Strength in numbers
It’s really no different than any other day, but the start of a new year tends to throw people into a state of introspection. All it really does it cause an increase in calendar sales and scribble marks on checks, assuming anyone really uses those anymore.
But as I was thinking of a few things I’d like to get done this year, I became aware that KEEN-17 TV in Las Vegas had stopped broadcasting on Cox Cable due to the high fees that had to be paid. The reason: Funding. Big surprise there, right? Maybe not, but when you start to consider the numbers involved, it seems odd that this should be the case.
It’s estimated that there are some 350 Christian churches in the greater Las Vegas area, more if you count the ones that follow other faiths. But for the purpose of this discussion, we’ll just stick with the ones that should have a vested interest in a broadcast endeavor of this nature.
So the question is: What could these 350 churches do together that could impact the city of Las Vegas? And at what level would they have to be committed?
To start, we need to do a little number crunching. As a former athlete and sports writer, I’m a statistics geek at heart. So it quickly occurred to me that if every church committed to give KEEN-17 just $100 a month, that’s $35,000 and the station’s daily operating cost of about $1,000 a day would be easily covered and then some.
Now think about that for a second. $100. It isn’t that much really. If a church has any tither’s at all, it’s likely that at least one of them is giving $100 a month. I mean, that’s barely enough for a family of four to go to the movies twice a month in this town, and that’s BEFORE soda and popcorn.
So if the 350 churches of Sin City were to come together as one on just ONE point, what a huge impact the group could have on the population they say they are so desperate to reach.
But really, couldn’t these churches give $500 a month as a group to five ministries that could change the city big time? I think they could.
So let’s say the first $100 is going to Christian television. Done. How about we target a few more needs of the community and places where people of faith ought to be focusing their attention? Feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, providing shelter for the homeless and reaching out to those with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Catholic Charities is currently the biggest outreach to the hungry in our city. Christmas Day my family and I took up the challenge of helping them prepare their holiday meal for the homeless as well as filling grocery bags for their daily program. We spent a few hours there, did some good work and had a great time.
The organization provides about 1,400 bags of groceries a week to people in need of food to feed their families. They get some donations from the USDA and then a discounted rate from a local food chain. I saw what goes in those bags and while it certai9nly helps, it would be tough to get by on just that as a family. And I’m fairly certain there are more than 1,400 families in need in Las Vegas.
So what is another 20% of our $500 went to Catholic Charities? Not a bad idea.
I don’t know right off who provides clothing and shelter for the needy in Vegas, but I’m sure someone does. And if they don’t, then $70,000 a month to handle those task ought to go a long way, if not get the project started in earnest.
So we’re left with a final $35K to reach the lost. And brother, there are a ton in this place. A city like Vegas doesn’t get the nickname Sin City for nothing, and it certainly doesn’t help when the city promotes the motto “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” So what to do?
Entertainment of various kinds just might be the trick. Bring in some big name Christian bands once or twice a month, fund some major theatrical productions, anything that gets the message of Christ out to the masses.
Currently there is an organization called OneVoice that is attempting to do just this. Eddie Conover leads this group, offering small productions with a big-time flair in such offerings as “The Las Freakshow” (a Halloween alternative to the typical fare of that season) and a reboot of “Godspell”. he is also working on this season’s production of “The Passion Play”. $35K for a year would be enough to shoot this ministry into the stratosphere, but getting that on a monthly basis would allow it to do things that would rival some of the major theatrical productions that line the strip’s many stages.
So that’s what 350 churches could do if they simply banded together.
But think of this: Each of those churches likely has at least 100 members, meaning there are at least 35,000 Christians that could take up the fight on their own. Some pastors and church boards may not see the value in making such a commitment, but what if even a portion of the members themselves did? The possibilities are endless.
One of our big issues in the United States today is that we battle over just how much government should or should not be helping the needy. I don’t believe that God ever intended that to be the job of government, he intended it for the church. The church should be striving to serve those needs, reaching out and showing the love of Christ to those that are in need – both physically and spiritually. But as we hear the statistic on tithing repeated over and over (90% of the tithes come from 10% of the congregation), the government has little choice but to try and do something. And because they are so worried about themselves and the next election cycle, they rarely get even the simplest of tasks accomplished.
Those guys wouldn’t last 10 minutes stuffing bags at Catholic Charities.
Christians, it’s time to ask your church leadership exactly what they are doing with the money that they are entrusted with. We all know what the needs are, and as such we are accountable for what happens out there when we don’t take actions to correct it.
Changing Las Vegas for Christ is a numbers game. The questions is, are you ready to play?