Start them young. For most weeks over the past eight months we have met together at Starbucks—David Rudie, his son Beckham (the Beckman), and me. David and I would meet for discipleship and Beckham would pretend he was interested. He is such a great kid! This past week was our last time to meet together like this as David has taken the position of a full time youth pastor at the Topeka Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. For the past three and a half years David and Julie have poured their hearts, time, energy, and resources into the ministry here at Valley Community Church. They have significantly invested in the whole church—particularly the youth and young couples. While doing all this they have at the same time been working secular jobs and raising a family. We are so thankful for them and for what they have contributed to our church family. While we are sad to see them leave, we are also happy for their new opportunity! So, we are praying that God will bless their future endeavors in Kansas as well as fill in the gaps here at our church in Colorado. Thank you, David, Julie, and Beckham. We love you and you will be greatly missed. We look forward to crossing paths many times in the future. Keep discipling at Starbucks! The great commission is fulfilled one life at a time.
Is this your church? No, but that is where we meet for corporate worship. It is one of many places we meet during the week. We gather in homes, coffee shops, public buildings, parks, and restaurants. Our church, Valley Community of Louisville, Colorado, doesn’t own a building but this doesn’t seem to slow us down or keep us from doing what we are called to do. In many ways it is a freeing position to be in!
Understandably, there are many advantages to owning a building, and in the right circumstances we would gladly welcome that prospect. But,there are also a number of downsides to the large, attractive, and strategically placed buildings we call “church”. Here are a few things to consider:
First, the launching of financial campaigns, purchasing of land, building of buildings, and maintaining them consumes an incredible amount of time, energy, and valuable resources. Quite often it becomes the primary focus of the ministry.
Second, while most of us acknowledge that the church is not the building but the gathering of God’s people, we can begin to function as though the church really is the building. When that happens we begin to drift from our focus on people and give more attention to facilities and programs. It is an easy thing to do.
Third, we can also come to see the church building as a safe place to go, a retreat and haven from the world…ahhh! But more and more we become disconnected from our neighbors – the very ones we were sent to reach. Slowly we create a comfortable sub-culture that ends up being salt and light closed up in a box.
Owning buildings can be a blessing, but they are not necessary. If your church is without a building, be content without your building. If God gives you one, fantastic. In the mean time focus on what matters most as the believers did in Acts 2:42-47. The early church ignited and expanded over the next three hundred years without owning buildings. The fastest growing churches in the world today are growing without the physical structures we have become accustomed to.
Here is my challenge to you – keep it all in perspective, and do not think that the Gospel is limited in any way because you don’t have a church building. Keep the eternal perspective and invest in people. They are the church.
How sweet it is to be back in the west and what a thrill to join David Rudie, Paul Ice, and Mike Durrill at Valley Community Church in Louisville, CO. I am now the newest pastor—but sadly, not the youngest! Mike planted this church three years ago and God has been doing amazing things since then. In his book Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby challenges us to find out where God is at work and then go join Him. That is what we believe we are doing.
Diane and I arrived last Thursday evening after a trek from Wisconsin. We have been impressed with the focus, philosophy, vision, and energy of these pastors and their wives; and now we just hope to contribute and build upon what God has already been doing. The Boulder Valley of Colorado is so ripe for a spiritual harvest and as we drive through this metro area, we are overwhelmed with the needs of hundreds of thousands of people.
Pray for us as we settle in. My role as one of the pastors will be to focus on the preaching and teaching of the Word as well as discipling men. We have started a series through Philippians on Sunday mornings entitled, “Joy in the Valley.” I am looking forward to communicating the truths that God has been working in us over the past five years. Diane also plans on investing in the lives of women through teaching and discipleship. We are now in a stage of life where we have more to give—and that is thrilling!
Below is a picture of me, Dave Rudie, Paul Ice, & Mike Durrill.