Can Churches and Missions be Funded like the NFL?

The NFL generated approximately $14 billion in revenue last year, which is up about 215% from the $6.5 billion it generated as recently as 2005. Most of this growth has been fueled by television — in fact, it is estimated that 2/3 or $9.4 billion of that revenue was generated by TV, meaning that your $300 club ticket isn’t all that important.

www.stanway.org

To put this in perspective, that club ticket — that probably gave you heartburn when you bought it — delivers as much significance to the NFL revenue pie as the average $60k/yr household pulling 1/10 of one cent from its employer(s).

Maybe the NFL, and all the other major professional sports leagues, are onto something. Maybe relying solely on butts in seats to generate revenue is a poor way to make money.

Before relating this to the Church, I want to make a few things clear.

  1. I am a firm believer in the Church and connecting with the body of Christ on a weekly basis, and do not believe that going to Church should be replaced by other channels — such as listening to sermons online. Full disclosure, with 3 kids under 3, illnesses and life in general keep us from being as diligent as we would like to be about in-person attendance.
  2. I do not think that the primary purpose of the Church should be to generate cash, but I am merely trying to point out that there may be ways to fund the Church and its other initiatives like missions in addition to tithes.

With only 17% of the population attending Church every Sunday, are we wasting the knowledge, passion, and life giving nature of Church on an embarrassingly small percentage people who need that insight, need that conviction, and need the spirit to fill and cleanse their soles on a weekly basis?

In a different sense, are we basically doing the equivalent of watching the Steelers/Patriots play on a high school football field in front of 1,000 people? Meaning, do we have something incredible, that people are craving every Sunday that we aren’t exposing to the masses? The NFL has done a good job of realizing that their product is something that millions of people want and have found ways to monetize that desire.

I’m not saying that I have the answer on how to do it yet, but what if we could package the content from Churches, serve it to those who want and need it (I’m not talking about posting sermons on a website, but combining the best minds in the world with the latest sophisticated technologies to figure out how to reach those who are lost in 2017), and build a new, massive revenue stream.

We wouldn’t do this to add marble flooring throughout Churches, serve free Starbucks at each service, or buy new Teslas for every Pastor — but if every Church in America had an extra $1 million every year, could they set up free Christian health clinics and help to solve some of our health care challenges? Could we set up more free Christian schools that deliver an excellent education to whoever needs it and immerse students in a Christian learning environment from an early age? Could we fund more brave people on missions to preach the Gospel in far away places (or even a few miles away)? Could we put more capital into the hands of those who dedicate their lives to living like Christ did?

(please ignore grammatical errors since I am posting on a daily basis)

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