Some of our buildings are used extensively. Every day the building is used: by the church itself, by community groups, by folks who rent the building at low cost. But some of our buildings are barely opened apart from Sunday morning, and those churches end up using much of their funds for the upkeep of their buildings. What if we sold them? Or found a way to make better use of them? “Use it or lose it”? (I know that’s not possible in all settings…small rural communities in particular. Our churches there may be the only building dedicated to worship and prayer. So then the “use it” part becomes more important.) Money could be used for salaries for people doing mission. Or our buildings could be hubs of community activity….the goal being to have the buildings used, and drop any fees if that’s the barrier to their use in the community.
But even more than good stewardship of our buildings, maybe we need house churches: the small communities that through trust, accountability, and the abounding power of the Spirit transform our lives. Sometimes people go to worship and make no connection with a wider group. And some people like it that way (my sister being one…Hi, sweetie! Yes, I’m talking about you.). And that can and does feed people (my sister being one). But I wonder what is missing: a community of support when things are rough, people who know you well enough to challenge you when you’re being selfish, people who remind you not to put yourself down and celebrate you as you are, people to ask you to help them and the people they love (mission to the world….), people to love you. And that’s one of the things I wish most for the church. Are house churches a better way to do that?
See also Tim’s post on August 25: What if…we sold our buildings?