I was having a conversation with a church leader and asked if they had considered selling their building. I asked primarily because in this case the building is more of a financial burden than it is anything else yet in my mind the question is about more than finances. It was a short conversation but what really bothered me was his answer. He said they had been told if they didn’t have a building they would not be able to be a witness to the gospel in the city. In other words, you need to hold on to your building if you are going to be the church.
That seems wrong to me.
I am not advocating against church buildings. I am simply asking if it is true that churches need a building.
Are church buildings overrated? Could it be that we often give them more importance than they deserve? They can certainly serve a purpose and be useful in some cases and at some point, but are they necessary? I would argue that, in many cases, church buildings are more of a hinderance to discipleship and the furthering of the gospel. Of course, it is more than the simple matter of a building. It is a much bigger and deeper matter of understanding who we are as the church and what are calling is in the city. Yet, the building is often one of those things that can quickly throw us off track while keeping us busy serving it and the programs that happen inside.
What do you think? Do you agree? Why or why not?
Next I’ll post some reasons why I think we shouldn’t be too quick to want a building and suggest what I think are better ways of rooting ourselves in our communities.