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    What is your church worth?

    What is your church worth?

    A University of Pennsylvania professor and a secular research group decided to try to put a dollar value on churches.  They came up with a list of 54 categories and attempted to calculate what they described as the "halo effect" of 12 churches (10 protestant, a Catholic church, and a Jewish synagogue).  Here's how they did it, according to

    They added up the money generated by weddings and funerals, festivals, counseling programs, preschools, elder care. They tallied the salaries of staff and the wages of roofers, plumbers, even snow shovelers. They put dollar signs on intangibles, too, such as helping people find work and teaching children to be socially responsible.  They even measured the diameter of trees on church campuses.

    The end result:  for all 12 churches, Over $50 million in annual economic benefits.

    Here is some more from the article:

    The valuation for 300-member Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Episcopal Church in Queen Village, for instance, was a middle-of-the-road $1.65 million. By contrast, the figure for Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Roman Catholic parish in Kensington, with 7,000 congregants, a parochial school, and a community center, was $22.44 million.

    The numbers, culled from clergy and staff interviews, "just blew us away," said Robert Jaeger, executive director of the research group Partners for Sacred Places.

    The study is not yet published. When it is, the robust sums are likely to be challenged, predicted lead author Ram Cnaan, a Penn professor of social policy.

    Some valuations were drawn from existing academic research, such as $19,600 for pastoral counseling that prevents a suicide and $18,000 for an averted divorce. Cnaan himself arrived at other values - for example, $375 on "teaching pro-social values" to a young child.

    This is an interesting study.  I think it's important for churches to bring economic advantages to their community.

    But what's not even a part of this study is the spiritual advantage your church brings to your community?

    Have you ever stopped to consider how valuable your church is to your community from an economic standpoint?  How would your church do in a study like this?  And how would your church do in the more important study of the spiritual value you bring to your community?

    It's something to think about...

    You can read more here...





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