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Where’s the Steeple?

by Stephen Hebert on Monday - 27 July 2009

in Ministry

A while ago, Emergent Village had a satirical post about a megachurch pastor who decided to sell off the church’s property because he realized that this big, beautiful, expensive space sat fallow for most of the week.

Frank Mercer, Senior Pastor — Rolling Hills Baptist Church

Frank Mercer, Senior Pastor — Rolling Hills Baptist Church

Rolling Hills Baptist Church may not be that megachurch, and Frank Mercer may not be a high profile pastor like Hiam Shatir, but there is definitely something beautiful going on over there. On October 5, 2008, the members voted “overwhelmingly” to sell the church’s buildings and property and use the proceeds to better their community.

I get so fired up about this because I have been involved with churches in recent years that went the exact opposite direction. One church sunk themselves into $12 million worth of debt in order to begin building their facilities. They then attempted to eliminate that debt through the power of Public Relations by creating a compassion initiative that was really a front for the capital campaign. While asking members to give time and money to some wonderful causes, they were really taking the lion’s share of that money (roughly 98%) and paying down debt and interest. You can see how that might have left a bad taste in my mouth.

So, now we have Rolling Hills — the polar opposite. A church which has decided to divest itself of its facilities and invest in its community. This is an incredible picture of the Gospel.

What would it look like if we stopped the capital campaigns and started investing in our communities?

What would it look like if we went outside of our church’s walls in a very real way?

Thanks to @rhetter for calling this to my attention. You can check him out at his website: Rhett Smith — Transitioning Life’s Journey. Rhett pointed me to @loswhit‘s website Ragamuffin Soul which was running a post on the same church. Thanks to both!

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