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Beyond Buildings: An Adventist Congregation Chooses Missions Over Mortar

by Johnny A. Ramirez
Crosswalk, a thriving congregation in Redlands, California, has decided to get out of the real estate business. 
More than 1,000 people worship at Crosswalk Church
each Sabbath. Church leadership can pay the bills, but have concluded
that renting a building the church generally uses only on Saturday is
not a judicious use of funds.  On June 30, Crosswalk senior pastor, Michael Knecht, announced
during his sermon that the church will save about $288,000 on leasing
costs each year if it rents just one day per week. That chunk of the
budget can be better redirected to, as Knecht phrased it, “fruit
production.”  For a church that prioritizes people, “the numbers don’t make sense,” Knecht said during his address. Knecht explained that Crosswalk’s goal is to trim its operating
costs to just 14 percent of its total budget, or to about $100,000. The
church would funnel the money saved to sustainable ministries in the
church, community and overseas, such as the church’s project to provide
fresh well water, maternity care and polio relief for people in Gimbi,
Ethiopia.  “The time for building concrete … monuments to God is perhaps
over,” wrote one Crosswalk church member on a feedback forum on the
church’s Web site. “Storing our treasure in heaven through supporting
others is the best investment strategy a church can make,” the message

Read the full article at the Adventist News Network.  They’ve posted a relocation FAQ here (pdf).
Crosswalk is quite fortunate in being able to afford its lease. Many dwindling Adventist congregations reside in buildings beyond their means and find themselves more and more becoming property managers just to meet expenses.  This newest change, to move beyond plywood and plaster, cements the
reputation of this congregation as being on the cutting edge of church
What excites me about Crosswalk is that Senior Pastor Michael Knecht, with his focus on missions overseas, perspicuity asks what it means for Crosswalk to be a church in the world.  Most congregations in Crosswalks position would look to build their own campus.  It really is quite a bold statement of vision and purpose.
Is your church spending too much of its money sustaining itself at the expense of missions and ministries?

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