Are Churches Economically Consequential?
The big question I’ve been mulling around recently is this: Are churches economically consequential? Should they be? Look at the typical American church and ask, if that church disappeared from the community it’s in, how affected would that community be? How would the unemployment rate change? Entrepreneurship rates? Output? Job growth? Innovation? Economic growth? I think that churches are supposed to be economically consequential. What do you think? More to the point, what does God think?
Certainly history shows that Christianity has been extremely economically consequential. Christian civilization — and no other — initially broke the millennia of bare subsistence living, increasing our living standard an astonishing 9,900 percent in about two centuries. But is Christianity still doing that in our communities? Are churches any longer sources of social capital, hard-work, thrift, innovation, and knowledge acquisition? And if they aren’t what ideas do you have about how to change that?