Doug Rea, the pastor at Connections Albany, is one of the most genuine men I’ve ever met, in any walk of life – much less as a Christian and pastor. Considering the company I’ve kept over the years, that is truly one of the highest compliments I can give a person, and I mean every word of it.
Much like other pastors I’ve looked up to – such as Jeff Hill at Calvary Baptist in Ball Ground, Chris Altman and John Sullivan somewhere in northwest Georgia, and even Albany’s Tony Haefs of Gillionville Baptist – Doug has made me think about things in a way I really never had before, and I will be forever grateful for that.
Doug leads a church that is so organic and genuine that they don’t even like to use the word “church” to describe themselves due to the word’s abuse over the last couple of millenia. So much like Ted Dekker’s “Circle“, they call themselves simply a “Gathering”. They don’t have a “sanctuary” or even church offices – their entire building is one room, in the same building as Charlie B’s – which led to some interesting times with the Albany City Commission, which Tom wrote about back in April. (Hard to believe, but that post was actually among Tom’s first!)
Doug and Connections challenge traditional Christianity, and turn much of it on its head. I plan to interview him soon – more than likely AFTER Election Day – about these, but he condensed the basics down into a few twitter comments to me a couple of weeks ago, and given our recent discussions in other thread, I thought I would bring them out for discussion here:
These tweets specifically regard the tax exempt status of churches:
#1 – govt and church should not be in business together
#2 – obviously they are not using the tax code 2 benefit society -they’d never build those cathedrals if they had to pay taxes on em
#3 – it’d halt the tax benefits for “religious” organizations that are not US friendly
I’ve talked to him a bit about this already, and one key thing he said sticks with me: Churches, like many “charities”, spend the vast majority of the money they bring in on salaries, buildings, and basically “looking good”. Meanwhile we have people starving in the streets because the church MIGHT spend 10% of its total revenues on actually reaching out to people.
So I put the questions out to y’all:
1) Should churches pay taxes?
2) What would happen if a church was treated just like any other business?