Ryan McLean : Slightly Unconventional

Church Needs A New Financial Model

Today I received what came across as a very desperate and manipulative email from a church.

What unsettled me so intensely was the pastor’s use of scripture as a manipulation tool to guilt the recipient to donate to the church.

I was also unsettled by the complete lack of transparency in how the money will be spent or what would happen if “budget” was unable to be met. I checked the church website and could find no details of how money was being spent.

It reads more like an email from a used car salesman than the body of Christ. #sorrynotsorry

I think this email serves as a warning that the bloated financial structure that many churches currently operate under is not going to be viable for much longer.

I have spoken about this before here but I strongly believe that soon a new form of church will rise up under a new financial model. This will likely include:

1. Complete Transparency

First it will include complete transparency on how the money will be spent. General (or to the dollar) reports will be posted online for all to see exactly what the money is going towards.


$1,500 – New lights

$4,000 – Pastor’s wage for the monthly

$15,000 – Venue mortgage

This transparency will all the general church population an opportunity to speak up about where money is spent.

2. Giving Goals and Ceilings

Churches will have goals for exactly what they need to raise to continue to run the church. Similar to crowdsourced goals.

If a goal is not achieved an event likely won’t happen…which is fine. If a goal is hit then either giving is halted or money is put aside in Escrow or in a trust for future events, missions or a 2nd tier goal is added.

If the church reaches the 2nd tier goal then the event would likely become more extravagant.

3. Lack of Ongoing Overheads

While it is hard to foresee a church without any ongoing overheads (though I think it is possible) I believe congregations of believers will rise up with a much looser corporate structure around it.

Rather than massive overheads for staff and buildings I foresee churches with little to no overheads who will simply be raising money for the next event or the latest missions trip.

Why Churches Won’t Adopt This Giving Model

I can’t see current churches adopting this giving model because it goes against the core of what they do. Provide a central place and organisation for people to gather to worship God.

No existing churches won’t adopt this model because it is fundamentally against what they do (plus they make more money doing what they are doing at the moment…but for how long?).

New churches will pop up adopting this business model from the start.

I Could Be Wrong

I could totally be wrong about this. My goal is not to be right. My goal is to open up discussion on how church could be in the hopes that just one person takes these ideas and builds something create upon them.

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