I love the community at Church Answers! We received this question from one of our Australian community members. With some minor changes to protect confidentiality, here is the question in full:
This may categorize as vastly different cultural norms, but as an Australian who has recently spent a few months in the US I couldn’t help but notice the amount of effort, and no doubt coin, churches seem to invest in floral arrangements. Many of these are fake flowers (and the church provides a storeroom or two for these to be housed) and many have fresh flowers, every single week.
I have nothing against flowers, in fact I love fresh flowers but it’s just not something we generally have in Australian churches, and certainly not on a regular basis. Coming from a church that has a very limited budget, where quite literally every dollar counts, the main objection I found myself having was in keeping first things first, wondering how the money invested into these ‘beautification projects’ were enhancing the presentation of the gospel to help save souls and further the kingdom?
Some arrangements were tasteful and lovely, and some not so (I realise beauty is subjective, but these fake flowers looked like they hadn’t aged very well at all in the last 20 years). I was given the impression that there were whole committees dedicated to this task and that it would cause great offence to perhaps a number of people to even suggest to have ‘less flowers’ so that funds might be used elsewhere (namely, I was thinking for outreach and evangelism purposes).
So, please forgive my ignorance, but can you help me understand more about church beautification and the emphasis on floral arrangements? Is it just a cultural norm and generally expected? Is it helpful in pointing church goers to Christ? And what’s been your experience if you have ever suggested to spend less money on flowers?
How Would Your Respond to Our Australian friend?
- Does your church spend time and money on flowers?
- Is it worth the time, money, and effort?
- Do you have some ugly fake flowers in your church?
- Do you have flower committees that spends more time on flowers than the church does on evangelism in the community?
- What other input do you have?
Outside Eyes and Stewardship
It is fascinating to hear from someone who has a totally outside perspective and wonders why many of our churches do what they do. In this case, the outsider seemed perplexed with our churches’ abundant emphasis on flowers.
How would you respond? Let me hear from you.