Yesterday, Matt Miofsky, pastor at The Gathering in St. Louis, MO linked this article from the New York Times on his Twitter account about Jewish Communities around the country offering financial incentives for families to relocate to their community and worship in their synagogue. It seems that some areas with a dwindling Jewish population are encouraging families to move to their areas- especially since the idea of moving back to Israel is becoming less and less an option.
Transferred to a Christian context- would a church (would your church?) consider paying families to move to your community and worship in your church? Is this such a far-fetched idea?
For this to truly work in the Church- I think it would have to be done for missional purposes (when I say missional, I’m talking about a move to a community to intentionally and incarnationally live out the mission and ministry of the church and of the Kingdom- and yes, I know every church should be doing that, but can we agree that not every church does?). I can imagine something like this working in an urban church where there is a congregation with some vitality left or leadership with vision for a new ministry the emerging generations to offer incentives to attract people/families to live missionally in the city with their neighbors. There are families and systems in place to provide families and leadership in church plants where families commit to a year or two of worship/leadership in the church to help get it established and then they can return to their home church or stay at the plant. This is not that much different. (Of course, this conversation depends on a church having financial ability to offer incentives, or business men/woman who can help provide jobs or other incentives)
What do you think? Should churches offer incentives for families to relocate and join their community? Would you consider relocating to be part of a church community to further the ministry there? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.