If gas hits $4/gal, what will your church do?


CNN reports that crude gas-pump.jpgoil prices hit $99/barrel yesterday and are headed to $100/barrel and up.  Gas is already past $3-a-gallon in much of the US.  A gasoline transporter told me that people appear to be conserving more.   So even at $3 a gallon the price is having an effect.  What if gas goes to $4-a-gallon?  I think then we’ll see a serious reordering of our lives and schedules.  If you have not thought about how higher gas prices might affect your church, you need to.  Some implications are —

  • Fewer but longer gatherings to pack more content into one trip to church.
  • Decentralized meetings in homes that draw folks from the neighborhood.
  • Reimagining the weekly flow of church activities in both small and large churches.
  • Re-evaluation of staff responsibilities if there are fewer “come to the church” meetings.
  • Impact on budgets.  Higher gas prices mean not only higher costs to fill your members’ tanks, but higher costs for all goods and services. 
  • Emerging churches might already be blazing a trail for others in their flow of activities. 

Higher gas prices are coming.  You might want to begin to shift gears now.  Or at least think about it.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

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8 Comments

  1. This is a good question that the leaders of our church have only recently asked in a passing way. But it a real issue that will effect not only church attendance, but church budgets.

    My suspicion is that churches, incluidng ours, will have fewer meetings, and pack more meetings into fewer days. I suspect that if this is a prolonged trend that the geographical reach of many churches will become more limited.

    In fact, I wonder if this may be the reawakening of a more “parish” mindset. If so a missional mindset will be essential. And I wonder of cooperation to minister to the poor, the schools, etc will be evident, or if there will be more “competition” for the “prospects”.

  2. I think of Randy Frazee’s “Making Room for Life” because it suggests the simplicity of doing church and community within a small geographical radius. The question of whether to make the seven mile round trip to church doesn’t really come up here in our small town. Rather, people here are more concerned with heating oil prices. They generally question if they should turn on the heat in their house, before wondering if they will skip a service. Church may not feel the pinch here, but probably the Wal-mart thirty minutes away will.

  3. Petrol in England is £1.03 a litre, which is £3.40 a US Gallon, about $7 at the current exchange rate. Lots of people walk, but some still drive a 20 mile round trip to come to our church. If they want it, they will come. The good news is that high petrol taxes helps towards free health care……

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