$62 Million + $870K in Annual Property Taxes to help less than 15% of current Church Plants. Is this really the best strategy to turn around our 30 year low in church planting?
The North American Mission Board’s spending on Church Planting has almost doubled, with an average spend of $100,000 being spent per church plant. Yet, church plants continue to decline with the last three being the lowest in 30 years.
Could it have at least something to do with NAMB’s crazy, wasteful property scheme that, at its best, would help less than 15% of church plants?
In 2014 NAMB stated that they had set aside money, partially that they obtained through selling the vast majority of their loans to churches, to buy $62,000,000 of residential property for church planters. As they envisioned it, church planters would stay there 2 years and then move.
This strategy though has three major issues: Its limited benefit, annual price tag, and practicality:
1. Limited benefit:
a. At MAX, this would be spending MILLIONS of dollars to help ONLY 14.6% of current church planters (8.4% of needed church planters). In 2017 we planted 691 churches. These planters according to NAMB stay there for two years, although a few have stayed longer than two years. Based on the 50 properties we found across the country, NAMB spent on average $304,255.42 per house (not including any fees). That means with a budget a $62,000,000 at that same rate, NAMB could buy 203 properties assuming no fees. Because planters are supposed to live there for two years, that means out of the 1,382 churches planted in a two year period, NAMBs $62,000,000 in expense could only help 203 of them, or 14.6%.
2. Annual Price tag:
a. Besides the $62,000,000 up front cost for buying the homes, NAMB must pay taxes on these properties despite their 501c3 status. We know because NAMB has already paid an estimated $628,140 just on the 50 properties we have found. If NAMB does purchase $62,000,000 in properties, we could be paying over $870,000 in annual taxes based off what NAMB’s average tax they currently pay on the properties we have found.
a. How often will NAMB have to sell and move houses in an area? If Church Planters are trying to reach those in their community, it makes sense that they would reach those next doors. What happens after the two years and they move another pastor in? Does he reach same neighbors as the previous one? Or will they have to sell that house and buy another house for this church planter?
Even though NAMB has spent on average $100,000 per church plant, the reality is that very few are receiving hundreds of thousands in support from NAMB in the form of properties, while others receive very little.
Which brings us to the other big concerns with this strategy: Who is getting all the money from NAMB and who are these properties going to?
We will cover more of that in Part 3 along with an updated property list with price and taxes.