Church Buildings Suck!

…….Or that’s at least what so many say. Churches waste way too many resources on buildings! If they didn’t have that building, they could sow into the poor, the homeless, the local school, insert pet project here! This presupposes, of course, that the church isn’t doing anything for these causes within their buildings, and that a building in and of itself isn’t necessary or providing any valuable function. So, let me start by shedding some basic understanding. Heb.10:25 tells us not to forsake assembling together as believers. That means that we have to go somewhere. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but we could go to someone’s house, couldn’t we! We could, but I don’t have anyone in my church who could accommodate all 200 of us and it would sure be a shame to miss the full corporate fellowship because we had to break up into smaller groups. Plus, have you seen what children can do to a home when they are all shoe horned into a small space?! The little piranhas would devour everything in site! Ok, so I am exaggerating a little bit, but you get the point. I’m not here to position the larger church model against the smaller home church model. Both are great models and each person has to decide what’s going to work best for them. I’m simply here to address the constant murmuring about church buildings themselves somehow being satan’s (yes, I refuse to capitalize his name) instrument for the destruction of communities and the de-funding of real ministry. As we have already established, the church has to meet somewhere. That being said, I suppose the suggestion is that we should build (assuming one is ok with meeting outside of someone’s home) a building as cheap and basic as humanly possible, so as to funnel a larger amount of funds towards other initiatives deemed more worthy. I suppose in some ways that sounds good on the surface. I mean, who wouldn’t want to better serve their community and those in need? But I just don’t think that holds up to scrutiny. Here’s what I mean. We have a tendency to put on the church what we ourselves aren’t willing to do. For example, it is said that pastors should live at poverty and give all of their money away. Until recently, this was a fairly common view, one that has even been spoken over me in recent history. But a pastor is simply a Christian with a call to shepherd and equip other Christians. If a pastor is modeling a certain behavior, it is to be emulated by those who are following them. So if you expect your pastor to live at poverty and give all of his income away, you had better follow in suit. Whoa, don’t get crazy now! I have to drive a decent car and I don’t want to live in a dump! Ah, now this is the double standard that I am talking about. We can justify living in a $250,000 home and driving not one, but two $25,000+ vehicles, but we impose on the church that it shouldn’t be more than a shack, that it can be positioned to give more to the poor. Before you get too frustrated with me, humbly think this through as it relates to your own life. Let’s be honest, you could cut some corners and give more to the poor. I know you can! If the church bought into this model and created the cheapest and most basic place to worship God together in, the truth is that it wouldn’t be very attractive to the general populous. People wouldn’t want to come and they wouldn’t want to stay there. Don’t believe me? Statistically speaking, if a church’s bathrooms aren’t remodeled and up to snuff, most people won’t come back. Welcome to 2020! But I think there is more to be said than “we need to make a good first impression”. A building can create legacy, leave an inheritance, and drive in a kingdom flag of occupancy, declaring to the natural and spiritual community that we are here to stay. I recently drove by a church that caught my attention in Westport, MO. It was one of those old stone cathedrals with the large steps driving right up to the front door. The cornerstone said that it was built in 1920. This church was planted in this community and was still standing in all of its beauty 100 years later. If bathrooms make a statement to new visitors, what does something like this say to the community? And that’s my point. Buildings are more than just a financial black hole or a simple place to gather. They are part of the inheritance that we get leave for the next generation, an inheritance that says, “we are leaving you better off that we started”; They are a statement to the forces of darkness that we are here and that we aren’t going anywhere; And they are a statement to the community that there are people here who care and who can help, a place where you can find peace and refuge, even a place where you can meet with God Himself. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking if God is the God of a thousand hills of cattle, He can probably provide for a wonderful meeting space and cover the needs of the people all at the same time. Last I read, He was still the limitless beyond I can ask or speak God!

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