I am not aware what the value of church property in America is currently, but I know that in 1931, the estimated value of church property in America was $4 billion. When you realize that the average home price in 1930 was $7,000, imagine how much churches are sitting on today? The average home value today is around $230,000, an increase of 3300%. So $4 billion in 1930 would be $1.3 trillion today. I have no clue how accurate this number is, but let’s say it’s less than half of that and call it $500 billion.
If only 2% of the churches in America sold their buildings, and put the money toward solving the world’s water crisis, we would have enough money.
But churches don’t want to sell their buildings. After all, where would they meet?
Okay, then, here is another option. In 1930, it was estimated that since churches were tax-exempt organizations, they were being “subsidized” by the government at $250 million annually. In other words, if churches were being taxed, the government would receive $250 million from them annually (which is 6%). Again, I don’t know how tax rates have changed since 1930, but let’s say they haven’t changed at all.
If, in 1930, the government could have gotten $250 million by taxing church property (valued at $4 billion), then today, if our property value is only $500 billion, our taxes today would be over $31 billion!
So if churches in America decided that for ONE year, we would put aside only 1/3 of what we would owe the government in property taxes for that one year, we could solve the world’s water crisis in one year! Should churches do this (or something similar)? Absolutely. Will churches do this if made aware of the opportunity? Call me pessimistic, but probably not.
So the question then becomes, “What am I doing personally to help solve the world’s water crisis (and similar needs) around the globe?” Rather than pointing the accusatory finger at the churches and their vast wealth, I need to take a hard look at my budget, and my possessions, and where my money is going. I may not have $50 million to put toward a building, but if I have $50 which I am going to spend on coffee this year (it’s probably more than that), maybe I should consider giving up my coffee so someone else can simply have water…
But that’s too convicting.
Orginally published at www.tillhecomes.org