What do you think of churches who offer zero dollar transparency and no collective decision-making?

justme6272

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They belong to a network of churches called Calvary Chapel. They use 'boards' made up of people who don't even attend the church or live locally. It's whatever good-ole-boy network the head pastor wants to involve in his church. Every time you ask a question on what might happen, the answer is 'that's up to the (mysterious) board'. At the same time, they don't normally pressure people to give money, until this week, when the pastor said that if you don't tithe, you will suffer eventually. In the same sermon, the pastor will say he doesn't talk about money, then proceeds to talk about money. He does that quite often.

There is no formal church membership, and no one ever votes on anything. No budgets that people can see, no publication of salaries, or money taken in, or expenses. It is what it is, based on what the pastor and absentee 'board' decide to do. No one knows if they have millions in the bank, or barely get by, unless they make a major expenditure like adding a wing onto the church building, then obviously they had the money for that or else they borrowed it. You could 'invest your life' in a church for years, only to find out one day that they're in hock up to their ears and closing their doors. You get to find another church and start all over meeting people and donating time and money. I went through that once before and don't ever want to again. It was a small church with three elders who decided everything. It wasn't a Calvary Chapel church. But it seems like even mega-churches have gotten away from making finances public in 'business meetings.' I suspect they're taking in so much money, they don't want you to know how much since you might think 'they don't need any more right now' and stop giving. It's as if they want you to always think the church needs more money NOW when in fact they could have an endowment fund with megabucks in it, especially if it's an older church where generations of people have built up the assets. Only the secret society of insiders is privileged enough to see any numbers, and they're not talking.
 
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justme6272

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There are churches that are owned lock, stock and barrel by the pastor. There is no congregational input or oversight whatsoever. If you don't like it ---leave. It's the only option.
Isn't attending without giving money another option? I'm going to give enough to pay what I believe is my share of the A/C and heat, which is just a wild guess, right or wrong, (probably wrong) until they open up their books, which they'll never do. They would sooner say 'keep your money' than to let their secrets out of the bag and subject to scrutiny.

Since the time this original post was made, I've come to learn it's far worse than I imagined. My suspicions have been confirmed. It's called the IRS 990 form for non-profits, and that's just the tip of the iceberg when you consider 'accompanying documentation' which they are even less willing to show you, since you don't need to know why the pastor gets a $60K salary along with a $50K expense account to go with it. And that's just the pastor, aka the CEO of the non-profit. And they continue to appeal for money with tens of millions of unspent funds in the coffers, especially if they have a radio or TV ministry. Listeners donate $10 here and $20 there and don't have a clue, all in the name of.... 'your generosity keeps us on the air, saving more souls.'
 
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Emmylouwho

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They belong to a network of churches called Calvary Chapel. They use 'boards' made up of people who don't even attend the church or live locally. It's whatever good-ole-boy network the head pastor wants to involve in his church. Every time you ask a question on what might happen, the answer is 'that's up to the (mysterious) board'. At the same time, they don't normally pressure people to give money, until this week, when the pastor said that if you don't tithe, you will suffer eventually. In the same sermon, the pastor will say he doesn't talk about money, then proceeds to talk about money. He does that quite often.

There is no formal church membership, and no one ever votes on anything. No budgets that people can see, no publication of salaries, or money taken in, or expenses. It is what it is, based on what the pastor and absentee 'board' decide to do. No one knows if they have millions in the bank, or barely get by, unless they make a major expenditure like adding a wing onto the church building, then obviously they had the money for that or else they borrowed it. You could 'invest your life' in a church for years, only to find out one day that they're in hock up to their ears and closing their doors. You get to find another church and start all over meeting people. I went through that once before and don't ever want to again. It was a small church with three elders who decided everything. It wasn't a Calvary Chapel church. But it seems like even mega-churches have gotten away from making finances public in 'business meetings.' I suspect they're taking in so much money, they don't want you to know how much since you might think 'they don't need any more right now' and stop giving. It's as if they want you to always think the church needs more money NOW when in fact they could have an endowment fund with megabucks in it, especially if it's an older church where generations of people have built up the assets. Only the secret society of insiders is privileged enough to see any numbers, and they're not talking.
Personally, I believe religious organizations should be subject to taxes. If that was the case in the USA, I think Calvary chur
 
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Emmylouwho

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They belong to a network of churches called Calvary Chapel. They use 'boards' made up of people who don't even attend the church or live locally. It's whatever good-ole-boy network the head pastor wants to involve in his church. Every time you ask a question on what might happen, the answer is 'that's up to the (mysterious) board'. At the same time, they don't normally pressure people to give money, until this week, when the pastor said that if you don't tithe, you will suffer eventually. In the same sermon, the pastor will say he doesn't talk about money, then proceeds to talk about money. He does that quite often.

There is no formal church membership, and no one ever votes on anything. No budgets that people can see, no publication of salaries, or money taken in, or expenses. It is what it is, based on what the pastor and absentee 'board' decide to do. No one knows if they have millions in the bank, or barely get by, unless they make a major expenditure like adding a wing onto the church building, then obviously they had the money for that or else they borrowed it. You could 'invest your life' in a church for years, only to find out one day that they're in hock up to their ears and closing their doors. You get to find another church and start all over meeting people. I went through that once before and don't ever want to again. It was a small church with three elders who decided everything. It wasn't a Calvary Chapel church. But it seems like even mega-churches have gotten away from making finances public in 'business meetings.' I suspect they're taking in so much money, they don't want you to know how much since you might think 'they don't need any more right now' and stop giving. It's as if they want you to always think the church needs more money NOW when in fact they could have an endowment fund with megabucks in it, especially if it's an older church where generations of people have built up the assets. Only the secret society of insiders is privileged enough to see any numbers, and they're not talking.
Personally, I believe all churches should be subject to taxes. If this was the case in the USA, Calvary Chapel would have probably been long gone, if not ever even created. There’s big money to be made from religion!
 
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justme6272

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Personally, I believe all churches should be subject to taxes. If this was the case in the USA, Calvary Chapel would have probably been long gone, if not ever even created. There’s big money to be made from religion!
I'm not looking for taxes, but if there were, it would be taxes on the net, after expenses, just like a corporation. The pastor's cell phone, car allowance, and junkets to conferences in Hawaii, Israel, or the Virgin Islands, etc. etc. etc. reduce the net. For non-profits, the employee pockets get padded with salary and benefits (possibly including the pastor's wife) before anything leftover increases the net asset total. They could have billions in assets and radio/TV ministries in every country in every language on earth and still pass the plate. Enough is never enough.
 
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Emmylouwho

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I'm not looking for taxes, but if there were, it would be taxes on the net, after expenses, just like a corporation. The pastor's cell phone, car allowance, and junkets to conferences in Hawaii, Israel, or the Virgin Islands, etc. etc. etc. reduce the net. For non-profits, the employee pockets get padded with salary and benefits (possibly including the pastor's wife) before anything leftover increases the net asset total. The could have billions in assets and radio/TV ministries in every country in every language on earth and still pass the plate. Enough is never enough.
Yeah, and if they had to pay taxes, everything would have to be transparent and on the table. Many American churches would almost certainly shut down.
 
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justme6272

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Personally, I believe all churches should be subject to taxes. If this was the case in the USA, Calvary Chapel would have probably been long gone, if not ever even created. There’s big money to be made from religion!
I fail to see how paying taxes would stop them. To me, it just means their current stack of assets would total $15 million instead of $20 million for example, but they're still getting filthy rich off ministry.
 
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Emmylouwho

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I fail to see how paying taxes would stop them. To me, it just means their current stack of assets would total $15 million instead of $20 million for example, but they're still getting filthy rich off ministry.
Who knows? It’s certainly worth a try!
 
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