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CREATING A FINANCIAL EDGE FOR THE JOY OF GENEROSITY AND RADICAL ASSET ALLOCATION
Buildings are celebrated but not required.
A high-impact, low-entry, scalable, mega-church mindset.
Doing more with less.
A generosity model for the nations.
THE APOSTLES' ECONOMIC APPROACH
The First Apostles didn't own a "Sunday morning" venue. In fact they didn't own any buildings. They "rented" the temple. But they had a huge supply of meeting places. Their inventory of buildings was the the sum total of where each member lived and the spaces they owned (Acts 5:42).
They engaged in "apostolic budgeting" - minimal overhead. This is in part why their purse was so full, giving them the ability to even create a social net for widows. No one was in need. (To wit, Jesus never owned a place; He used the outdoors and open skies of Galilee).
RE-ANCHORING OUR COMFORT ZONES
The lack of a permanent building was not rate-limiting for the Apostle's because this was not where their comfort zone was. Instead their comfort zone was rooted in the contribution of the members' spaces. The square footage at the apostles' disposal was the sum of the saints' sites of hospitality, not just one site where every one would trek to. The church didn't just have one big tent; it had many mini tents throughout the city. In this way there were no limits to the church's growth, because it was not defined by the footprint of one building. In this regard, the 611 Model is designed for nimble, fast-pivoting, exploding churches since it's tied to an ever expanding supply of people's property - personal or business.
This "constellation of tents" versus "one-tent" mindset requires a re-training and re-anchoring of our affections and orientation because the human soul loves and enjoys permanent buildings as our centerpiece. To be sure, there is nothing wrong with owning a building, and in some cases it can make more economic sense. But a building-centric model can tie up finances in restricting ways and/or unconsciously focus people's identity of the church on brick and mortar instead of on the people.
So what does this approach point us to? A strategy that works on minimizing financial overhead for the purpose of radical generosity and asset allocation. This is where our redirection derives its joy. We replace our focal point on a singular building to the impact we can have with fresh cash flow that is realized by reduced overhead. We revel in the fact we can invest at a higher rate in living stones and not just physical stones. It's better to give than receive. In this sense, this approach to buildings is about a generosity model reflecting God's heart of outrageous giving (Jn 3:16). Jesus, without overhead and buildings to take care of, was able to fund his twelve disciples and minimize fund-raising efforts. He was able to invest deeply into people. Again, none of this is to minimize building programs or beautiful sanctuaries (as God has blessed many of these efforts), but rather to look at a radically different model than what global cities and first world countries are used to. It poses the question, is there a different cultural approach we can take to buildings that is just as effective, but for less cost?
NEW IMPACT SCENARIOS
When one explores the math of how the Apostles' approached the physical side of church planting, there are some exciting possibilities that emerge. Finances saved through low or lowered overhead allows money to be re-purposed and re-routed. It's like stewarding a new pot of gold. More staff can be hired, more outreaches can be initiated, more churches can be planted, more evangelism can be supported, more training can be implemented, more bibles can be distributed, more social services can be rolled out and more impact can be realized locally and globally. In other words, we're looking at different Great Commission horizons. And that's what we're after, is it not? Effecting eternal results. This requires sacrificing our psychological comfort or preference for fixed buildings, but in the end it's a small price to pay for spreading the love and gospel of Jesus near and far.
GIVING TO THE POOR
One of the key priorities of Jesus and the apostles was giving to the poor. This is a crucial economic priority and must be part of the "math". Each church should have a generous compassion fund.
Mt. 6:1-2 - "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them for then you will have no reward from your father who is in heaven. Thus when you give to the needy..."
Lk 18:22 - When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jn 13:29 - Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor.
Gal. 2:9-10 - 9 James, Cephas, and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
BREAK OUT THE SPREADSHEETS
You thought Excel was boring? Think again. This is where the magic happens. All those tiny cells help planting teams and churches visualize how shifting finances away from overhead can look when diverted into programs with radical and strategic funding. This is rebalancing the giving portfolio at its best. Church planting in global cities is expensive; some of the most high-dollar planting endeavors in the world. Rents and/or mortgages can cost $5,000 to $50,000 or more a month. Think through what you need for admin space, Sunday morning services, and run it through this apostolic grid. It will pay you big dividends. The numbers won't lie. They will delight you.
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