Churches Providing Social Housing

Monday, July 19, 2021

Written by Alan Vink

Categories: Gospel and Culture

Comments: 0


Good Morning and Welcome to this week’s Gospel and Culture update, by Alan Vink
Churches Providing Social Housing

Monday 19th July 2021

Churches Providing Social Housing

POV. This Report is not before time. For years National Church Leaders have been asking successive Governments to do more to fix our social problems all the while sitting on billions of dollars of assets (including cash reserves). This has lacked credibility.

Now a hard hitting Anglican report called He waka eke noa has highlighted the need for Churches to make better use of their wealth. It is stirring the $20b pot.

I find this issue quite a conundrum.

  1. I see no teaching or model in the New Testament that Churches should be owning vast amounts of land and buildings. The early church after the Day of Pentecost met in homes and in public buildings. There is no mandate to ‘own’ church buildings let alone invest in the market like any other commercial firm or business. I just don’t see it. That said, I agree that neither does the Bible teach that you shouldn’t own land and buildings. So go figure!
  2. After 2000 years of church life we have ended up in a situation where churches are now wealthy land owners. Many church properties are sitting on prime real estate. For example, here in Raglan where I live four churches own about (my estimate) $8m worth of church property for probably about 250 weekly worshippers. Think about it, that is about $32,000 ‘building overhead’ per attendee for perhaps 2 hours of use per week. How can that be justified?
  3. If you were to add the net worth of the Catholics, the Anglicans, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptists, all the Pentecostals and all the Independents, the Christian church sector in NZ would have to be worth north of $20billion. It may well be closer to $30b.
  4. This is saying nothing about an army of property specialist personnel who attend our churches many of whom will provide their expertise at mates rates or even pro-bono.
  5. Then there are the ‘Christian’ organisations who have a lot of expertise in this space notably Vision West and Habitat for Humanity and a church owned registered bank called Christian Savings.
  6. Now that we own so much (rightly or wrongly) it is high time that we ask the question, how can we leverage our assets and people to help fix the social and affordable housing crisis that New Zealand now finds itself in?

You can find the report here published yesterday here.

Alan Vink is currently the Executive Director for LeadershipWorx. Prior to this role he has been the Executive Director of Willow Creek Association NZ (WillowNZ), a Baptist pastor (23 years), Bible College teacher, and church consultant.

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