“Building” – A verb, not a noun for churches!

A blog I check out periodically called “Struggles with Faith” had a great posting that echoes our thinking at Jacob’s Well (see my April 2 post, “Irresistible Revolution – 2“) about the purpose of a building and WHO, not WHAT, the real ‘church’ is.  “Struggles'” posting is “Is God Done with the Church?”  Here is the link,

Two thoughts that it triggered in me that I want to add to Precarious Pastor are:

1. From both a conceptual and a practical perspective it may not make sense for churches – that is, communities who gather as a body to follow Christ – to have buildings.  Let the bricks & mortar of the temple continue to be the flesh &  blood of the sons and daughters of God.  (John 2.12-22)  I’ll throw this notion out to whoever is listening… er, reading… I’m sure to make someone mad with this…

To have a building should be the exception, not the norm.

Only churches who cannot meet the daily needs of their ministry through shared spaces should ‘resort’ to having their own.  The situation today is clearly the opposite.  Having a building is the norm and, in fact, legitimizes the church (or perhaps ‘the institution’).   I’d love to hear a congregation say, “Well, i’m afraid we’re going to have to do it… I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to build something.”

2. Churches should be 7 day a week communities.  (Anyone hear echoes of Lyle Schaller’s 1992 book, “The Seven-Day-A-Week Church”?) But the point isn’t to use your building 7 days a week (although if you have a building, I suppose you would feel like you need to in order to justify it.  Therefore go back to point #1).  The point is that the church (i.e. the people!) should be the church everyday, everywhere.  Those that claim that community as their checkpoint of growing towards God should see themselves as such all day, every day.  Not just half days on Sunday.

“Building” should be what churches do, not what they have.  A verb, not a noun.  Building faith, building character, building community, building bridges, building lives.  Building a building?  Only when you’ve exhausted all other options.

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4 responses to ““Building” – A verb, not a noun for churches!

  1. The more I get involved with Jacob’s Well as a community, the more I believe you on this point. I’ve wished a few times that we had the walls, which would provide a sanctuary of sorts from the rest of the world. I’m not saying we should block out the world, but there are times in my life I’ve needed a place to go—some sort of “shelter” from my life. Of course, I’ve not often found myself running to the church doors, but in those hard times it was nice to know the building was there for me. BUT NOW… I realize that although it might be harder, it is much more valuable and helpful to be WITH the church in those times. That doesn’t mean the silent moments of prayer aren’t there; it’s just that now I see they can probably be with others or even just with myself (harder) BEING the church. For me it truly is a much higher level of spirituality, something I am and will continue to grow into, forever. I’m not sure if that makes much sense, but I do feel like when we take the walls away literally, we do so figuratively as well.

  2. I agree with you to an extent. I don’t think a building makes the community, community is where you are, where ever you are, at the mall, at home, at school, you take community with you. Sometimes I think Churches want a place to do good as well, look at Holy Rosery in the Phillip’s neighborhood (I think), they house loaves and fishes there as well, it isn’t just a Church but a place where God can do his work for the poor families or homeless (less fortunate) of the area. Sometimes Churches are places where people meet to talk about their issues, AA, NA etc. Good can come out of a building if it is used to also build faith, hope, love, character and lives.

  3. Pingback: More on Churches and Buildings « Precarious Pastor

  4. Pingback: ‘Building a church’ or ‘A church building’? « Precarious Pastor

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