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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Church & Economics

BBC News - Church plans to run bowling alley

This story tells of a church wanting to make an economic contribution to their community so it runs a bowling alley.  Of course there are jobs at the bowling alley itself, but there are other related jobs in the community -- equipment purchases and repairs, food service and vending, supply purchases, etc. Creative thinking.  As an added bonus the church gains credibility and visibility in the community.

I love this idea and have been thinking about it myself along the lines of a redemption center for bottles and cans.  In NY there is a 5¢ deposit paid on every can or bottle of beer or soft drink purchased.  After you have consumed the product you turn the bottle or can back in to a redemption center and get your nickle(s) back.  The redemption center returns the containers back to the companies they originated with them and gets about 7¢ — 5¢ for the customer and 2¢ for themselves, which adds up when you take in several million a year.

When I lived up north there was a non-profit for mentally disabled persons that ran a redemption center for them to work at.  It was a drive through: you put your bottles and cans in the trunk, pull up and open the trunk, workers take the cans and bottles and then several minutes later bring your money to you.  It gave meaningful work to persons who might not otherwise get it, a small income for the non-profit who cared for those persons and a great service to the public.

I have been thinking that needs to happen in the Syracuse area.  One of the churches or ministries that provides care to the refugee population needs to pick up on this idea.  It is an easy business to run and requires minimal skills.

Or a church/ministry in the small towns like Phoenix, Central Square, Parish, Cato-Meridian, Jordan-Elbridge, Marcellus, Chittenango, Constantia or some other community that has a difficult time providing a full-time salary to a pastor might use this to expand it's income, services and influence in the community.

In upstate NY where I live there are many small towns that were vibrant industrial places 75-100+ years ago with mills and other industry in them as they many are situated along the old Erie Canal or other waterways.  Those mills are now empty, the towns have become economically depressed and are searching for ways to reinvent themselves.  We need churches planted in them that incorporate into their mission the economic revival of their community.  Sure there is a need for benevolence that meets immediate needs for food, clothing and shelter but I believe the church can do more.  Why can't the church create jobs that train people to be entrepreneurs or with other skills that change the economic landscape of the community?  Maybe the church can be part of the braintrust that contributes towards a community's growth, health and revival?

I'm going to have to think awhile on this as to whether I can make a strong biblical argument for it.  But practically it helps people, provides an income and gives the organization added credibility when preaching the gospel.

Comments on "Church & Economics"


Blogger gchrv said ... (3:13 PM, February 04, 2010) : 

Would you help with this cause? time is of essence! PLEASE...

"To save one life is like saving the whole world!"

Please take a few moments and help save the life of Martin Grossman


We need your help today to save the life of Martin Grossman who is set to be executed on February 16th. We are only advocating that he not get the death penalty at this time. We are asking that the Governor take the time to hold a proper clemency hearing to determine if the Death Penalty is really appropriate in this case. This may not be easy for you to go out of your way to try and save the life of someone who took someone else’s life but we must do what is just and right and what the Bible teaches us is correct.

Read more: www.thepetitionsite.com/2/save-martin-grossman


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