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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Church Part 1: The Church Business

I went to church for a number of years and one thing I've realized is the modern church is really just a cookie cutter business selling a product that people have the option of paying for.

The modern church, whatever denomination or building you go to, are all the same. Each one has a different set of base beliefs that separate them from each other, but otherwise they are all from the same cookie cutter. They all boast about the great things the church is doing, play the same songs, and sell the same message.

The modern church, or institution since church is supposed to be a group of people and not a building, is not about God or the bible. It's sole purpose is to get people to show up and tithe(pay them) to hear the "message"(sermon) the pastor is preaching/teaching that Sunday(or Saturday if your a Seventh Day Adventist). The methods they use are straight from the business world, or more like a Starbucks. They provide an experience, an image, and nothing more. That is why it's a business. They dress up their building with well made logo's, flyers, displays, video's, big screen lcd tv's, projectors, high end audio equipment, comfortable seating, and even serve food and drinks among the other things they do in order to compel people into visiting(similar to how you like to look at shiny objects). Also, tithing isn't about giving the church institution money, it's about giving it to God which would mean wherever God would have you give or use it.

The church institution also drives the christian music and goods industry. They often play songs from christian music artists in their worship. The issue I have with the christian music industry is that it almost all sucks. But through excellent business practices, people ignore this fact and buy and listen to it almost exclusively. They also drive christian book stores. Often times, pastors will suggest a book they read about the bible, or suggest you read books because it can help you understand the bible better. Then you also end up buying christian bumper stickers, little angel figurines, those fish, and other christian memorabilia(which is actually contradictory of the bible like a lot of things the church does).

The church institution also has businesses that specialize in providing services and products just for church institutions. There are businesses that provide office equipment, web hosting, architectural, consultation, etc. I just looked this up...http://www.churchbuilding.com/expertise/design/ and if you look at the "presuppositions" section and look up the full context of the verses they use, it's completely out of context. The second verse they provide isn't, but the first and third are. To become a pastor though, you have to go to school(pay money) for it to learn(be brainwashed) how and get certified, you know, just like the 12 disciples did.

Like most things in life, it's ultimately about money and power. Maybe not at first though. At first, someone decides that they can do a better church because all the churches are lacking and starts one. If they become successful, the money or power can/will overcome them. So I'm not seen as biased, I don't believe that is the issue in every case, but more the fact that most people have already been trained(read: brainwashed) to believe in the cookie cutter church design and therefore follow the standard church design but implement their own message. I don't know any pastors who do it for free and work a day job, at least not once the church institution makes enough to pay them enough.

This is mostly about the cookie cutter church. There is so many more issues that come with the pay-per-view sermons, churches that actually accept corporate sponsorships, church workshops/events/conferences you need to pay to attend, etc. Seriously, they are just profiting off of people stupid enough to pay for what someone else believes about the bible.

It actually makes me think that maybe I should start a church. I really wouldn't mind setting up a church in a way that I can do one day of actual work and be paid more than most people. I wouldn't need to write my own sermons, there are tons of them available online. I could appoint someone to handle all the questions of the congregation during the week. The salary looks pretty good according to these 3 following sources:
http://www1.salary.com/Pastor-salary.html
http://www.dcvm.org/htm/Salary_Guidlines.htm
http://blogs.payscale.com/ask_dr_salary/2008/07/setting-pastor.html
Those three are much higher than this one http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Senior_Pastor/Salary so I'm not sure if the average is being skewed to create a biased against pastors in the above three or not...but in any case, it's pretty obvious that the more successful you are as a pastor the more you make regardless of need. But to make a point about money, when a business(church institution) is run on money, results(income) are more important than other aspects of the business. I've talked to someone who was a childrens pastor, and performance(how many seats are filled) is the real important aspect of your job. In a business model, that is the most profitable and logical way to run a business, but from a biblical viewpoint, Jesus only had 12 close followers and many many more people that walked away from Him, not to mention the ones that crucified Him.

I think you would get just as much out of Scientology as you would from the Christian Church. I want clarify that I'm talking about the Church Institution, the building and administration, not Christianity in general. Regardless if you believe in God or not, the bible provides a good way to live your life. It's not an easy way, but from a psychological view, it's the best way.

*EDIT*: Something I intended to bring up is the Church in Europe. The churches there, they sermons they give are more in line with the bible. Also note, the European churches are paid by the government which takes the tithes out of everyone's salary anyway, therefore they don't need to make everything positive and spend it on advertising and eye candy. Though the European church's are also typically empty...but I may be wrong. I don't live there.

tl:dr: The modern church is a business that sells a false message.

4 comments:

  1. Interesting pay grade data. Thank you.

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  2. It's probably thrown off by those super mega church's that pay exuberant amounts of money to their pastors.

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  3. The T.V evangelists are really bad.

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