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Church Life

How Valuable is a Church to a Community?

As we approach an increasingly hostile environment for Christianity, we will need to be able to articulate how Christians bless an area. Toronto churches renting schools are facing a huge rental increase and are asking for prayer. You can read about it here and here.

My comment on the blog was this:

One underlying issue that we have found in the Northeast of the U.S. is the question of the value of a local church. When cities are hardpressed they have started to look at churches. One way I approached it in the past in my letter to an editor was value added.

Christianity Today just had a very important graphic and statistical support for the value of a church. Here’s the intro:

“Does a congregation’s tax-exempt status outweigh the economic value it adds to its community? The University of Pennsylvania’s Ram Cnaan has long been searching for a specific answer. In a 1997 study, he found that urban congregations provide, on average, $140,000 worth of services annually. In 2009, Cnaan (who describes himself as nonreligious) revised his estimate to $476,663.24. Now he’s about to release an even more detailed pilot study focusing on 12 historic Philadelphia congregations, including First Baptist Church, whose annual value to the local economy Cnaan’s team places conservatively at $6,090,032 (nearly ten times its annual budget). “

The point is that we need to approach this not only just as a discrimination issue but an issue of, “Look at how much value we bring to our community. You don’t want to shut us down. We are helping you!”

The  link is here.

Update 2014, Christianity Today has moved the infographic but check out this article. Older article is here.

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