Tithes & Offerings Are No Longer Enough To Fund Your Church with Mark DeYmaz

Welcome back to the unSeminary podcast. I’m excited to be talking with Mark DeYmaz, who planted Mosaic Church in Arkansas and is co-founder of Mosaix Global Network.

We’re nearly a quarter of our way through the 21st century and yet some churches are still operating on models from the 1960s. In spite of good intentions and a lot of activity, many pastors are merely managing the decline of their churches. Listen in as Mark talks about the 20th century metrics we need to stop chasing and where we need to shift our focus.

  • Works over words. // In order for the church to continue to move forward, we need to be thoughtful about the time we’re living in. We are in a Matthew 5:16 century – one where the works of churches impact unbelievers more powerfully than words. Whereas the 20th century was about explanation, the 21st century is about demonstration and getting out into the community rather than staying behind closed doors.
  • Play for influence. // In the 20th century churches played for size; in the 21st century churches need to play for influence. Influence is not tied to size, but rather to diversity. The greater your church’s diversity, both in terms of the structures and the demographics, the greater your influence will be in your community. People in a smaller, more multi-ethnic church can go into a larger swath of the community with the messaging of Christ compared to a larger homogenous church.
  • Multiple streams of income. // In the 20th century churches were funded by tithes and offerings, but in the 21st century we need to look at multiple streams of income. This doesn’t mean we get rid of tithes and offerings. Rather we revisit what good stewardship looks like according to Jesus’ teachings. Consider the parable of the talents; the wicked, lazy servant is the one who did nothing with his assets. Our assets are people, money and facilities – how are we stewarding them to fund the mission of the church?
  • Look at the buried assets. // So many things in today’s world have changed the way that younger generations are giving to the church and how much the church is receiving. Churches should take a look at their buried assets in order to release the economic engine to make money to both pay their bills and provide for their ministry. This includes connections that your people have to others and how you can aggregate money quickly.
  • Rent your facilities. // Even pre-pandemic, most church facilities sat empty from Monday to Saturday. That’s not good stewardship. The simplest way to earn income is to rent your facilities. Get a commercial realtor to come into the church and tell you how much unused areas of your church would be worth in the commercial market.
  • Monetize existing services. // Another option for earning money is to monetize existing services. One example might be using the coffee shop in the church to cover your costs as well as fund ministry. You may not have enough in tithes and offerings to cover expenses in the coffee shop. However by charging for something like coffee and breakfast biscuits, you can cover your costs as well as generate income to provide for ministry and outreach.
  • Earn through business for God’s work. // You can also start a for-profit LLC under your nonprofit. Create a business and hire employees, provide services, or sell items. Some of the profits earned by the business can then help to fund ministry at your church. Create a sister nonprofit under your church to handle outreach ministry in the community. Through the separate nonprofit, pursue grants and donations from local, state, federal, and outside entities.
  • Follow the law to keep tax exempt status. // You will keep your tax exempt status as long as you follow the laws. The money you make from the services you offer has to go back into the church. You also have to pay taxes on the property and business just as any other business would in your area.

You can find out more about Mosaix and the services they offer at www.mosaix.info. Plus, pick up The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough, and What You Can Do about It and Mark’s other books online wherever books are sold.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Chemistry Staffing

One of the things that they never teach you in seminary is when to move on from your current church. Over the last couple of years, we have been having a TON of conversations about this with pastors all over the United States. Of all the ministry decisions you make, leaving your position will be the toughest.

Download this two-in-one resource that walks you through the decision-making process.

Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Hey, friends, welcome to the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you’ve decided to tune in. I’m really excited for today’s conversation; we’ve got Mark DeYmaz with us. He is an incredible leader from central Arkansas. In 2001 him and his wife ah, founded Mosaic Church, which is a thriving multi-ethnic ah church in an economically diverse community doing all kinds of great things. Today he serves not only as a directional leader of Mosaic, but is also a champion of a movement of churches really that are trying to be ah, multi-ethnic, make a difference all across literally the world, Mosaic Global Network. So super honored to have Mark with us. Mark, welcome to the show. So glad you’re here today.

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, Rich. Thanks so much for having me.

Rich Birch — Why don’t we start with kind of fill out the picture. What did I miss there about your background? You know, kind of give people a sense of Mosaic; tell us a little bit more of the story.

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah I’d be glad to I served as a Student Ministries pastor in predominantly white evangelical churches for 18 years coming right out of college at 22 years of age. And the final eight years of those 18 brought me to the city of Little Rock to a wonderful church. At the time in 1993 that church was 2000 people; eight years later it was 5000. My youth group of 7th through 12th graders went from 150 to 600. I was in the top 2% of paid youth pastors in America. I’m living the dream this amazing church I had 500 kids ah you know in small groups, 250 volunteers, 9 full-time staff, built a 3.5 million dollar student center. Again, so I’m living the dream, right?

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — And one day in the late 90s I looked around this otherwise amazing church and realized the only people of color were janitors. That was 1997, and that began to bother me.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — I didn’t know at the time why that bothered me but it began to bother me. And that took me on into a journey into the new testament doing my own exegesis so to speak, throwing out what I’d been taught in seminary. I had a master’s in exegetical theology at the time, now my doctorate, my DMin in exegetic theology. And so I began to wonder about the things I’d been taught in the new testament or about the nature of the church. Was it, in fact, segregated? Jews, that is Jewish Believers, went to Jewish churches, Gentile believers to Gentile churches. Was the homogeneous unit principle as we had learned it—um, the way to plant, grow, and develop a church quickly is to focus on a single people group—was that beyond pragmatic, was it, in fact, biblical?

Mark DeYmaz — And so I did my own homework, so to speak. By the late 90s I I realized that every church in the new testament was a multiethnic church – men and women, Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor. As we say at Mosaic today, walking, working, worshiping God together as one. And so once that biblical vision and mandate got in my belly, I determined of course ah with a calling from the Lord to stay in Little Rock, to leave that church, to go to the urban center of Little Rock in the summer of 2001 with what Christianity Today would call three years later a big dream in Little Rock – could in fact, men and women of diverse ethnic and economic background walk, work, worship, God together as one? Could they will themselves to do that in order to advance a credible witness of God’s love for all people, not just some.

Mark DeYmaz — Here in the city of Little Rock, the neighborhood we went to 30% poverty, 66% of kids without dads in the home, highest violent crime in the city; determined to lean into Matthew 5:16. You know I believe this is a Matthew 5:16 century. In the Twentieth century you can get away using words to reach people for Christ. Today it’s all about works. He said not let them hear your good words, but let them see your good works, and this is what will shine a light on who God is and how much he loves. Hope for all, not just some.

Mark DeYmaz — So in 2001 after 18 years in the multi… ah I’m sorry in the ah homogenous evangelical ah, predominantly white churches, I came to the inner city, started Mosaic—a church for all people not just some people, multiethnic, economically diverse. And within several years my friend my good friend, Dr. George, the African-American sociologist today at Baylor University, we had connected, we met and we realized that if God was showing me and, and him from a sociological standpoint, that churches ought to be multi-ethic for the sake of the gospel, surely he must be showing others around this country and the world.

Mark DeYmaz — And so we pulled together about 30 people in November of 2004 to consider this in Dallas, Texas. That led to the establishment of Mosaix Global Network and the mission and vision of Mosaix for now almost 20 years is to help pastors and ministry organizations build healthy multi-ethnic and economically diverse, socially just, culturally intelligent, and financially sustainable churches. So I serve as the directional leader of my own church—now we’re 10 years old at Mosaic—but I also serve as the co-founder and the CEO of Mosaix Global Network.

Rich Birch — Love it. One of the things you talked about there I found super intriguing which I know is a part of what you’ve been wrestling with, you talked about how in the Twentieth century churches grew based on the word – on, you know, on you know, speaking, ideas. And then in the Twenty-first century, you know, churches are growing based on works, action, getting people out of their seats, into the street, making a difference actually in their community. Are there any other of those kind of dynamics that you’ve seen as we kind of, you know, pivot from one century to another. You know I was just thinking, gosh, we’re we’re a quarter of our way into ah, the Twenty-first century and we’re still some of us are still living on models from the 1960s. What would be some of those other changes that we need to be thinking about as church leaders?

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, you know, Rich. That’s a great question. I’ve addressed that for some time and this past year put that in writing in one of the chapters in a book called “Red Skies” published by 100 M the missional community. It’s a compilation book of Alan Hirsch, myself, Deb Hirsch, many others. But in my chapter on economics, I talk about that very thing. And the way I frame that is most pastors in America today, in spite of good intentions, all their activity, etc they are merely managing decline. They are merely managing the decline of their churches. And if you… and of course all the statistics show us that ah, attendance down, giving down, etc, etc. Ah, people’s interest in the church, the pipeline professional ministry leaders, the lack of strong student ministry today providing young people that are fired up to to be Christ-centered folks as well as going to ministry – all those statistics, if you will, show us we’re just managing decline. And if you understand that then, I asked myself several years ago, if that’s true, if you accept that premise, why is that? And the way I framed it in the book, the way I speak about it is that we are still chasing Twentieth century metrics. So the scoreboard, the dashboard is still all lit up by Twentieth century metrics, right? But as you rightly mentioned we’re nearly 25 years into the Twenty-first century and the metrics are still twentieth century.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s crazy.

Mark DeYmaz — So what are those metrics if we’re going to in fact, disrupt and reinvent for the Twenty-first century? You know the [inaudible] understood their times and knew what was right in that moment for Israel to do. We have to be thoughtful about our times to know what is the best course forward, and it is certainly not a return to the Twentieth century metrics. So, all that’s to say yes the twentieth century, the way people came to Christ, is you shared, you brought Billy Graham to your city. He clearly explained the gospel, you shared the 4 spiritual laws, clear explanation of the gospel. You gave people Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, More than a Carpenter. Later Lee Stroble, The Case for Christ. And all of this is explanatory.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — So in a simple way You can say the twentieth century wasn’t ah the the difference is explanation versus today demonstration. Again, Matthew 5:16 – we’re going to have to lead with the kindness, meeting felt needs, empathizing, entering into people’s stories, and meeting those needs first at the bridge of humanity before we’ll ever get people to consider across the bridge of Christ’s divinity.

Mark DeYmaz — Another one is size versus influence. In the Twentieth century you played for size; in Twenty-first century you better be playing for influence. And influence is not tied to size as it was in the Twentieth century. As I mentioned, I was a part of a thriving church of 5000 white, Republican, suburban upper class, professional people. And in a city like Little Rock…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — …when I was there I thought, boy we have a lot of influence in the city. But when I left that to start Mosaic I realized the Democrats hated that church. People of color didn’t even know that church existed. On and on I could go. And so I realized that yes, it’s a lot of bodies, but they are only getting out on a Sunday and infiltrating, if you will, 1 or 2 slices of a 15 or 20 slice demographic pie.

Mark DeYmaz — So the point is, the greater your diversity, both structurally in terms of ah the the structures of your church and the demographics of your church, the greater your influence is going to be in a community. Because I can have 300 people of ah 30 different nations and economic diversity in all different types of backgrounds culturally. And when they get out on a Sunday morning, both Republican, Democrat, etc, ah black, white, rich, poor, and when they get out, they go into a larger swath of the city with the messaging of the Christ and the messaging of the church. And you could argue which church has more influence in a city. I’d rather play with 100 healthy, diverse people the way I’m describing than 1000 all-white, all-black, all-asian, and I’ll prove to you my influence is 10 times my size. So size versus influence – the greater your diversity, the greater your influence in the city.

Mark DeYmaz — Of course Twentieth century homogenous ah homogeneity Twenty-first multi-ethnicity, right? Twentieth sustaining innovation, Twenty-first disruptive innovation.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — So all of those are just a quick highlight of some of the the things we discuss. And one of the big ones I know you want to talk about today…

Rich Birch — Yeah, totally.

Mark DeYmaz — …is in the Twentieth century tithes and offerings…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — …and in the Twenty-first multiple streams of income. Tithes and…

Rich Birch — Okay, so yeah, yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — In the Twenty-first century it’s no longer enough to not only sustain your ministry but to advance it in a healthy way.

Rich Birch — Okay, so this is to me this one, so there’s first of all, friends, you need to be following Mark ah, if you’re not already. There’s so much that you’re unpacking there that I’m I’m like amen, amen, amen. I remember, like I so ironically I spent a lot of time thinking about church growth and I think I only had one it was like literally one class in one course in school that was on church growth. And it was all on the homogeneous unit model, which which now looking back on it I’m like I’m that’s like sin at its core. Which is crazy, you know, all these years later. Like I’m like and it was just taught as like this is just the assumptive way. But now, man, if you pursue that model, you are yeah your church is just not going to impact at all. So love that. Um, but I would love to dig in on this financial piece. I heard you say this and I’m like I think Mark’s gone off the deep end. He’s being crazy. Obviously tongue-in-cheek – don’t think that. Tithes and offerings – isn’t that the core of how we’re supposed to fund our church? Convince me otherwise.

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah again Twentieth versus Twenty-first century understanding um at the core… and let me just quickly pivot and say the homogeneous unit principle is biblical insofar it’s applied for evangelism, discipleship, and leadership development.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Mark DeYmaz — But once you cross the line to plant, grow, or develop a local church. There’s no biblical license, freedom, or mandate to target a single people group to plant a church. The church is to be for all people wherever possible and certainly in the United States, it’s very possible across a wide swath of this country. Having said that, back to sustainable economics.

Mark DeYmaz — When in the twentieth century again tithes and offerings, Twenty-first multiple streams of income. What am I really talking about? Good stewardship. In the American Church… so let me just start with a biblical framework. The reason why you need to not and when I say move away from tithes and offerings, I don’t mean get rid of tithes and offerings and not not not encouraging generosity. Of course we’re gonna keep doing all that. And that too is biblical. However, we’ve got to do some other things because that in and of itself in the Twenty-first will not be enough like the Twentieth, right?

Mark DeYmaz — So from a biblical standpoint, and I have written a book The Coming Revolution in Church Economics as well as a book called Disruption – it’s into all of this. But very quickly, think about it from a biblical perspective and a sociological perspective, and I’ll just throw in a couple on each. So in the American Church, and again Twentieth century metrics, the way most pastors understand the term stewardship is three ways. One to manage what God has given us. You know, God has given us this building, these assets. There’s a hole in the wall. There’s a pothole in the street. We need to fix it. We need to maintain and manage the resources God has given us. It means recording accurately the the gifts, the tithes, and offerings that you receive. We got to record that accurately, and number three we’ve got to clearly communicate to our donors how we’re spending that money.

Mark DeYmaz — And those are the three ways in which stewardship is defined in the American Church. Now I believe all of those things are part of good stewardship. However, if we’re very ah technical or exegetically sound, that’s not how Jesus defined stewardship. Jesus said, and he taught us in the parable, right? You gave me five – here’s your five, and I made you five. You gave me two – here’s your two, and I made you two. Well done, good and faithful steward.

Mark DeYmaz — One guy, as I like to say, sat on his asset, right?

Rich Birch — I love it. Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — One guy sat on his asset and and he sat on this asset and he’s called the wicked, lazy slave, or or servant, steward if you want. And what what does that mean? He says I was afraid. I didn’t want to lose it. So he he led with fear not by informed faith as the other two. And what does Christ say? Take away the one asset from the guy and give it to the people that know what to do with it.

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — And that is happening all over this country. In terms of Jesus overturned the money changer – what about that? You know, we’re not supposed to touch money. Has nothing to do with fair or benevolent profit. It was all about unjust economics. They were upcharging people for the exchange rate of a Roman coin to a Jewish half shekel. They were marking up the turtle doves so to speak for the survey or for the sacrifice beyond what the poor could otherwise afford.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — It was all about unjust economics. So biblically, we need to think deeper about these matters. And then from a sociological standpoint, easy to make the case right? Tithes and offerings completely and consistently dropping. But more than that from a secular standpoint, you’ve got generational shifts and attitudes and approaches to giving. Nearly 80% of all giving to the American Church as of several years ago is given by people born before 1964.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Mark DeYmaz — And doesn’t mean that younger people don’t have money; they just they don’t trust institutions. They believe that their volunteerism and/or their endorsement of the church or the products, the service of the church is equated with their giving, where if you’re older like me at 61 years old you see those as a both/and not an either/or. So there’s generational [inaudible] there’s some attitudes and approaches to giving.

Mark DeYmaz — The rise of dual income households – that’s gone from where in 1960 about 20% of US households had dual incomes, just to live a middle class life today it’s almost 80%.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mark DeYmaz — And it’s not [inaudible] that have all this extra money. It takes at least two income streams if not more in the American household just to live a generally middle class life today due to wealth inequality income gaps, the inflation the highest it’s been, ah, you know middle class wealth is the lowest it’s been since 1940. So there’s all these factors sociologically, but the mindset of the church continues to be as if the single paycheck of a tithe and offering will help the church, if you will, live a middle class life.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — So remember 80% or so of households in the 60s – the the old Ozzie and Harriet thing, right?

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — Theoretically dad went to work, mom stayed home with the kids, got involved the PTA. That one paycheck from dad’s work allowed that family to have a house, have a car, etc. Those days are long gone.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — And they’re never coming back so we’re going to have… So the practice of church economics is is to leverage the assets of your church in pursuit of good stewardship. What are those assets? People, money, and facilities. Not just the people you have but the connections to others they have. Not just the money you may or may not have, but your ability to aggregate money quickly.

Mark DeYmaz — Ah, your facilities – most facilities even pre-pandemic sit empty from Monday to Saturday. That’s buried assets. Money in your bank account. That’s buried assets. People. So the point is we’ve got to turn on the spigot, if you will, to release the economic engine and assets of the church. Again, not to go out and make tons of money like as as if it was capitalism, and run amok or we’re in it for a profit. But no, if we keep giving everything away, we’re not gonna be here in five years. It’s the church that owns [inaudible] and I walk in I say well how much do you charge these groups coming in? Oh no, we just let them do it. Just let them come in for free. It’s our ministry. Well who’s… the toilet paper, the water bill, the electric bill, etc.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — You see what I’m saying? That’s not good stewardship. I know the heart is right. But that is not good head stewardship…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — And you don’t have to and I tell, like using that as an example. You don’t just charge the cost of it, but you don’t charge top dollar.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — Somewhere in between so you’re covering your costs.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — You’re making a little something, but not an exorbitant fee to be benevolent. And the point is when I have the when I’m generating income from ah a profitable standpoint, when I’ve got the tithes and offerings, and the other leg of this by the way, Rich. We talk about three legs of a stool, like offense, defense, special teams – the tithes and offerings starting a for a nonprofit sister organization to your church whereby you can chase local, state, federal grant funding go beyond what your church can otherwise do. And of course as I just lean into in this example of a gym, the for profit side where we’re leveraging assets to generate ah ROI and the aggregate of tithes and offerings, your grants and donations both from local, state, federal as well as outside entities, other churches, [inaudible]…

Rich Birch — Yeah, foundation stuff. Yeah, yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — …with the ah ROI pursuit of for profit entities, that aggregate is how you’re not only going to survive but sustain, become stable, and thrive going forward in the Twenty-first century.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love that. So good. Now I’m wondering so you you started to get into a couple practical pieces there. I like that three-legged stool piece. I think we have clarity on you know that kind of the the normal church leg of this, you know, the stool. Talk us through a little bit of that um, particularly that that the profit side, that – you gave us the example of the gym. Um, give us some other examples of the kinds of things that either you’re doing or you’ve seen other churches do that like oh that’s an innovative way to to try to generate some income um as a church.

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, so just let me be clear. The gym example is yes, that’s an example, but I use that to help us free our minds and think with a different mentality. So again, the mentality is we’re giving this away; we’re doing ministry. But you’re not going to be here in five years if you don’t change that mindset. So that’s what that example was about. Um, again, three-legged stool, we’re talking about the third leg – your special teams, if you will, your for-profit ROI side where you’re leveraging assets, generating income. On that side let’s just break it down and think think about it like this… By the way, let me say,

Mark DeYmaz — the simplest way for a church to generate income is to rent its facilities.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mark DeYmaz — That is the simplest way, the cleanest way; rent your facilities. If you’re going to rent facilities, as many churches do, I’m not the first person to suggest rent your facilities…

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mark DeYmaz — …or what have you, but but what has happened heretofore is people see it as nice, not necessary.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good.

Mark DeYmaz — Okay, isn’t it nice you have this preschool. Isn’t it nice that we rent our parking lot for this and we pick up a little income. That’s a nice mentality. Today it’s necessary. So in other words, it’s part of a comprehensive strategy that heretofore has not been developed that I put forth in Disruption, Coming Revolution in Church Economics. So with that in mind, again, the simplest way to make money is to rent your facilities. And the way to do that is to get a commercial realtor to come into a certain area of your church, empty classrooms that keep you converted converted to nonprofit centers, counseling offices, law law offices – all kinds of things. They’re sitting there dormant. Get a commercial realtor to come into your church and say on the commercial market, this area would be worth this amount of money.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — So I’ll just use an example. These 5 classrooms, this 3000 square feet would be worth $5000 on the commercial market.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz —Okay, we’re not in it for top dollar again. We’ve got a strategy of the the tithes and offerings, grants and donations, and now the for-profits. So we don’t have to make top dollar, but I can’t give it away for free, as we said, so I might rent that space for $2000 or $3000, which which has an impact on the people I’m renting it to. In other words, it’s lowering their overhead…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — …so they can offer their goods and services at lower prices to the community. We call that benevolent ownership. I I as a church, we make something. Small business – we take pressure off of them in terms of their overhead, and they pass on that savings to the community. So everybody wins in that scenario. So the simplest way is to leverage your facilities.

Mark DeYmaz — Here’s another example of that. We talk about monetizing existing services. So put that ah, ah you know under the the renters space benevolent ownership. This other aspect would be monetized existing services. There’s already things churches are doing and paying to do in terms of the space they built, the people they employ, the equipment they have. They’re already doing that, well monetize that. That’s like low hanging fruit.

Mark DeYmaz — Here’s a perfect example: many churches, most have some type of a coffee shop or coffee area, right? And they’re giving free coffee away every Sunday morning. When you think about that, who’s paying for that free coffee? Tithes and offerings in most cases, right? So somebody decides we’re going to take $2000 a month out of tithes and offerings; that’s $24,000 a year. We’re going to let that walk out our front door in the form of free coffee, and with with hospitality hoping somehow not only are blessing people, but hopefully that some of these people will like our church someday so much that they come and they start giving. Okay. But what does $24,000 a year take away from actual ministry?

Rich Birch — That’s a good question.

Mark DeYmaz — I might be able to hire a part-time uni-tasker or part-time some… I might be able to fund the entire VBS…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — …and go to whole different levels with $24,000. So I’ve got this space; I want to give away free coffee.

Mark DeYmaz — But you partner here with business people who know how to monetize that space in a benevolent way. So we did this at our church prior to the pandemic. We we had built out our coffee area. I went to ah to Sam’s Club. I buy a microwave. I buy a little tin foil. I buy Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits with cheese for $.95 a biscuit.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — You wrap them up and heat them up. You sell them for $2 on Sunday. McDonald’s sells them across the street for $3.50 so I’m already $1.50 under…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — …what you get based on the same thing across the street. The people start buying the biscuits, and let’s just say that the the mark is 2000 a month, all I have to do is sell 2000 biscuits a month to make $2000 to cover the free coffee and recoup…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — …$2000 a month in my tithes and offerings to put to direct ministry. We don’t think like that.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — Nobody taught us to think like that in seminary…

Rich Birch — No, no. That’s so true.

Mark DeYmaz — …but again business people know how to do this. So your job as a pastor, you don’t have to be the one to do this. You have to understand the strategy, again as I lay out in my books—Disruption, Coming Revolution of Church Economics—and then empower people to to put this thing together. So that’s an example…

Rich Birch — Love it. So good.

Mark DeYmaz — …of monetizing existing services, right? So benevolent ownership of your facility, monetizing existing services, and the last thing is you can—actually most pastors, again, don’t know this—um, you can start for-profit LLCs under your nonprofit. Um and and in other words, real for… real business. So for instance, you might go out and and get two capital partners, and so we want to, you know, we’re always printing these t-shirts; we’re gonna create a t-shirt printing company right here. And we’re gonna move it into the church. We’ll provide the space. We’ll buy the equipment, etc, etc. That’ll be our investment. You get these two other investors; they put money in. And all of a sudden you’re hiring your high school kids, your college kids, you’re providing jobs, you’re doing this marketing, and you’re never paying for t-shirts again. And anything you’re giving [inaudible] selling to your church, you’re making profit.

Mark DeYmaz — How much money do you pay for janitor service in your church? What if you repurpose those funds to actually start a janitor company that employs people, etc, get a couple of capital investors. Now you’ve got a business.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — Everybody gets a third of profit. The janitor company is doing so, you know, goes out gets contracts, and the net that that company makes beyond the employee costs and all the things, salaries, the net pays for your janitor coverage every year. So that company’s cleaning your church but the way you’re they’re being paid is through the net profit…

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — …of the work they do outside the church. And again you recover significant dollars to repurpose to ministry.

Rich Birch — So good.

Mark DeYmaz — So benevolent ownership, monetizing existing services, and starting new businesses whether under the nonprofit formally as an LLC or not. And that leads to a question, Rich, I know you’ve probably already anticipated; I’ll just roll into it.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — What about my tax-exempt status?

Rich Birch — Sure.

Mark DeYmaz — And most pastors are afraid if we get into these things we’re going to lose our tax exempt status. And that is not true if you play by the rules. And there’s really just simple rules to play by. Number one, um that when you, let’s take a coffee shop, for example – if if I am making money as a church if our church is making money through that coffee shop through the year of course you report that on your taxes as unrelated business income. But let’s say that’s generating a profit and we we made $10,000 this year, $20,000 – whatever it is. That money, the $20,000 net profit that we receive as a church needs to go back into the budget of the general church.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — I can’t say, hey $20,000 – awesome. Hey our 5 board members, everybody gets a $4000 bonus, right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — You can’t do that, right?

Rich Birch — No.

Mark DeYmaz — That violates a law; you’d lose your tax exempt status.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — The other thing is you have to pay taxes on that property and or that business just like any other business or coffee shop would in your city, state or in the country. You cannot leverage your nonprofit status to try to avoid paying property taxes, or what have you.

Mark DeYmaz — So in our case, for instance, after 15 years we were able to purchase an abandoned 100,000 square foot Kmart, and for the past 8 or 9 years we’ve rented 44,000 square foot to a suburban fitness club that moved into the inner city and took that deal. Now they’re they that off what we make off them is right now I can’t do the math quickly in my head, but probably I’m going to say 40% or 35% of our mortgage is paid just by that one contract.

Rich Birch — That’s great. Wow. That’s fantastic.

Mark DeYmaz — Okay, not only that but 6000 people from the community belong because our price to them is so low they can lower the prices to people for this quality help, you know, physical fitness and all that, and and so all the community joined at $10 a month, no contract.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And that has an impact on the health and wellbeing, the emotional psyche of a community that today’s 24% at or below poverty.

Rich Birch — Love it. So good.

Mark DeYmaz — So all of that is in the books and again we could talk all day about it. But as fast as I can talk and give you an overview, that’s what’s going on.

Rich Birch — Yeah you you yeah yeah, you anticipated the question there. I was wondering a bit about the if if you could give an overview a little bit about how the legal structure works. But I think you gave some clarity there. Is there anything else on that for for the pessimists in the room that are like, listen we just can’t do this. This is too risky. Ah, you answered it well there, but is there any other kind of because I know it’s actually pretty straightforward. There’s a number of churches that are doing this, but you know is there anything else we need to think about that on the structure side how those three entities kind of interact with each other?

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, well again, you you mentioned fear if you’re not doing this because you’re afraid, you’re no different than the guy in the bible burying the asset.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — You as a pastor may not understand this. You may not understand; you gotta we we walk by faith not by sight. Now there’s a fine line between faith and foolishness…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — …and what that means is, pastor, I’m looking you in the eyes so to speak right now, you don’t have to do all this.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — You just have to understand it from a theological…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — …sociological pragmatic standpoint, and then go out and empower the people who share your heart…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — …share your vision, share your theology, and let them take these things and run with it for the glory of God.

Rich Birch — Yeah. Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And now the the last thing I’d say is say what else to add. So picture if you will those of you who are listening, picture a football team and draw it in your head as a three-legged stool. There’s offense on one leg, defense on one leg, special teams on the other. Each team has its own players, its own metrics, its own coaches, its own game plan. Ah, and to win the game, you’ve got to have all three teams functioning at a very high level and minimizing the state, or you don’t win. Most churches only play have an offense, if you will – let’s call that the spiritual game. That’s that’s most churches. Some social game and very few the financial game like we’re talking about.

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Mark DeYmaz — So what we’ve got to do in the Twenty-first century is a move away from a single dimensional game to playing a three-dimensional game.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And and of course the spiritual is already happening. And in terms of and all we need to do the adjustment there is to make sure our churches are moving and leaning in towards the increasing diversity of our society – Revelation 7 on earth to become the embassies in which diverse ambassadors walk and reach the world for the gospel. So there’s innovation there, but on the economic side that’s tithes and offerings. The third leg we’ve already talked about, right? So that’s going to generate for profit ah ROI whether that’s done formally under as an LLC or just as unrelated business income to your nonprofit.

Mark DeYmaz — But the second leg, let me just throw this in there, and answer your question. The second leg I just kind of threw out. What you want to do is create a nonprofit – not many nonprofits, one nonprofit.

Rich Birch — Oh that’s good. That’s good.

Mark DeYmaz — That nonprofit is going to have multiple programs within it. Cause most ah, people might approach like I don’t know let’s say they have a heart for foster care. So they start a nonprofit for foster care, or maybe it’s ESL class in immigration. We start an ESL or I’m sorry a nonprofit for that. But when you do that you end up with 8 nonprofits, 8 boards, 8 tax returns, 8 [inaudible] – it’s inefficient

Rich Birch — Oh gosh. Yeah yeah, yeah, super inefficient. Yeah yeah, yeah, super inefficient.

Mark DeYmaz — So what you want to do is create one nonprofit. By the way you don’t want it across town. You want it under your roof so that you’re sharing expenses across the board.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — There’s ways the church aggregates that. And this nonprofit—think about it as two sisters in the same house or the defense to the offense—and it’s led by social justice types: compassionate, kind, merciful people. People that go to school for an MSW for instance. Ah that so the first leg is your pastors. The second leg is your MSW types.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — Your third leg is your business people…

Rich Birch — Love it. Powerful.

Mark DeYmaz — …and that’s who [inaudible] right? Now the…

Rich Birch — That would be incredible.

Mark DeYmaz — Right. So the executive director types of your nonprofit, they build out the multiple programs that are meeting and servicing the needs of the community. And again on the economic side where do you get money? You get money by chasing local state and federal grants which are available for these works in ways that they wouldn’t be available if those works were organized under your church.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Mark DeYmaz — So practically what you do is you start with any compassion, mercy and justice work going on in your church, form the nonprofit, and shift those things out from under the oversight of the church, under the oversight of the nonprofit board before you add.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — And then you look for money outside. And what happens it’s not just local, state, and federal grants. That’s grants. But donations means there’s there’s Christians in your community, individuals that go to other churches that don’t have a distribution program but they have a passion for food insecurity. And they will donate money not to Mosaic Church, but to the nonprofit Vine & Village.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — Churches will send their money and their people to serve in those programs. You know, churches typically don’t write a check to other churches, right? But they’ll write a check they’ll write your nonprofit a check because and they’ll send people to work. I’ll give you one quick example.

Mark DeYmaz — We have in our city a private Christian school called Episcopal, started by the episcopal diocese, very wealthy school, whatever. And they send, every week, about 6 to 10 of their students in the entire high school (9th through 12th grade)…

Rich Birch — Wow.

Mark DeYmaz — …they send 6 to 10 kids to work in our food distribution program on Tuesdays between 10:30 and 1:30. And they’ve already gone through the entire high school once; now they’re doing it again. And this is partnership for us, right? But they wouldn’t do that if it was Mosaic Church, right? But they do it because it’s a nonprofit. And I’ll just end with this, right now I invite your listeners to pray. But um, for fifteen months we have chased a $3.5 million dollar grant from the state of Arkansas…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And nonprofit was awarded that grant, and it’s down to one vote of a congressional committee in the state of Arkansas that has to vote.

Rich Birch — Wow.

Mark DeYmaz — And but we’ve already passed 9 out of the 10 tests…

Rich Birch — Wow.

Mark DeYmaz —…and we’re just [inaudible] 10 tests. But that would be $3.5 million dollars to our nonprofit.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s amazing.

Mark DeYmaz — And I and when I met with the State Comptroller fifteen months ago and I sat down to discuss this this work, the first question he asked me was, now is this a church? That’s what he said. Now is this a church?

Rich Birch — Interesting.

Mark DeYmaz — And I said no, it’s a it’s a 501c3 community development corporation that’s a separate nonprofit. And he said it’s hard to give away money. And what he meant was…

Rich Birch — Wow.

Mark DeYmaz — …if you were a church, you might as well walk out now because you’re not getting a penny.

Rich Birch — Right, right.

Mark DeYmaz — But because you’re structured as a nonprofit and essentially we have a letter, we’ve been awarded three and a half million pending…

Rich Birch — That’s amazing.

Mark DeYmaz — …the vote ah the the final vote of a congressional committee.

Rich Birch — This one one next step. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. This has been incredible, Mark. I really appreciate you leaning in on this and you know so clear and so passionate. I appreciate you coming back and pushing us. I’m hoping listeners as you’re listening in today ah, you’re thinking, hey man we should take a step on this. And I think a now real practical next step is I would love people to go and pick up a copy of your book. It’s just simply called The Coming Revolution in Church Economics: Why (what we’ve been talking about) Why Tithes and Offerings Are No Longer Enough and What You Can Do About It. People can pick that up at Amazon; is there anywhere else we want to send them to pick up copies of this? Personally what I think this would be a great thing to do, friends, you’re looking for you know your next staff training thing. Buy copies of this book. Buy 10 copies of this book for your entire staff. Read it together and then talk about, hey what what changes should we make? How does this affect the way we’re doing what we’re doing. But where else we want to send people if they want to pick up copies of this book?

Mark DeYmaz — Well, you know I mean I’m pretty simple guy. You already mentioned Amazon. Anywhere where books are sold, Barnes and Nobles, wherever.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Mark DeYmaz — I’m sure Baker, my publisher, would love for you to go to their website and buy it.

Rich Birch — Sure, sure.

Mark DeYmaz — But to your greater point, yes, this is what people are doing. They’re buying a copy…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Mark DeYmaz — …for every one of their elders, every one of their staff…

Rich Birch — Yep.

Mark DeYmaz — …and they’re walking it through, and reading it through because frankly in that book I also talked about the entirety of the three-legged stool.

Rich Birch — Right.

Mark DeYmaz — But but more than that it’s beyond the economics of the all, it’s really about freeing your mind. In fact, there’s an entire chapter called Free your Mind.

Rich Birch — Yes, love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And and even if you your thing wasn’t economics, it will drive you to think differently, and ultimately about the Twenty-first century.

Rich Birch — Yeah, love it. Appreciate you, Mark. Thank you so much for your leadership. Thanks for your encouragement today. Where do we want to send people online if we want them to track with you or with the church or with Mosaix Global, or where do we want to send them?

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, the best way and and that’s what we do and I appreciate bringing it up – mosaix.info m o s a i x dot info – we are literally helping churches, organizations—my next call in 15 minutes as was a very large global organization—but again Mosaix has products and services, people to help you build healthy multi-ethnic, socially just, culturally intelligent, financially sustainable churches. That’s what we do day in and day out.

Rich Birch — Love it.

Mark DeYmaz — And and it’s kind of like you just pick one – hey we want to work on our economics, or we want to work on our cultural intelligence, or we’re looking to hire diverse staff. So we have different departments, if you will, that will help you with any one of these angles or aspects you’re looking to move your church forward into the Twenty-first century and move away from Twentieth century metrics.

Rich Birch — So good.

Mark DeYmaz — Again to be healthy, not only survive and be sustainable ultimately sustainable for the sake of the gospel going forward in the century.

Rich Birch — So good. Appreciate you, sir. Thank you so much. Thanks for being on the show and all encouragement to you. I look forward to hearing about that donation coming in from ah you know the gift. That’s so good.

Mark DeYmaz — Yeah, you will pray with us. Thanks so much for having me, Rich.

Rich Birch — Take care, brother.

1 Comment

  1. We’ve dabbled in this with an event center and a pre-school, but this episode has my mind reeling with possibilities! Loved it so much. Thanks, Rich, for continuing to bring great minds and ideas to the Church.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.