"Nickels and Noses" - that is what mega churches need to fund their bloated budgets and pay their mega salaries.
And at Bellevue Baptist Church, for each nose that walks in the door on Sunday mornings, apparently they need 980 nickels to fund the operation.
And they put that "fast fact" in their bulletin a few Sundays ago, as you see above. $49 each person, every Sunday to operate, or 980 nickels per nose.
That is just plain weird, to even think in those terms - of how much money they need from each person who comes for worship. You can tell quite a bit about an organization by what metrics are important to them. What they calculate, what they measure, tells something about what they value. Bellevue wants you to come, but they really like the money you bring with you, and they hope they can get at least $49 for every hiney in the pew.
It is no wonder that a church whose pastor beats the sheep over their giving, is thinking in terms of how much money they need per head each Sunday. Bellevue pastor Steve Gaines consistently teaches that a Christian must fork over 10% of their gross income each week else they and their money are under a curse of God. He even tells them to not give 10% of your gross income means that everything you own is stolen goods. And he tells them they dare not designate how it is spent, that to be obedient to God Almighty they must give their 10% undesignated.
The reference to $49 per head reminded me of the "Pie Charts and Giving Units" article I wrote back in September 2008, criticizing Mac Brunson's use of the words "giving units" to refer to his members (in fact it was the last article I posted before John Blount asked FBC Jax deacon and discipline committee member Hinson to open up a criminal investigation into this blog). Brunson complained that if the "5000 giving units" of the church would tithe on their average $50,000 salary, the church could rake in $25 million instead of the paltry $15 million they have to scrape by with. One of the funnier moments of the lawsuit depositions last summer is when my attorney was deposing FBC administrator John Blount, Blount admitted that after that article was published, the church decided not to refer anymore to people in the church as "giving units".
But maybe Bellevue is on to something. Perhaps it is not too much longer before mega churches start charging admission at the door. Perhaps Bellevue can issue a bar-coded bracelet for all tithing giving units that can be scanned by the ushers at the door of the sanctuary.
If you're not a tither and thus a robber and a freeloader, you have to pay your $49 at the door, else go home and watch it on the Internet.