I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about what others think the early Christian church might have looked like. The Bible is a great source for insight into the early church. Oddly, it doesn’t seem today’s church (regardless of religion) models the early church very well. It might not even model it at all.
Imagine this… Suppose Jesus got off the plane in your home town with the intent to start a church. What would He need? High on the list will be money. It is said it costs about $200,000 to properly launch a new church these days. So, Jesus will need deep pockets or will have to sell off some of the cattle He owns on a thousand hills.
Then, Jesus will need some followers. It is common knowledge, new church plants are made up of people from other churches so Jesus will have to fish in some other clergy’s pond for some experienced fish. Preferably, He will find some people who are experienced in church planting. Likely, Jesus will want a mentor so He be sure to do it right.
Jesus is pretty good with spreadsheets, so he figures on probably a $12,000 / mo. overhead for the building and salaries. After all, the people have to congregate somewhere and the pastors need to be paid. Kinda working backwards through the math, he figures 20% of the people give 80% of the money. That means he needs about 300 folks to break even on His business model. This stresses Jesus a little bit, because He is unsure how quickly He will be able to ramp up and have the income exceed the outgo.
Just to hedge His bets, He makes contact with the national religious organization who is willing to loan Him a good chunk of startup cash. The cash comes with interest and reporting strings and performance bogies to meet. Jesus figures He is good for it and will be looking for God to send some cash healthy donors. Some refer to these type of people as “angels”. I don’t know.
Are you bored yet or are you offended? Either way, I think I have made my point. I don’t think this is the way Jesus would start a church. Have you forgotten? We are the church?
If you were Jesus, how would you start a Church? “Stop what you are doing and follow me”, comes to mind.