Friday, August 18, 2006

Money and the Church

There are times I want to believe that a church can be started and operated with little to no money. I want to believe the pastors and church musicans will work out of the goodness of their hearts with no concern for payment.

But the fact is, if you want to have an effective church, you do need some money.

Every so often, something happens that jolts me out of my happy thinking. I hit that on Wednesday evening. Community of Grace wants to have an accompanist that will work with our Cantor, Dan. I asked him where we were in the process, and he said that it was pretty much halted. The musicians want to be paid, and I can't blame them. You put in a lot of time and hard work, and you want to get some reumneration for that. Not to mention, church people have financial needs just like anyone else.

My boyfriend, who is a music director, has offered to help us in the meantime and I am thankful. He is a whiz at the piano. The only concern I have is he has a job in North Dakota and then drives five hours to see me. After a long day, I feel bad asking him to play again.

It's also hard to get accross to people the need for financial support. Our Region doesn't have a whole lot of financial resources, so we have to rely on the kindness of strangers. In this part of the country,it is hard to move people to support a new church like hours. You do try to tell people it costs to keep a website going or to get hymnals and the like and it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I also battle with the thoughts that all we have to do is meeting in living room and maybe listen to taped music or something. I remember attending an Anglican church a few years back that didn't have a pastor at the time. It was a very small congregation that was basically a house church. They never started on time and sometimes had a "community sermon" where people would talk about the scripture that day. At first, it seemed exciting. But after a while, it became boring and felt more like unattractive chaos. There is nothing wrong with being a house church; it's just that this isn't what I want. I would like some order and for church to feel like church. I did the meeting in living rooms thing in college and have no desire to do it again.

Then there is the fact that I or the cantor are getting paid. Neither of us are working in the church for the money. I can't speak for Dan, but I love what I do and would do it for free (as I have virtually done for two years). But the reality, is that I have bills to pay. Pastors have house notes, car notes and student loans just like everyone else. So, why do I feel like a leech when I desire to want to make even a small salary for all the work I do? Would I feel this way if I were a lawyer?

Blech. I wish money wasn't a concern.

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