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.