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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Antioch Bible Church in financial trouble?

Posted by on October 18 at 13:56 PM

No wonder Antioch Bible Church rents space at Lake Washington High School, instead of building their own damn church. The church’s homophobe pastor, Ken Hutcherson, explains that they’re in financial trouble (and demands that church members break out their wallets) in an email to the congregation today:

We have recently been faced with some financial challenges. As a result, there has been concern expressed regarding money spent on events that we have led, such as Mayday for Marriage in Seattle, in D.C., and in Olympia. All of these events are scattering aspects of the ministry, and as such are an integral part of Antioch’s core mission. However, I have assumed the responsibility personally for raising or paying for these particular scattering ministries at a cost of more than 1.7 million dollars, so that our tithes and offerings should cover our gathering ministries.

Our gathering ministries’ costs include Sunday School, materials, monthly bills, support salaries, pastors’ salaries, adoption ministry, missions, paper, copiers, phones, and costs necessary to operate a portable church. As your Pastor, it is my responsibility before God to make sure that these needs are taken care of by teaching our congregation to be obedient in our giving. The reason we do not have enough money to do all the gathering ministries, including the paying of our staff on a regular basis, is because there are many in our congregation who are being disobedient in their giving. I have put up charts to let you see that 80 percent of our people are giving between zero and $5 a year. A church our size should be averaging well over $100,000 a week, and we are averaging around $50,000 at best.

Maybe his congregation has been “disobedient in their giving” because of this:

I would like to respond to some criticism that I am getting to [sic] political.

The entire letter is after the cut.

From: Antioch Bible Church [mailto:alerts@newsletter.abchurch.org] Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2005 10:30 AM To: alerts@newsletter.abchurch.org Subject: A Matter of Obedience

October 18, 2005

Dear Antioch Member,

Several weeks ago, I spent some time sharing with our church body why we do what we do, and discussed with you our plans for the future. I have heard from many of you that this information was helpful in understanding the heart of your pastors. It was suggested that I send this to you in written form for your future reference.

Let me remind you that Antioch is a church for gathering and scattering in order to fulfill what the Bible has commanded the church to do. We gather together to learn, to be taught and to be discipled, we scatter in order to influence the world in which we live and encourage our world to operate with God's principles. That is the call of the Bride of Christ to work inside and outside of our four walls. We are a church that lives up to every letter in our name. That name provides us with the very purpose as to why we exist. That purpose is:

A is for all members ministering (accomplished through gathering)
N is for the New Testament model (accomplished through gathering and scattering)
T is for teaching the Word (accomplished in gathering)
I is for intercession in prayer (accomplished through scattering)
O is for outreach (accomplished through scattering)
C is for cross-cultural (accomplished both in gathering and scattering)
H is for healthy worship (accomplished through our gathering)

We are called to be obedient in every aspect of these letters in order for the kingdom of God to be seen and tasted by everyone touched by a member of this congregation.

We have recently been faced with some financial challenges. As a result, there has been concern expressed regarding money spent on events that we have led, such as Mayday for Marriage in Seattle, in D.C., and in Olympia. All of these events are scattering aspects of the ministry, and as such are an integral part of Antioch's core mission. However, I have assumed the responsibility personally for raising or paying for these particular scattering ministries at a cost of more than 1.7 million dollars, so that our tithes and offerings should cover our gathering ministries.

Our gathering ministries' costs include Sunday School, materials, monthly bills, support salaries, pastors' salaries, adoption ministry, missions, paper, copiers, phones, and costs necessary to operate a portable church. As your Pastor, it is my responsibility before God to make sure that these needs are taken care of by teaching our congregation to be obedient in our giving. The reason we do not have enough money to do all the gathering ministries, including the paying of our staff on a regular basis, is because there are many in our congregation who are being disobedient in their giving. I have put up charts to let you see that 80 percent of our people are giving between zero and $5 a year. A church our size should be averaging well over $100,000 a week, and we are averaging around $50,000 at best.

When I brought this to your attention this last summer, giving increased, but it has now slid backwards again. If you have been at Antioch for any length of time you know that we do not push money here. However we do push obedience every Sunday. Our pastors are suffering because many members of our congregation simply do not give, and others do not give regularly. I have no doubt that God will meet the needs of our pastors, but I also believe these needs must be met by our congregation! Our pastors have been willing to make sacrifices, and have done so for over three years now, but it is time for all members in our congregation to act in obedience by giving back to the Lord a portion of what He has entrusted in your care.

I would like to respond to some criticism that I am getting to political. Let me define what is political and what is righteous living, and being the salt of the earth. God has called me as your pastor to lead you in influencing our society biblically. This means living outside of our walls, and being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. It is NOT acting politically, it IS acting biblically. In doing this, we should expect the world to think we are political, but we do expect the church to KNOW that we are acting biblically, not for political or personal gain.

I am excited for the platform God is giving Antioch, as we are presently involved in changing our WORLD! This is not a popular stand, but it is one that God has called us to. I love what Martin Luther King said in one of his last sermons:

On some positions Cowardice asks the question is it Expedient? Expedience comes along and asks the question is it Political? Vanity asks the question is it Popular? Conscience asks the question is it Right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor polite nor popular but one must take it because it is Right.

This is how I expect Antioch to live. May God lead you in the reading of this letter from your Pastor to you. I think God has given us such opportunity to make huge changes in our society. May God give us the victory to be faithful, obedient, and joyful in our service to Him.

In His Love, Pastor Hutch!!!