The Church Building
The church building has long been the gathering place of communities throughout the US. I am immensely thankful for our own facility that continues to near completion. But with every finished project, I have to temper my growing attachment to the brick and mortar (or metal and drywall in our case) with the reality of our mission. Our goal was not to move to a new town and build a facility. There are development companies that do that with excellence every day. Our goal is to further the Kingdom of God by building a gathering of living and breathing people. Here are some of my observations as we are in the middle of the building project:
You cannot love the building that houses the church and the people that make up the church to their fullest. If you do end up with a love for the location that is the building, you will naturally come to despise the people that use it. All of a sudden, their needs are simply a drain on the quality of the facilities. Their desires to change a function of the building are assumed errant before they can ever explain themselves. In short, this is why many of our generational churches are failing: they have fallen in love with property and lost sight of people.
We should have a healthy disdain for the structures we meet in. Yes, we appreciate them, but they are simply a tool. I recently heard a member of another church tell me about how they thought they would have to find a new church soon to attend since theirs was falling down. It sounds like it certainly is. If this is the mentality of our gatherings, we will fail when a fire or flood takes the facility away. I think the truth lies in scriptures about the early church - they met wherever and whenever, and they met often.
I really am excited about our new building, and I know those that gather here with us will be as well. I stay up late thinking about design and aesthetics. I just want to make sure that I lose just as much sleep thinking about those who need the Gospel in our community as well.