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People trump buildings


This is in response to Gerald Harris’ enlightening article about pastor Frank Mercer and Rolling Hills Baptist Church’s decision of “selling brick and mortar in favor of flesh and blood.”

I applaud Rolling Hills for wanting to sell its property and move to a more functional facility that allows them to spend a significant amount of their budget on “outreach, missions, and benevolence.” Clearly there was the recognition that they (the people) were the church rather than the building.

But if it is true that church buildings are not essential for growth or spirituality, why do churches today depend so much on buildings? I have heard some state that we must have beautiful buildings in order to attract sinners to the church and thus to Christ. Of course, this concept is fundamentally flawed.

The church is to seek the sinner, not vice versa. Also, too often our churches end up competing with each other on the architectural plane rather than the spiritual one. How refreshing to see that Rolling Hills has a vision beyond the four walls of the church.

In my opinion a little analysis is in order to determine if one’s church is being faithful to the biblical understanding of God’s people. It seems to me that any church which spends more on buildings than on outreach; holds all its meetings only in the church building; puts construction before missions and evangelism; and, measures spirituality by the number of human bodies present within it’s four walls may suffer from an “edifice complex.”

Finally, the decision by Rolling Hills and other “churches without walls” should serve as a wake-up call to those churches who are contemplating new construction enterprises or renovations to existing facilities. Perhaps these churches should prayerfully consider whether they have a clear understanding of the true nature of the church.