Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Economy--An Unwelcome Guest

A recent article in the Outlook reports that the "staggering economy" is an unwelcome guest at the meetings of the PCUSA's General Assembly Council. The reporter notes that it is also an unwelcome guest at every level of denominational life.

That's certainly true for my church, which has had to take some cost-cutting measures in light of anticipated reduced income. I'm sure it is the case for most congregations in every denomination across the country.

The fear-filled atmosphere that surrounds us on all sides doesn't help, either. It's hard to set fear aside and replace it with confidence and calmness. At yesterday's stewardship committee meeting we were reminded "God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline". (2 Tim. 1:7 NIV). That's a good reminder, but hard to internalize.

On the positive side of the situation, leaders are focusing on continuing funding for core ministries of the church and cutting back on the "nice-to-do's". That is something no one is inclined to do when economic times are good.

Is the economy an unwelcome guest in your congregation?


Presbyterian Gal said...

Pardon my hardline approach. I find the characterization of "unwelcome guest" to be fatuously optimistic. I believe it is more realistic to characterize the current economical situation as "the new driver of our day to day vehicle." And one that is unlikely to be replaced any time soon.

My former church is trying to persuade members that "God's economy is not our economy" as a means to play hardball in keeping church tithes and donations up to past year's norms. I find this no different than sending "Tony the Kneecapper" out to collect on sharked loans.

There is nothing at all that will make this situation palatable.

We have to look at it realistically and there will be need to cut more than niceties. Sadly I believe the bank foreclosures on church properties is just barely beginning.

We're still deer in the headlights. Me included.

Reformed Catholic said...

The local church is being stretched, yet the local Presbytery, Synod and GAC is expecting their per capita no matter what.

Well, I see that the GAC is looking at a 10 Million dollar shortfall already. I would like them to just cut $15 million to save even more money.

Reduce the size of all the 'advisory' councils we currently maintain, eliminate redundant and underutilized committees, and close the Washington DC office. Anything we need to comment on, can be commented on from Louisville.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I gave you a blog award at my place! Because we are FABULOUS!