Go, sell the oil, and pay your debt, and you and your children live on the rest. (2 Kings 4:7)
Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another. (Romans 13:8)
Our church is considering adding a new building to our existing facilities. There are some things that are closer to "needs", and some that are closer to "wants". The proposals on the table range, in my mind, from "too much" to "way too much" to "way, way too much." Recently our church scheduled a series of small-group meetings to discuss the proposed plans. The thing that bothered me most about the meetings was that they were framed as Bible studies, and the verses on the table were things about commitment and dedication. The fairly clear implication was, "If you aren't with our proposals, there's a problem with your commitment or dedication. Agreeing with the plans is the only Biblical thing to do." Meantime, even the least of the proposals would mean asking for a 20% increase in offering receipts at a time when many people are struggling to hold steady. Without going into details, there are also some issues about the stewardship of the land.
A couple of us proposed a "just enough" plan (again, from my point of view). The daggers shooting out of the eyes of the person hosting the meeting were impressive.
In the words of a member who has taken a turn as congregation president: "Whenever there are people and money in the same room, there's nothing holy going on."
I know that everyone gets caught up in the excitement of "Think what we could do if ...". But a recession is the modern-day equivalent of a famine. I think it's a fair question -- not an inappropriate one -- whether it's good stewardship to take on large new debt burdens, especially when the question arises during difficult economic times.
I wonder whether anyone else has ever had the same type of experience -- where questioning the wisdom of a large new debt was seen as a sign of lack of Christian commitment?