(to be said like Dr. Evil)
If you don’t feel like reading the whole post, at least skip down to where I talk about starting a non-profit organization.
It was reported today that Los Angeles has the most millionaires in the country.
See story here or here.
I think this has profound effects on the life of ministry and the purpose of the church (in LA).
At this point in my life I am pretty committed to living in LA for a while and subsequently that means that I will do ministry within this setting.
Doing ministry in LA is hard. The fragmented culture, the drive for success and money, not to mention the vast amount of land that LA county covers. If you look at the google map for the city (linked above as Los Angeles) or this map (which shows the boundaries of counties), I just like Google since you can zoom and play around with the map, you can see it covers quite a LARGE geographical area and has upwards of 10 million people in it.
Let’s do some simple math. If there are 262,800 millionaires divided by the 10 million people that live in LA that leaves us with 2.628% of the people in LA being millionaires.
Granted many of the people work in the entertainment industry, that still leaves room for the successful business people, the people who win the lotto and people who inherit a lot of money. Which means there’s a good chance you know a millionaire or that one goes to the church you attend.
How does all this relate to church life you ask?
Well maybe it doesn’t. And maybe it does.
When we think about these statistics, it gives me hope and yet it brings despair.
It brings me hope, that people have much to give, and we even as a city could solve many problems in the world in the name of Christ. There should be no need to have people going hungry on our streets or in any other nation. We should be able to provide health care and housing for everyone. We should be able to fund micro-loans to people in 3rd world nations. The potential for good is endless.
It brings much despair, because the roots of greed have entangled the hearts of those who have much. And the message of Christ is suffering in our city.
Even if every millionaire in the county had only a million dollars, and we took 1% of each persons money then we would have a sum of 2 billion 628 million dollars.
Wow. Imagine the use of TWO AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS towards helping people.
That’s only if the millionaires had one million each. Let’s just say each millionaire had 2 million each (still far below what I assume is the actual total worth of all the millionaires in LA), at 1% of their total worth, we would have FIVE BILLION 256 MILLION DOLLARS.
I’ll stop there, I think I might break my calculator if I go any further.
I think you begin to see my point.
The question remains. How do we reach this part of the world for Christ?
How does the local church untie not only the believers in LA but every man, woman and child to help solve the problems of the world.
Are we THAT egocentric that we don’t think we can make a difference?
I have to stop and question us as Christians. Are we setting the example? Are we leading the charge in the fight against hunger? The fight for shelter? The fight for health care for all? The fight to liberate those oppressed around the world?
The time has come for churches in LA to start REALLY doing something. I know this statement will chaff some people the wrong way. But like I’ve said before, I make blanket statements, because sometimes it’s the easiest way to communicate.
I think that if we as churches really are committed to living a Christ centered way then there shouldn’t be poverty in LA. There shouldn’t be families who can’t eat. There shouldn’t be people who put off life saving surgeries and pre-natal care and regular check-ups because they can’t afford them.
We have the resources. That is clearly evident. Do we have the desire to see this become a reality?
Are we living our lives in such a way that shows that we are fully committed to the mandate to take care of the poor and widows and those who cannot fend for themselves?
I can’t answer for you.
I want the local church to take responsibility for it’s neighborhood. Just the 10 blocks surrounding your church. Nothing more. No need to go to the slums or the other part of town. 10 blocks. Every person, every house, every apartment, every store. The people who live and work in a 10 block radius. That should keep you plenty busy.
Get to know these people. Build relationships. No need to “evangelize” them. Just know them and love them. If they need diapers, buy them diapers. If they need repairs to their car, partner with a local mechanic and find ways to get them a discount, or have the church pay for the repairs. If they need food, I’m sure there’s a grocery store within 10 blocks, talk to the manager.
THIS IS THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH. Not sunday, not bible study, not outreach, not sermons, not potlucks, but LOVE. Unconditional love.
On a side note. I’ve been kicking this idea around in my head. I want to start a non-profit organization. The idea behind this is knowing how much major motion pictures cost to make and gross, I would love to see us harness the financial power of these movie studios to do good.
I would love to start a organization that received 1% of either the cost to make a movie or 1% of the income grossed from movies. I’d even settle for 1/2 of 1%. That isn’t much when you think that movies cost between 10 million to 200 million to produce and take in as much. Hopefully we could market this idea to studios as a way to seem charitable or even look good (I know that’s not the point but you have to pitch it somehow) and maybe even slap a logo on each movie showing it’s part of the 1% club or something. We then use the money raised to fund projects that help people. Let’s crunch some numbers. At 1% of the cost of making a movie at a 10 million dollar budget that would be 100,000 dollars. I’d even settle for the .5% of 50,000 dollars. And 10 million is a cheap movie. I think it could work. The world is hungry to help, note responses after recent disasters. And those weren’t just “christian” people.
Anyone know how to start a non-profit and/or knows the inside workings of movie studios???
I’m serious about this. I’d like to make it happen. Please email me if you are seriously interested.
There’s a lot to think about here.
We still have a lot to think about if we want to effectively minister to the city of Los Angeles. It may be time for some new methods and a new way of evaluating results. Results DO NOT EQUAL church attendance. Sharing Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean mentioning his name. Getting people to love God may be just showing them love in a city that is more focused on itself than anything else.
Pray for LA. Partner with me to make a difference in a place where God is hovering above as well as dwelling in the cracks.
er="0" /> Los+Angeles church emerging+church poverty wealth millionaire non-profit missional+church