Why maintain a church building? I’m not condemning those who do, I’m just asking why. Is it really necessary? Is it the best meeting environment for the Lord’s church? Why not meet from house to house as described in the Bible? I think these are valid questions as I don’t think God wants Christians to practice blind obedience to the traditions of men.
Those accustomed to modern denominations have a hard time imagining a highly relational home church because they imagine formal church in a home. Forget it. If you want authenticity, try turning off all of your preconceived ideas and taking a fresh look at the New Testament.
If holding title to property and maintaining a building were the ideal situation and best meeting environment, don’t you think God would have mentioned something to that effect in the New Testament, the blueprint for His church? Somebody help me out; I haven’t found any such idea.
Church Buildings Are An Unnecessary Expense
Jesus said to go make disciples, baptize them, and continue to teach them to observe all that He commanded. He did not say to go buy real estate, build buildings, put a sign out front, and entertain visitors in hopes they drop something in the offering plate.
Billions of people around the world lack nutrition and lack the gospel while churches keep their investments in real estate. Many do just enough good works to create a facade as they build their portfolios and legacies based on worldly wisdom. How many billions of dollars have been spent acquiring and maintaining church properties?
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Why not invest those billions in helping the 1/3 of the world’s population who have never heard the gospel? Did Jesus pay the ultimate price for acres of land or for the souls of men?
Why Won’t They Change?
Some wise guy once told me that reforming entrenched institutions won’t work because of the power brokers who have something to lose. What’s required is an exodus and a new start. With sincere intentions I ran some experiments and found this advice to be accurate.
Look at Jesus’ example and how He exposed the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 23 and other places and you’ll see that power and control is one of the biggest motivators of organized religion. They killed Jesus for it. Don’t be surprised when they persecute you.
God has always had more confidence in common people than any religious bureaucracy has ever had. The word of God was written for common people. Those who want to control people have a hard time with the idea of meeting from house to house. What really scares these guys is people discovering that they don’t need a ‘professional’ in order to connect with God.
Churches get further away from an environment conducive to meaningful relationships the larger they get. Cramming lots of people under the dominion of a religious bureaucracy is not the goal of Christianity. The professional entertainment system invented by church-growth gurus:
Requires lots of money for salaries and buildings
Compare this to the humble New Testament church that met from house to house in a simple, relaxed, real life environment. They spread the gospel all over the world. Each one had a psalm, a teaching, an exhortation. Mutual edification, accountability, and genuine relationships were expected.
A formal, almost rigid atmosphere resides in church buildings. This likely has roots in the erroneous idea that the building is a holy place. It leads to a split lifestyle: holy in the holy place and profane everywhere else. Makes me think of the supposedly godly nations of modern America and ancient Israel. Jesus called the Israelites hypocrites. Hypocrite means actor; someone who puts on a show.
Anyone who’s honest will acknowledge that church as most know it is not producing the desirable fruit described in the New Testament. Continuing to practice church as most know it will only produce more of church as most know it. It has been tweaked, repackaged, and sold a zillion different ways, but the various brands of organized religion taste pretty much the same.
Christianity is a way of life, not a series of religious events. Life doesn’t happen at an orchestrated religious performance. Life happens every day and is composed of meaningful relationships. Instead of compartmentalizing it, why not bring Christianity home? You, your family, and everyone else in your life will benefit.