Sometimes I struggle to write certain things (ask my wife). I’m not just a blogger. I’m a pastor, who happens to write a blog. Most days I want to stick to the middle of the road where it’s safe. A little humor here, a little insight there, with an encouraging biblical reference as the cherry on top.
But this blog is intended to be a vulnerable look at my family, my own spiritual journey, and my role as a church leader. And sometimes I stumble into hard spaces. Questions that make me uneasy (like I’m watching Joe Biden speak in public).
So I’ll risk being mislabeled a cynic and chuck this one on the table.
Should churches own assets?
I know, I know. The guy with the 2 year old church tosses out a covet-laced question buried in an ocean of false-humility. Maybe. You might be right (see, there’s that concocted lowliness again).
I’m not asking if it’s morally or biblically wrong (If you’re curious, I don’t think it is). I’ve been on both sides of this conversation, and I see benefits (and pitfalls) to each. But I can’t keep these instructions from Jesus to His disciples from setting up shop in my brain:
“Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions: Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple.” –Mark 6:7-9 MSG
The word asset has inherently positive overtones. We’d all love to be called a great “asset” to our organization, right? But in business school, we also learned that all assets have offsetting expenses or liabilities.
And in that way, assets can complicate. They need to be managed. They dilute our focus. Scream for attention. Demand our resources. And truthfully, they can begin to define us. To own us.
Before you mistakenly think I’m calling out mega-churches with sprawling campuses, fancy offices, and drive-through coffee shops, save your inner cynic for talks of federal deficit reduction. Church assets don’t just show up on balance sheets.
- Our preferred method of ministry can be an asset.
- Power can be an asset.
- Denominational hierarchy can be an asset.
- Political connections can be an asset.
- Shoot, even anger and cynicism can become an asset on which we build the church (it’s certainly not hard to build a following of people who are bitter at the church).
Maybe the issue isn’t so much owning assets as it is allowing them to begin owning us. Defining us. Defining God.
No bold declarations here (maybe I am just a jealous church planter). Just something I’m pondering as we move forward. Thought you might want to ponder, too.
What do you think? Should churches own assets?