Sunday, July 5, 2009

No More Church Buildings!

It's a sin to have so many church buildings.

I've been holding back because I don't want to hurt the feelings of good people who have done what they knew to serve God. I know people who have given their hard earned money and I've known a few who gave their earnest hard work so their church could have a nice building.

However, I am sickened that we would rather spend millions of dollars to have a place to eat fried chicken, play basketball, and drink gourmet coffee than do the real work of the Lord.

I'd like to see a church begin a campaign to raise millions of dollars to feed hungry children. Or we could send dozens of missionaries to spread the gospel in Muslim nations. Or build small homes for the poor in Mexico. Or serve free lunches to the children of the working poor in our community. Or buy back children in Sudan who were sold as slaves. Or build orphanages and schools. Or fund a charity health agency.

Aren't we already doing these things, too? Yes, but our efforts are anemic. We have a few hardy souls who have kept their focus on God's will, but we groan when they come to church to ask for money. We'll give them a couple of hundred, while we spend 200,000 on the electrical system of a gym we'll use a few times a month.

The one thing that slows down my momentum here is that I've known people who sacrificed greatly to build a building for God, not for themselves. I think God honors those people for their efforts. And I'll admit that a church building can be a haven for harassed people who need a place to worship God.

But let's call it like it is. We usually build a building not as a monument to God, but to ourselves and our loved ones.

Don't agree? Then what's with all the little gold plaques on the stain glass windows, kitchen cabinets, marque signs, and furniture? They honor other people. They never say these items were given as a gift to God in honor of Jesus.

Buildings make us feel successful. We fool ourselves into thinking we've accomplished something. We distract ourselves from contemplating the dreadful thought that we don't know why we exist, other than to maintain ourselves.

However, the fancy buildings aren't even doing that . Churches continue to decline in North America. But we sure have big buildings. They saddle us with debt. They riddle us with stupid conflicts that never get resolved. They make us focus on bills and repairs rather than wounded souls and hungry children.

I've served several churches that were so mired in a building project they couldn't focus on anything else—including Jesus. I did not have the wisdom, courage, or strength to change the momentum of these projects. Instead, I focused on getting them completed and paid for, so we could go on to the real business of the church.

I can't think of how to do without a church building entirely. However, it needs to be a headquarters for doing good things. And while it can be a pleasant place, it doesn't have to be expensive, and should never be the reason for our existence.

4 comments:

  1. Yes and yes! I attended a few services for a time that were hosted in a cheaply rented store front. It made so much more sense. When I attended a service is a CHURCH building, there are less that 50% of the seats filled. yet they take a collection to pay the bills. heating and lighting that place must be a fortune! And in this time, this place 2013, USA, everybody's heard of Jesus. We are no longer evangelizing. We are re-churching the de-churched. And each group seems to just come up with some new gimmick to to grab more members/ attendees from another Christian group. Its just keeps them all busy doing BS, instead of actually having a positive affect on their community. The member shuffle, I call it. I believe new church start-ups, or even existing groups should be a little more realistic, instead of building multi-million dollar facilities, with coffee shops,gyms and all that stuff. Makes me want to go in and flip tables. This is ironically something I learned from a bible story I was taught. Sorry for the rant. :)

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    1. Think I've heard that story. Feel free to rant anytime :)

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