WHY DO YOU NEED A CHURCH BUILDING?

Can you believe it? It makes no sense to me, but A CHURCH IN DALLAS WANTS TO BUILD MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BUILDING IN ORDER TO “KEEP UP” WITH OTHER CHURCHES IN THE AREA (and they still owe 9 million on the one they’ve got).

I just had to share a story with you that makes no sense to me. I’m not anti-church building, but building a church building just to keep up with other churches is stupid!

  • Build it when you out grow the one you’ve got.
  • Build it when you wear out the one you have.
  • Build it when there is no other church in the area.
  • BUT DON’T build it just because you need to keep up with other churches. That’s got to make the Lord so happy.

I personally think some church buildings are the most under used buildings in the community when they are only used on Sundays and Wednesdays. What are some ways your church uses it’s building to reach out to the community?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
23 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Falantedios says:

    We’re a distribution center for Angel Food Ministries. That’s it.

  2. Shane Coffman says:

    AA meets here on Tuesday and Friday evenings.

    The Neighborhood Watch group meets here monthly.

    We have a food pantry open on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings.

    We have a community foster parenting class that meets here on Wednesday mornings each week.

    We have a Spanish congregation that meets here on Sunday afternoons.

    We hosted the back-to-school blast for the neighborhood elementary school last year!

    We also have a Fall Festival each year that the neighborhood is invited to.

    We allow non-members to use our facility for funerals and weddings if other events aren’t already booked.

    We housed a few people during the ice storm last December. We would have to make a lot of facility upgrades to meet specs to be an official Red Cross shelter, though, so that probably isn’t viable right now.

    I think all of that is a great start…I’m happy that the place doesn’t sit idle most of the week, and that it is being used by folks with no other connection to our church. But the door is certainly open to new ideas and ways to be a good neighbor to our community.

    …as is probably the case with other churches, we have so much going on that many times the building is left unlocked…so who knows what other “events” happen in here without our knowledge πŸ˜‰

  3. Brie says:

    One of our elder’s wives runs a community women’s bible study on Monday nights. We’re in kinda rural area, and this has brought several women in who otherwise probably wouldn’t have had much involvement with church.

    We’re part of the Interfaith Hospitality Network, a group of area churches that all work together to help homeless folks get on their feet and in a home of their own. We each take a week at a time and rotate weeks. Families come in, and the different churches provide a room for them to sleep in at night, meals to eat, and a chance to have some fellowship. The program has a day center where they go during the day (so the kids can get picked up at a HOUSE! for school), get help finding a job, work on their interview skills, and concentrate on getting their lives put back together. For the time that they are in the program, they don’t have living expenses, so they can save up to get in a place. The success rate in getting folks employed and housed is better than 95%, which is awesome. It takes lots of volunteers to run, and takes up the building for a week.

    Wow, that was long. Sorry!

  4. Darin L. Hamm says:

    Trey,

    Thanks for the link. I was struck with that last comment about competing with the megachurches but I also understand where he is coming from. The fact that megachurch has become one word says a lot.

    At least he was honest. We seem to be measuring success not by how much we look like Jesus but instead by how much we look like other churches. I have a blog post in my queue on this.

    What services do you offer is a constant refrain in my world. I don’t run into a lot of people who care what you use the building for as long as some of it is focused on them and is done well and keeps everyone entertained.

    We have a medical ministry for the uninsured each month. A tops group uses it and an area baseball team will hold a meeting tomorrow night. We will do dentistry from our parking lot and at back to school time it becomes a hair salon.

    We have a clothes closet for those in need and we are teaching job skills to those who are under employed. Throw in some tutoring for kids who are struggling and we tend to keep things hopping.

    But again no one ever asks me about these things or even sticks around when they get involved with them. No, they want to know what services we offer them and so I understand what the guy is saying. Not saying I agree but I certainly see why.

  5. preacherman says:

    Trey,
    I believe we don’t need church builds. The first century churches worship in homes and houses. I believe we need to be more emerging. In Dan Kimball’s book: “The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations” Rick Warren says, “What the New Testament church did not have wer church buildings- for nearly three three hundred years! That’s why at Saddleback church we waited until we had over ten thousand in attendance before we built our first church building. We wanted to prove that the church is people, not a building. If you want to be a truely vintage church, don’t build a building!”

    I think spending millions on Church Buildings is a waste of God’s money. I think about how many missionaries that could support. I think of how many churches that could start. I think of how many poor that could help. I think of how many sick that could minister too. I think about how that church could really be the church of the 21st century making a difference in the world.

    I think we need to understand that the world is changing and the way we do ministry must change. We be relational. Dan Kimball says, “While many of us have been preparing sermons and keeping busy with the internal affairs of our churches, something on the outside has changed. What once was a Christian nation with Judeo-Christian worldview is quickly becoming a post-Christian, unchurch, unreached nation. Tom CLegg and Warren Bird in their book Lost In America claim that the unchurched population of the United states is now the largest mission field in the English-speaking world, and the fifth largest globally. New generations are arising all around us without any Christian influence. So we must rethink vertually everything we are doing in our ministries.”

    Many believe that Christianity is a man-made organized religion.
    Christians are close-minded, judgemental people.
    Christians are arrogant to think they alone have the only true religion.
    There is a new wave of change that we need to understand and study. We as minister must reach this generation where they are and understand that programs aren’t working. We must understand that seeker friendly services aren’t reaching this generation.

    We must understand as minister no matter how the culture or church ministry changes, Jesus never changes.

    Mega Churches are in almost every town but statistical data, researcher George Barna provides some critical observations:

    *OUt of all age groups, those ages 18-32 are the least like to describe themselves as religious, as Christian, or as committed Christians.
    *You adults today in the US see the most open to exploring faiths other than Christianity.
    *Young adults are avoiding church: Church attendance is declining by generation.
    *Compared with teens throughout the past twenty years, todays teennagers have the lowest likelihood of attending church when they are living independantly of their parents.
    *The data regarding young adults also pose the paossiblity that churches are losing ground int terms of influence and may need to consider new approaches.

    The question that I have are we willing to chage the way we worship, experience God, reachout to this generation? Or are we going to continue to waiste money on churches that only the Babyboomers will attend with lack of commitment and be lost in the crowd. That is if people feel comfortable enough to go inside the building itself.

    I suggst that every minister buy and read this book. Again it is Dan Kimball “The Emerging Church: Vintage Christianity for New Generations.”

    I pray that we will become more missional and be more wise with the Lord money.

    Trey, God bless you brother for this wonderful post.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  6. Philip Murphy says:

    wow.

    while our church lacks an official building to call home… I’m not jealous of the building arms race. Does the Tower of Babel ring a bell?

  7. TREY MORGAN says:

    I’m enjoying hearing what people are using their buildings for. It’s good to know that when we invest that much money into something … we’re using it 7 days a week.

  8. Jeff Foster says:

    Trey, great post, as usual.

    Churches that put much more emphasis on bricks and mortar than on genuine ministry, evangelism, and benevolence have become more business than church. Change a few titles and phrases in the FBC-Dallas article and it could be easily confused for a Fortune 500 strategy session.

    Buildings can be useful, and even a great tool for ministry, but once churches start slashing (or cutting altogether) mission budgets to pay for them, something is terribly wrong . . . and I can’t help but think there will be an accounting for these decisions someday. To bring a missionary from off of the field to build a gymnasium is a most ungodly thing to do.

    Just one more thought: Does anyone think that once this state-of-the-art megachurch structure is built that the membership demographics of FBC-Dallas are going to change much. Much of the rationale given in the article is to have a modern presence in the heart of downtown Dallas, but I would venture to say the new building will speak of an affluency that will make most in the inner-city uncomfortable to attend. The effort is not to go into the inner-city as “one of” the locals and thus effect ministry in a peer-relationship setting, but it is to build a multi-million dollar modern edifice that will somehow “Wow” people into coming to church. Somehow, I am missing the logic.

  9. preacherman says:

    Trey,
    We use are building of course for worship but we also host Boy Scouts, AA which is a wonderful ministry. Please pray for me tonight I am goig over to a members house to confront her with her addiction. Over the past year she has gone through a divorce (not the unforgivable sin :-) ). She has been taking Ambien and going to mexico to get cheap alcohol and pain pills and more Ambien. So, this ministry has been a blessing to us. I thought about of course having His Needs/Her Needs…Financial Planning Seminars. I have also though about starting a mens group that struggles with internet addiction, porn addiction, and men who want to become straight. I pray that God’s will be with us as we start these ministries.

  10. preacherman says:

    Trey,
    By the way it is not a multi-million dollar building. It is old church that has a few pews that we just got from anothe church and has the old bucket seats. Yet God is blessing us which is so wonderful. His Holy Spirit is amazing!

  11. blogprophet says:

    back home and catching up with blogs.

    who are these members?? I know a congregation where they have a great opportunity to buy an joining property for badly needed parking space. if they don’t buy it, they will lose a few badly needed spaces because the current owner lets them use it on sundays. even if they plan to one day buy or build somewhere else this will increase property value.

    some people in some churches don’t want to spend money to make needed safety additions, or repairs

    who are the members in this church blindly giving their money and spending it this way.

    I bet a 2.8 million building there was a sermon series with the word “Vision” in it somewhere along the way.

  12. preacherman says:

    Brian,
    I like what your saying brother!

  13. WendyC says:

    my new church http://www.northsidechurch.org.au is a purpose built conference centre as well as a church. It’s used Mon-Sat for conferences. Wonderful concept! (It’s a great church!!!!)

  14. Brandon Voss says:

    How about having Church in a tent? Worked for Jesus!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ours is on the verge of condemnation. I wish it was up to code enough to offer to the community. The girl scouts won’t even meet there anymore. I am church treasurer and we can barely make our mortgage now. I can’t even imagine being able to build a new building. Some people just don’t realize their blessings!

  16. Brandon Voss says:

    Blessed Are The Meak and Weary!

  17. Timbra Wiist Owner/Photographer says:

    Currently once/month we have a community food co op that is distributed out of our building, we’re actually in process of building an auditorium, but we fit the criteria. . .we’ve outgrown it and sometimes we FEEL like we’re the only “church” around (few and far between are the congregations here and it seems like more close their doors each month :(

  18. Lightening says:

    Interesting article although I noticed they also mentioned the desire to make the building more appealling to a younger generation. It’s sad that “keeping up with the Joneses” seems to have infiltrated our churches as much as our society.

    Our church building is the one and only building in the middle of nowhere. A town was supposed to be built there but the plans never eventuated because of deaths in the second world war. It’s an interesting story. So we’re fairly unique as the church is kind of considered as the central point of the whole community. In fact, the church yard is the bus stop for many of the kids in the community and for some a place to change from one bus to another.

    We have hopes and plans to build a little bit of a “rest” area for travellers when we get our new toilets built. We’ll see what happens.

    Some weeks it only gets used on a Sunday (the actual building) but many weeks it gets used for other purposes as well. Kids birthday parties, youth group, sleep overs, music practise, weddings, funerals and community celebrations.

    And the highlight of the year is our strawberry fete where most of the community turn out (and participate) in a strawberry and ice cream dessert followed by a concert with a variety of acts. At times we’ve wondered about not holding this event as we’re a smallish country church (although growing) but it seems to mean a LOT to the non-church goers in our community so we’ve kept going with it.

  19. Dwight Whitsett says:

    Ah..the church building dilemma! Buildings can be an advantage or they can become a liability.
    *They can place a barrier between us and those who need to hear the message.
    *They can deflect funds from our work of seeking and saving the lost.
    *They can be the source of “ownership” issues that produce discord and division.
    *They reflect our over-emphasis on assemblies at the expense of the major part of our faith and practice…walking, talking and being salt and light in the footsteps of Jesus.
    The question must be asked: “Do buildings enhance our ability to follow Christ or hinder it?
    I think many of us counsel churches who must build something to build a community center that everyone can use and reserve it for assembly on Lord’s Days. Charge something to help with maintenance. BUT GET OUT OF THE BUILDINGS AND INTO THE STREETS! dwhitsett.wordpress.com

  20. Mommysmart says:

    Trey,

    Were you in our home Sunday afternoon around 3:00? Just kidding. We were having this conversation. I found it fascinating that I came to your blog to find this topic.

    I am also an advocate of opening that church building all week to as many ministries as our minds can comprehend. It seems like a church building can often be very intimidating to a visitor. Why do we not do this more?

    I enjoyed this post and all of the comments!

    Monica

  21. Falantedios says:

    How condescending is it to imagine that “what the new generation” wants is a flashy new hi-tech building?

    What kind of Cross-Vision is a congregation using to see their community, that that is the answer they come up with?

    All this while we’ve borrowed over a million dollars to renovate our building. Don’t throw stones, right?

    UGH.

    I wish I had the guts to listen to Kinney.

  22. Jeanne M. says:

    We are building a new building in our area (in a new neighborhood) because the state is widening the road and will take almost all of our parking area, and we have no room to park anywhere else.

    Because of moving to new area, we are already planning ways the building can be used most effectively more than three times a week, although we have done more than that for many years. The ideas presented here are good, and will be given to the elders/deacons for their consideration. One thing I wish to start is a “Conversational English Using the Bible” class since we have so many immigrants, including the Spanish congregation which meets at the same time we do.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know if anyone will read this, but, all negative possibilities aside, and I hear them Dwight, downtown Dallas is growing a new life. I read a lot of hope in the article. They are trying to build new facilities because the old ones from the 1800’s need it. Do I have reservations about spending millions on new buildings? YES! Is it a reality in our culture? I think so. A tent or a tree works in some places, other cultures. The key to me is in the further use.

    One aside: Be careful about letting another religion like AA use your building.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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