Tuesday, May 14, 2019 -
One thing that has always grieved me is the enormous amount of money Christians pour into their church building programs. But I can understand the economic need to do this at times. For example, the church Kathie and I are a part of was donated property on which to build, and the mortgage to construct a facility would cost less monthly than what they currently pay for rent. This makes sense. But it has always grieved me that most church buildings are utilized only part of the week and for the most part sit empty the rest of the week. If I were God (and I dare not to be that presumptuous), the amount of money tied up in church buildings, while so many have never one time heard the Gospel message, and 53% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day, it would cause me to truly question the church’s priorities. If someone earns $4000 a month, that’s 100 times more than the average person on this planet!
No example could be more demonstrative than the cost of repairing the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after the recent fire – an estimated $8 billion U.S. dollars! The national landmark, granted, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, with 35,000 visitors a day, which many explain how over $1 billion was raised within the first 48 hours for repairs. Yet, I contend it will never be the same!
What saddens me, even more, is when large church buildings become monuments to certain personalities, and there is little, if any, outreach to the needy in the local community. Our church buildings could conceivably double for many various ministry outreach programs, and the fact that most do not have always greatly bothered me.
I have to wonder if we truly should be returning to the model we find in Acts. Meet in small groups in homes, and periodically come together within a geographical area to worship together, even if it is at an outdoor venue. We wouldn’t even need buildings, the church could grow at exponential rates, and the amount we spend on buildings could be utilized for evangelistic efforts, including reaching out to the marginalized and downtrodden, and reaching the unreached for Christ throughout the world. Discipleship, which is necessary for creating an army of new church (small group) leaders, or pastors, would be a necessary by-product! It’s why the early church took off as it did. We may just have it all wrong in our modern culture today.