First, the Hanster pointed to this wonderfilled story where at Lighthouse Church of All Nations YOU COULD WIN $500 dollars if your seat number is drawn from a bag during the service. Two other lucky contestants congregants each win $250.
(Pastor) Willis concedes the cash prize is a gimmick to fill the pews. But he's unapologetic about the plan, because it's working. On a typical Sunday, his church draws about 1,600 people to its three Sunday services. But since the money giveaway started, about five weeks ago, the congregation has grown to about 2,500 each week, he said. The money for the giveaway comes from the church offering. [emphasis added]
Meanwhile, friends 'n' neighbors, in that severly underchurched area, known as Dallas/Fort Worth, First Baptist in Dallas is building "a $130 million expansion featuring a 3,000-seat worship center." [via] And one of the important things being solved by this $130 million expansion, PARKING!
Q: Will parking be improved?
A: Parking is an absolute priority in the plan.
Oh. Oh. And they've got a glowing cross, with a shallow pool, for…? I guess it's to remind them of Golgotha… or maybe not.
At the heart of the campus will be a towering stone water tower topped with a luminescent cross. The shallow pool at the bottom will be surrounded by green space, providing a common area for downtown residents and guests.
ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS. Are you people out of your frakin' minds.
Let me put this into perspective. I have a friend (from Texas no less) who builds 800 seater churches in East Africa for $60,000 US – with the local parishioners coming up with between 25 and 30% of that budget. (The church building budget when Imbi and I had our class in Kenya produce a video for them back in '02 was $50,000). They also build schools, orphanages and hospitals for the same kind of reasonable prices – using all East African labour and materials.
Which means, for one GREEN 3,000 seater church in the truly underserved Dallas market, we could build over TWO THOUSAND 800 seater churches in East Africa. First Baptist's decision makes complete sense to me – especially when you consider,
The design is filled with messages about our church. The glass, the water, the light and the spaciousness of the plan speak of openness, transparency and spiritual refreshment. In a way, the glass walls have an evangelistic effect: people walking by have a view in from the street and feel drawn in. The glass also unifies the architecture of the church by extending the aesthetic started by the Criswell Center, which was built in 2006, and thus capitalizes on our $50 million investment in that multi-purpose facility. As for long-term cost, modern technologies allow vast use of glass with surprising energy efficiency.
One might think all these asshats clowns took me seriously when I wrote this.