Are there too many churches? (not talking about religion, but talking about economics and overhead costs)
Driving from one point in suburban Atlanta last night to another point about 20 miles away, I counted 41 churches of one denomination or another. There were at least six flavors of baptists, and a couple pentacostals, and then a smattering of the “mainstream” religions. No synagogues, however.
They varied in size from HUGE (mega-church, thousands of seats) to very small – no larger than a medium sized house. They ranged from shiny bright modern architecture to modest red brick, and in a few cases, just clapboard siding.
Each of these congregations has a couple things in common:
- they have overhead costs—heating, cooling, insurance, water, and so on
- I imagine that many of them – the newer ones for sure – have some sort of a mortgage to pay the cost of the building construction
- I imagine that most of them have salaried employees – the megachurches for sure, but possibly the smaller ones as well. Likely the minister draws a salary of some sort.
- they don’t pay property taxes
To me, it seems like the overhead – just for buildings and personnel – must be huge, and it’s repeated at each one of the congregations.
Could these funds be better used if congregations merged and lowered their overhead, and made use of the funds to help church members and the world at large?