At the 25th anniversary of the congregation I was serving I posed the question “What if we sold our building and started over?”
For some this question came as a real shock. “How could anyone suggest getting rid of the very thing we have worked so hard to get?”
My question though, came out of an observation about congregations and their development. I noticed that when a congregation first starts their is a tremendous energy and zeal for mission. However, as the congregation grows someone eventually says, “Let’s build” and in those two words mission becomes eventually supplanted by the word “institution.”
Now I’m not anti-building, but I believe we need to recognize the curse that these structures bring alongside the blessing. If we are to keep our buildings and work for the renewal and transformation of our communities how can we lessen the curse of institutionalization and increase the blessing of mission through them? If we cannot then let’s sell our buildings and start all over.
But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says,
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord,
or what is the place of my rest?
Did not my hand make all these things?”
– Acts 7:47-50
That’s the kind of question that really gets you to thinking. It makes us think about our priorities. Mission and Kingdom work over institution and personal kingdoms; not the other way around.