When many of us think of how much a church is worth one person might think of the cost of a wedding, others might think of the cost of counseling services, another would think of the cost to build the church building and the property, and another might think of how invaluable the people of the church have been to them. There are a lot of valuations and ways to value what the church does in a community. Some, who do not attend, may say the church is worth nothing at all, or very little (to them).
But according to a University of Pennsylvania study (which will likely be contended according to this blog), churches and their impact on the community has a huge quantifiable impact. They looked at Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish “ekklesia” or gatherings (in Greek) and this is how they did it:
They added up the money generated by weddings and funerals, festivals, counseling programs, preschools, elder care. They tallied the salaries of staff and the wages of roofers, plumbers, even snow shovelers. They put dollar signs on intangibles, too, such as helping people find work and teaching children to be socially responsible. They even measured the diameter of trees on church campuses.
So what was the worth of an average church? Over $50 million in economic and community benefits. Considering that most churches run under a $1 million or much much less operating budget, and the property often isn’t worth more than a million or two – that is a huge impact. It is no wonder that the Puritans made the Gathering Place (aka Church building) at the center of every town in New England. Perhaps they were onto something.
The blogger, Todd @toddrhoades (and thanks Todd for sharing this), points out that this doesn’t even speak to the spiritual dimension of what a church brings. Again, many will find that negligible because they do not desire a relationship with God, but for those who do (or are on the verge of coming into faith), this is life giving, and brings more cohesion to a community. On a side note, a recent Gordon-Conwell Theological economic impact study made up to respond to critics of the Seminary’s non-taxable status had a similar result. The benefits in volunteer hours in the community alone are invaluable.
So looking at your church, does this bring a new appreciation for what God is doing through it (because you are a part of that – or should be)? Leaders: Do your congregants know how valuable their work as the saints is?
Read the full article here or click the picture.