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Loren B. Mead served parishes in South Carolina and North Carolina before pursuing a national ministry, first with the innovative Project Test Pattern and then with The Alban Institute, which he founded in 1974. He is the author of a number of landmark books on congregations, including The Once and mostra'n més Future Church: Reinventing the Congregation for a New Mission Frontier and Transforming Congregations for the Future. mostra'n menys

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This little volume looks at the current financial state of the mainline church denominations. (Well, current when it was published in 1998, anyway.) It doesn't look good. As membership (and income) has declined, the powers that be have been reluctant to cut back on programs, so now most denominations aren't too fiscally healthy. That's hardly news to me--as a member of small congregations for the past couple of decades, I've come to see budget woes as the status quo. So that part of the book was rather boring. What I did enjoy and what makes me want to hang onto this book is Mr. Mead's take on the social background behind it. We Christians--at least us American, mainline denomination Christians--have a twisted relationship with money. When Jesus talks about how difficult it is for the rich to enter heaven, we meekly nod and conveniently ignore the fact that as Americans we are rich. We want to think we are above mammon, yet as Mr. Mead points out, we're all money addicts. So most of us in the church have a hard time dealing with, or even talking straight about, money. The book offers no quick, easy solutions, alas. But then the first step for overcoming addiction, they say, is to admit you have a problem. In that, Mr. Mead is definitely pointing in the right direction.
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Hamburgerclan | Nov 15, 2007 |

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