, or think about downsizing. And no . . . I am not suggesting you move in with your girlfriend.

- Live frugally – (Jordon Cooper). Beware of credit. Learn from the monks who took vows of frugality and poverty. Borrow stuff instead of buying it (Luke 10). Learn to cook. Learn how to do all kinds of stuff you don’t know how to do. Walk instead of drive.

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