Sunday, July 17, 2005

Lets see now...

I have millions of dollars - say $75 million - and I hold myself out to be a model of Christianity. What should I do with my money?

(A): Be a good steward of my money and make sure that all my needs are taken care of.
(B): Store up my treasures in heaven, not on Earth.
(C): Build the country's biggest church out of a former basketball arena
(D): Help feed, clothe, and medicate starving children across the globe or, if feeling really generous, give them some education too.

Well, if you're one Texas church, (C) is the correct answer. How lewd.

Does no one else see the hyprocrisy in building massive temples for the comfort of those who attend? Isn't Christianity about alleviating other's suffering, not making one's own life more convenient or comfortable? Guess what Christendom, building such massive churches in your own backyard is prima facie selfish in my book.

Now I've heard all the "we do it to minister" rhetoric, but lets be honest - that's crap. If you're so interested in ministering, why don't you invest in areas NOT in your backyard, a place where you can best minister to people by living up to the standards you champion at no additional cost?

Ask yourself: do we really need racqetball courts, gyms, basketball ARENAS, etc. to minister to people when all it would take half a world away is a loaf of bread, some medication, and a hug from someone that cares?


At 4:45 PM, Blogger Infission said...

I heard this story on the news today, but I didn't think much of it. I think your perspective is pretty much right on. The Mega Church phenomenon has REALLY caught on, and this is the most amazing example yet. My question: are the beautiful cathedrals in France and Italy aberrations? Maybe they are; but I don't want them to be. I love them. But if they aren't aberrations, what distinguishes them from modern Mega Churches - which surely don't cost more in today's dollars that did, eg, the Sistine Chapel.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Shane Raynor said...

I've been a big critic of churches tying up so much money in buildings. But the problem is, when we condemn Lakewood for their building, we condemn ourselves. How many of us attend churches that could be content with a more modest building? If you add them all up, I bet it would be a lot more money than Lakewood's 75 million. Lakewood makes us feel better about our own extravagance because we somehow think we're not going as far as them so we must be okay.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Revwilly said...

I don't suppose you know how much money Lakewood Church invests in ministry in the community and around the world do you? Why not find that out before you get all hyper about the money they spent on the building?

Here's what will happen at Lakewood: they will fill the building with more disciples and thus more people and money will come in for ministry and more and more people will get get saved and be served.

I know it's hard for you to believe that evangelicals can actually love people, but we do.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Infission said...

Revwilly, tell us about Lakewood's service programs. I'm very interested. We don't know how much they spend on service work. Educate us! I do think there are lots of evangelicals that care both about saving and about serving....

Shane and Revwilly: thanks for offering a different view. We don't get that often enough.

At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Richard said...

Just for the fun of it I've done some figuring. I attend a church that averages 225 in Sunday services. But for the sake of argument, I will boost it to an average of 250. Our facilities are worth an estimated 2 million, but since the facilities were built several years ago, I will simply assume 1 million in todays dollars (not to mention the 1.2 million we are preparing to spend on a new facility). We are a "first" church in the UMC so we can be multiplied many times over in small towns across the country.

Now, from what I read and hear, Lakewood averages 35,000 people in Sunday services. What I've done is figured out how much UMC churches have probably spent on facilities to minister to the same number of people each Sunday, based upon the size and expense of the church I attend. Granted, this is an inexact method, but I do think my church is pretty representative of any "FIRST UMC" in any small town. So here goes...

35,000/250 = 140

140 x $1,000,000 = $140,000,000

If we were to assume each church has an additional $200,000 in facilities (just for argument), we find the following:

140 x $1,200,000 = $168,000,000

Seems like your problem should be with the UMC. Lakewood is much more effective in spending than is our denomination!

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Houston. Lakewood Church is nothing more than a $95 million dollar temple for Joel Osteen's HUGE ego.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Angela Hodges said...

I didn't know a thing about Joel Osteen until I went to Google today, out of curiosity, and searched for information about him. That's how I happened upon this blog site, too. Well, this is in reference to the anonymous comment about Lakewood Church just being a temple for Joel's ego: when you go to his site, he's got his name "JOEL" in big letters at the top. When I downloaded the video for last week's message, the introduction ended with a picture of him and his wife...and the word "JOEL". He's got "An evening with JOEL" advertisements to buy tickets for, and a big "J" for the name JOEL as his logo, plus the menu on his site has "About JOEL" as the first link underneath "home".

Are we all idiots or what? I'm just wondering.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger CandiiMarie said...

I used to be a member of Lakewood, recently graduating from college out of state I returned home to find my church home of 20+ years... to be well, different. I left Lakewood b/c the church home I knew had changed and so had I. With a desire to find myself outside of the church my family attends, I left... but I digress... Lakewood is an awesome place to worship our Lord and Savior. There is nothing wrong with building a church that your congregation can afford. No one on this blog site has any idea why it was necessary to build this new "mega church." Lakewood was packing out 2 Sunday morning services... having to turn away people from the overflow that was overflowing. The Spanish service on Saturdays was also in abundance (taught by Marcos Witt)... not to mention Wed and Sun night services. And these were services I merely witnessed on my many visits back home from college. How dare anyone condemn or judge Lakewood or Joel, when they have tremendously influenced for the better Houston and the World. I believe that people who judge harshly Lakewood, is merely jealous of the success that God has given this church. Lakewood has sown good seed and is now harvesting great fruit, above and beyond anyones expectations. No one including Joel wanted to have to leave the church that his father established, but it had to be done to house the people that God placed there. Now in reference to, that's exactly what it is... there is a church website... maybe before you start to condemn his site you should know that it does not serve as lakewoods site. Although, think about it, people/ministers are typically more recognizable as representatives than the churches themselves, because they speak to people. Who knows the name of Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Shambach, Paula White, Joyce Myers, Crefflo Dollar, or Jesse Duplantis' churches... yeah that's what I thought... but you know these men and women of God, b/c they are awesome vehicles of the Word of God... and so is Joel... so stop hating and start praying that the Lord blesses your church with growth, b/c growth reflects souls saved... AMEN.

At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Meghan said...

I think what is much more important than the building they
have worship services in, is what is actually being preached. His messages are all THE SAME. They all sound identical. They don't teach us to focus on GOD, but ourselves and our happiness. He totally waters down any sort of gospel message. His message is like going to a therapy session and teaches us how to focus more on ourselves...our happiness... how we can have, me, me. Maybe someday He will not worry about himself and how people think of him, and he will teach a true, on-fire message of Jesus. Leading people to true repentance. That would mean, he would have to teach about sin (gasp!) which he has said over and over he doesnt want to talk about. He has alot to learn. We need to all pray for him.


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