. . . posts on faith and life
I’m not talking about owning as oppose to renting (or borrowing). I’m talking about the fact that any local church property belongs to the organization, and not the local fellowship. A pastor recently suggested to me that this was one of the things that needed to change. My response was basically: (1) I don’t think that will happen, (2) I’m not convinced it should happen.
Now, this debate rarely makes a huge difference unless there is a split from the organization. If a pastor and/or church wants to cut its affiliation with the organization they are free to go, but their property remains fully CoG. I have known of several circumstances where this happened, both in the USA and abroad. In every situation I thought it was very fortunate that the property stayed with the organization. Of course, I guess it was easy for me see it that way. After all, I have stayed with the organization and in some sense that means the property had stayed with me. But even having a little self awareness there, on some of those situations it was clear that we had a “conman” that was trying to steal multi-million dollar property.
I thought those stories would make my pastor friend think twice. However, I don’t think it did. His response was that he knew that such situations existed, that he thought they were the exception, and that he thought the organization should ‘cut it’s losses’ in those circumstances. He feels like we will probably get burned every now and then. But he also believes that allowing congregations to make their own choice about staying or leaving, even if it could come at a significant cost to us, would ultimately create a healthier spiritual environment, changing what pastors and others currently perceive to be a controlling ethos in our structure. That really got me thinking. I think I agree with him. I wonder what others think?