by Johnny A. Ramirez
Crosswalk, a thriving congregation in Redlands, California, has decided to get out of the real estate business. More than 1,000 people worship at Crosswalk Church each Sabbath. Church leadership can pay the bills, but have concluded that renting a building the church generally uses only on Saturday is not a judicious use of funds. On June 30, Crosswalk senior pastor, Michael Knecht, announced during his sermon that the church will save about $288,000 on leasing costs each year if it rents just one day per week. That chunk of the budget can be better redirected to, as Knecht phrased it, "fruit production." For a church that prioritizes people, "the numbers don't make sense," Knecht said during his address. Knecht explained that Crosswalk's goal is to trim its operating costs to just 14 percent of its total budget, or to about $100,000. The church would funnel the money saved to sustainable ministries in the church, community and overseas, such as the church's project to provide fresh well water, maternity care and polio relief for people in Gimbi, Ethiopia. "The time for building concrete ... monuments to God is perhaps over," wrote one Crosswalk church member on a feedback forum on the church's Web site. "Storing our treasure in heaven through supporting others is the best investment strategy a church can make," the message stated.
Crosswalk is quite fortunate in being able to afford its lease. Many dwindling Adventist congregations reside in buildings beyond their means and find themselves more and more becoming property managers just to meet expenses. This newest change, to move beyond plywood and plaster, cements the reputation of this congregation as being on the cutting edge of church innovations.
What excites me about Crosswalk is that Senior Pastor Michael Knecht, with his focus on missions overseas, perspicuity asks what it means for Crosswalk to be a church in the world. Most congregations in Crosswalks position would look to build their own campus. It really is quite a bold statement of vision and purpose.
Is your church spending too much of its money sustaining itself at the expense of missions and ministries?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4146