Imagine megachurches, medium churches, and small churches alike giving up their real estate—their buildings. In a land-scarce country, real estate is exorbitant. It beggars belief that one feels it is necessary to buy expensive land and build glossy buildings just to do church.
Imagine megachurches letting go of their fixation on numbers and disseminate themselves into multiple small churches instead, all connected in a network. Imagine churches big, medium, or small alike, doing life together in homes and community spaces rather than in self-erected fortresses of costly real estate.
Imagine all churches pooling their finances together to start a bank of sorts, a gospel micro-finance structure that gives interest-free loans to the poor to start their own business and thrive. The poor can be in one’s affluent country or more saliently in the majority world of developing and poor countries.
If you think there isn’t enough money, think again. Church buildings can cost anything from $5 million to over $600 million. Pool the resources of all local churches together and you’d probably have billions to create a bank—a gospel financial system that is truly focused on lifting up the poor, the marginalized, and the afflicted.
Imagine how much more congruent the church would be with tall talks on grace and mercy, discipleship and disciple-making, holiness and justice. Imagine. Imagine how good it would be for the body of Christ to get aligned with the Spirit of Christ, enacting and effecting His love. Not as a glossy sideshow or vanity project, but genuinely. Not as tithing pipelines for pastoral salaries and bonuses through the rhetoric of love. But for the sake of all creation.
Also, the kingdom of Christ is an upside-down kingdom that runs counter to the dominant values of the world. Where the world values power and strength, meekness and weakness are what matter in the kingdom. Where the world cherishes youth and adornment, the kingdom prioritises wisdom and simplicity. Where the world exploits for profit, the kingdom pays it forward generously and loves people deeply. Where the world idolizes the calculus of money and utility, the kingdom sincerely cherishes the beauty and soulfulness of a person’s joyous labour of love.
Where the world fixates on wealth and domination by conflict, the kingdom is built on contentment and compassionate peace. Where the world thrives on greed and pride, the kingdom inspires and flourishes on generosity and humility. Where the world fixes its gaze on self-earned merit and self-focused performance, the kingdom is propelled by grace through faith in the perfection and loveliness of Christ, whose infinite merit is gratuitously given to us. In ourselves, we don’t deserve any of it. Yet, we receive abundantly—by grace.
Gospel economics is one aspect of God’s kingdom. Like His kingdom, it is an upside-down economics rooted in love and justice, enacted in the Spirit, and embodied in hearts and minds of spiritually sanctified persons. In Christ alone. Just as God's love for us is counter-conditional, God's kingdom in this world is counter-cultural. God's gospel economics is counter-hegemonic and preferences the poor and the powerless. Are we, the church, willing to follow our God?