Wednesday, November 19, 2008

open letter to university baptist

Hello. My heartfelt congrats on your decision to sell off your property. This is a huge step forward for all in the fair mother city.

I know change must be difficult. But I also know the impoverished neighborhood that your property resides in would welcome the change.

Razing your 1200 seat stained glass auditorium and four-storey “education” building to make way for a Walgreens would be an enormous plus to that community. I mean, instead of your once-a-year Fall Festival (from 6p-8p) the neighbors can now walk over to pick up their Medicaid funded prescriptions. Walgreens could actually become a community center by default. God knows one is needed.

Sorry to come across like a jackass here. But really, rumor has it that your membership has dwindled to like 50-75 plus some 150 college students who come for lunch. (That’s great, by the way. Your calling as a college outreach is obvious. Go for it. I’d bet Hardin-Simmons would gladly loan you space to function as a church for their students.)

But really...a 1200 seat monstrosity that is rumored to need over $200,000 to rebuild the air condition structure alone?!? Why did you hang on to it for so long? Were you hoping that money would show up so you could maintain the social club facilities for a mere 75 people?

I know, I know. The low membership is not your fault. I’m sure it’s a mixture of Barna’s predictions as well as bad seeds sown by the pastor who ran off with his secretary back in the 1950s just before that building was finished. Or so, that’s what The Son told me when I worked for Son and Dad.

And that four-storey building...a guy I used to minister with, The Bossman, once told me that it contained not one, but TWO commercial kitchens. Yes. Commercial. As in, restaurant or cafeteria efficient equipment. That building could have fed and housed every homeless person in town one way or another. But that was just a weird idea I had years ago when you and the Happy Days Community Church (where I was once employed) talked about trading facilities years ago.

Over all, I applaud you for moving on. Normally I’m not a fan of mega-chain corporate consumerism. But Walgreens would be a practical outreach to your low-income northside neighborhood.

All the best,

Agent B

*photo by the Reporter-News staff


g13 said...

lately i've been thinking that it would be fun to build a website that tracks megachurch mortgage defaults during the recession.

i know i'd check that site every day. wouldn'ant you?

Agent B said... a GREAT idea! I don't know how to make that web site happen. But if you do, count me in. I'll gladly contribute somehow.

The amazing story about university baptist church (or UBC as their hip young marketing strategy calls itself) is that they have long been far from mega church status. But they were the "original" mega church back in the day (1950s).

Their population dwindled over the decades (since the 1960s I'm told) and they are stuck with this massive (paid for) behemoth of a building with no way to pay for its utilities or upkeep for years.

UBC is the grandfather of the megachurch movement. And it would benefit the current megachurches to take note of UBC's demise as this is how they too will end up 20-50 years from now...

Mark my words.

g13 said...

i think that you could do a fairly simple blogspot blog and promote the churches baseball card style.

this would be one of my first cards:

paula white creeps me out. however, i think it is positive that her church will now, ironically, live up to its name.

g13 said...

another prosperity gospel church hits the skids.

did they have enough faith?

Anonymous said...

ubc is not hitting the skids...we have grown from 50 to 300!!

We have faith that we have been in that area of Abilene for a great reason. We are sticking it out...persevering and waiting for the LOrd.