As you know, I live a boring life these days which means I don’t get out, don’t get to people watch and no stories to tell. Then I sat in a church meeting on Sunday and thought to myself, I have enough material to write a whole sitcom. So here it is, part 1 of my series of Church Matters.
I’ve been made a leader, when I tell people, they roll on the floor laughing, but hey, every sinner has a future and every saint has a past.
In today’s episode, I want to talk about our first church board meeting (being a leader gives automatic membership to the board). We are in a bit of a pickle at the moment, as the objective was to add 100 new members and to have our own place of worship. We are currently subletting a building which allows us just the 2 hours every Sunday, Sunday school consists of a few tables in the corner and well we could do with moving to somewhere that they don’t kick you out before you have even said the final grace.
We have increased probably by 6 people, taking the total to approximately 45 people (that’s total members, not the board), I think our first priority is to find innovative ways of bringing new people into the church, however one of the Elder’s felt otherwise.
I am going to refer to him as The Elder, I don’t know which church he belonged to in Ghana but he started coming to this one probably around the same time I joined. He doesn’t preach much but when he is given the mantle, his sermons always seem to be about “giving” to the point where I am wondering what his motives are. I don’t want to speak negative of him, but he is giving off a vibe that tells me he’s looking for a pay day. I hope I am wrong but he’s not yet proved me otherwise.
If I first go back couple of weeks ago. Pastor asked us to say what we thought the weaknesses of the church were and what was preventing us from growing. The Elder brought up the fact that we did not have our own premises (fair enough), then he went on to talk randomly about “giving”. Now even though we are few, we give, the church needs a new TV, we contribute. We want to advertise, we contribute. Furthermore, these are not people doing cushy 9 to 5s making £30K, 40, 50+ a year. Some people come straight from their morning cleaning, come to church and then off to their afternoon jobs.
The meeting went on for a bit but then we got thrown out for the next church service so we had to continue the next week. The meeting started around 8am, I got there at 8.15, turns out it was a board meeting not a leaders meeting (all so confusing). After a lot of talking, The Elder gets up to talk about his 2020 vision, or vision 2020, I can’t remember. However, he says that we should pick a tier, platinum, gold, silver or bronze. Platinum members should contribute £1,500 a year (or just over 100 p3 in his words) or you could buy into the bronze package for I believe it was £600 a year. Then he went on again to talk about giving and now added that some of us are more blessed than others so those people should “give more”.
Now contributions towards the cost of the church is not the issue here, my issue is one this elitist structure, then can people really afford it and most importantly we are not there yet. Once again, we need more solid members, we are trying to run before we can even crawl.
Then he said something about he has never been to a church where you don’t leave a cash offering at the altar. I’m thinking, “Does this guy want to charge me for my blessings now as well”.
The lady behind me thought the same thing, she jumped up and basically asked him why was he trying to bully us (by the way, there was no vote, we were told to buy into this so that everyone else will). As she brought up other ideas such as gift aid and good old fashioned fundraising, I could see The Elder’s eye’s glaze over like he wasn’t getting what he came for out of this meeting. In the end he just said good point, hammered home his point some more and went to sit down to the sound of crickets.
I’m not trying to be a hater, I just think we need to get our priorities in order because it’s a bit like going from a mail-room boy to a CEO without doing the graft in between.