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An interesting viewpoint on church buildings

July 23, 2013

“What church do you go to?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion, and I have offered the same request of others. The language implies a place or destination related to where one chooses to gather with others for worship on Sundays.

Of course, the church is not the building but rather the people of God, and as such the location is not as important as the individuals who gather there. However, the appearance of the building does communicate certain things about the church who gathers there.

Our church meets in a building that has beautiful stones and stained glass windows. It is located near a university. It is interesting to hear the comments of those who enter our building for first time. As a Baptist church, in particular, iit is informative to listen to the observations about the split chancel, high ceilings, and the Lord’s Supper table located in the center of the chancel. It was constructed several years ago, and I’ve often wondered what its appearance communicates to the multiple generations gathering in its space.  

Having read multiple articles and books about what people look for in a church, I was intrigued by this article which indicates a shift in thinking relating to where people want to worship. In short, the author suggests a move toward gathering in “a church that looks like a church.” There are other viewpoints which would contradict this position, but as a pastor of a church that meets in a “church that looks like a church” I found this interesting.

Sometimes I hear criticism about how much money is spent on the building itself. I understand it and I get it too. There are always extremes to be avoided. It is an easy criticism to levy against the church. But, once a congregation has a meeting place, they should do what they can to take care of their facility. This communicates a message that this is an important place to meet God as the people of God. 

I don’t want to spend all my time focused on a building, and don’t. But upon reading this article, thought about being grateful for a sacred space to gather and how symbols can teach and inform.

 

 

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