It is true that the church is not the building, the church is people. The building is simply the place where the church meets.
Nevertheless buildings are still important.
It was Winston Churchill who said in 1943
we shape our buildings and forever after they shape usThis is certainly true of church buildings. A small church near us has built a brand new building without a single window,that building will certainly shape the way in which they view the world outside their doors. Similarly,church buildings that are built behind big railings with fixed pews and forbidding entrances are whether consciously or not sending out a message to the world
nothing changes here.Churches that are allowed over decades to become unsafe with plaster falling off the walls,say something about how important,or otherwise, our faith is to us.Church buildings which fail to cater to the needs of children or the disabled are making a powerful statement about how the people in that church view those groups
All these thoughts and many more are in my mind because we have this week signed a contract to build a new church building in the centre of town.Its taken a very long time but we all feel pretty excited.
I hope the new building won't be protected by railings ,I hope it will make people feel welcome,I hope it will be light and bright, flexible and attractive.I hope it will be disabled friendly and child friendly. I hope it will have windows so people outside can see in and those inside can see out.
I believe God is on a mission and our task is to join Him on that mission
I believe the good news of Jesus is for everyone. Any building we build should reflect that
On a walk around town I saw several church buildings that have been converted to flats
Change can be very difficult and changing a building ,let alone rebuilding one from scratch, can be threatening for many people but if we persist in inhabiting church buildings that don't encourage us to see people as Jesus saw them and serve the world as Jesus did we are in trouble.
God is God of the whole world,if we are to have buildings they must reflect that great truth