Magi Mike's Blog

Another WordPress blog about politics and religion

The Morality of Sheep Stealing Pastors!

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We read that a study of Methodist churches in Oklahoma from 1961 to 2003, showed that a new member brought a church an average of $450 per year in offerings, about $15 of which went to the minister, about 3% commission. But when a minister recruited a new member from another Methodist church—a practice called by ministers, “sheep stealing”—the commission was $33, almost 7%.

David Yermack, an economist at New York University, who performed the research with Jay Hartzell of the University of Texas, Austin, and Christopher Parsons of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says “sheep stealing” is a practice long lamented in many religious denominations, but is well explained by traditional economic theory.

According to theory, a company—or church in this case—should offer the highest financial rewards when its employees do their jobs the most efficiently. Recruiting other Methodists requires less effort than finding and converting new people. So, “sheep stealing” is the economically efficient way to grow the parish, even though it does nothing for the whole church. Who said Christianity is not these days a business?

The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 9:11-13 spoke of sowing spiritual seed for which he expected a material harvest, sure proof that Paul invented the church as a money spinner. Even so, he was sowing spiritual seed, presumably among those who had not yet had any—ie the unconverted. Sheep stealing is just stealing, a lot easier than sowing and harvesting. Christian ministries have always been surfeited with crooks!

Written by mikemagee

9 July, 2010 at 8:27 pm

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