Buildings and grounds can be leveraged to support a church’s mission—and to extend its presence in the community.
The point is, I wonder if this might be a time to remember that God was present in the temple and the tabernacle. I love architecture. I love soaring structures and hope we can find uses for them. But I also realize that they have become a tremendous burden for many congregations to do the sort of love-your-neighbor work that they long to do. Are we moving into a moment when we need those tent pegs in order to be led where God wants us?
When I, along with a friend and colleague, started planting a new church in Chicago about five years ago, we had lots of ideas about how to do church, but one thing was certain: we wanted to do church differently. Lots of church planters have the same mission. We told other existing churches that we weren’t in competition with them—we wanted to attract people who, for whatever reason, would never set foot in a narthex. In other words, we didn’t want our church to be too. . . . churchy.
“These old buildings are well made and historic,” my real estate agent friend interjected. “Surely we can think of new uses for them.”
"The church is not a building," says the song. Yet most churches have walls, a basement, and decades of accumulated accoutrements.
When did we stop taking church architecture seriously? Christians used to devote themselves to building projects that lasted over a hundred years. Not anymore.