Indeed, a church is not a building, but a church being “more” than the building may not tell the whole story. What is ministry like without a building? Dan Kimball, in a recent article explores this question. I clip a few of his lines and ask you to respond:
If you had asked me eight years ago what I thought about church buildings, I would have said, “Who needs a building? The early church didn’t have buildings, and we don’t need them either!” But I was wrong.
My anti-building phase was a reaction to having seen so much money spent on church facilities, often for non-essential, luxury items. I was also reacting to a philosophy of ministry that treated church buildings like Disneyland; a place consumers gather for entertainment. But these abuses had caused me to unfairly dismiss the potential blessing of buildings as well.
Just yesterday I was in The Abbey and saw about 20 people, not part of our congregation, studying and hanging out. (During finals week I counted 90 students packed into the place.) While there I talked to a brand new Christian who has been coming to our gatherings. He found out about our church from a Buddhist friend. His friend loves coming to The Abbey and recommended our church because he trusted us.
We’ve also used our building to serve our community in times of crisis. When wildfires forced nearby residents to flee their homes, our building became an overnight refuge for those without a place to stay.
These missional opportunities would not be possible without a building….
So, I have recanted from my earlier belief that buildings drain resources and create consumer Christians. I was wrong. Now I see them as missionary centers to impact lives for the gospel.