I ask the question “How much church can you get for minimum wage?” not to suggest that low-waged workers should be segregated into their own parishes, but consider the proportional sacrifices and ability to give.
I routinely advocate for the formation of new churches: to keep up with population growth, to replace those declining and defunct, and engage with under-represented groups of people. But this doesn’t mean we have the same level of resources we did in the 1980s or 1940s (or 1880s or 1640s.)
One down side of a secularizing culture is that it’s harder to make a case for funding a religious endeavor, unless, perhaps there’s some attendant ethnic or cultural reason. And with a trend of declining wealth, stagnant wages and increasing student debt, the people who are left to contribute are likely to have less to spare.
We’re coming out of church culture of big asks, big sacrifices and big capital projects. But that just doesn’t seem realistic — certainly not in the same way — in the future.
Now, we look at millions of America who are just keeping body and soul together. The churches have to prove their value; double so with new ones.
So, how much church can you get for minimum wage? And more importantly, how will they work? And what will they do?
The church, in its history, has been impoverished, tested, challenged and troubled. I can survive, even prosper. But how?