In the second part of this article, I want us to go from the individual believer to the church and the place of worship. So many times when someone says they’re going to church, they are referring to the physical location of the church house. Before we continue, I feel the need to remind the reader that when Jesus said He would build His church in Matthew 16, He was in no way referring to building, but to the people who would receive Him and worship Him.
I pastor Fairview Baptist Church, which happens to be a local New Testament bible believing church. When I say that, in my mind I am thinking of the physical place located at 2588 Fairview Church Road. However, I do not pastor a building made of brick and mortar, but rather the people who attend there. Although the building is not the important part, it is a part of Fairview Baptist Church…just not as important as some may make it. Let me explain further.
Over the years there are stories after stories of churches having to close their doors because the membership gets so low and funds are depleted, therefore the bills cannot be paid and so on. It kind of makes you wonder if it was really a place that was centered on Christ, doesn’t it? Now why is this? Is it simply because the pastor refuses to transition to a contemporary style of worship? I could not disagree more. Is it because the church is stuck on using the hymnals, instead of a projector? Why that’s even more ludicrous. I could go on, but I think you get the point. So what’s the problem then?
In the last article, I wrote about how if a person is in Christ, they are now a new creature, with the old things passing away and all things becoming new each day, sometimes each moment. As we transition this thought to the place of worship, I want you to keep in mind your body. There is an interior and an exterior, as there is with the church as well. The building is the exterior, like your body and the people are the interior, like your organs and such. Your body is simply a shell and is useless without the heart, lungs, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and such. As you eat, your muscles, bones and such grow and as they grow, the body itself begins to change. No one looks as they did when they were a day old infant, if so, something is definitely wrong. Change simply is inevitable. This may seem rather elementary to most reading, but how many neglect this truth when it comes to the church? Many claim they want to grow, yet the church building must stay the same. It is certainly an oddity, to say the least.
If a church continues to grow, it should be an inevitable fact that the building will have to grow as well and changes will have to be made. It’s not a dishonor to those who started the church years ago. As a matter of fact it’s a testimony to grow. Can you imagine being 30 and still wearing a diaper or clothes you wore when you were 6? Silly? Oh yes folks, it is tremendously silly. Foolish to be honest. Yet, there are churches that have not grown in 50, 75, even 100 years and still claim to be serving God. Many have used Noah as a justification to remain small, yet when Noah and his family landed on dry ground, it wasn’t long before they began to grow. Sure, Jesus had 12 disciples, but that number grew exponentially on the day of Pentecost and has continued ever since.
Over the years, I have had this said either to me or make its way back to me, “It’s just not the same.” Folks, a church that is growing is no different than the individual believer, growth is a mandate and if growth is taking place, changes must be made. Not in the doctrine, but in the physical landscape. There can be markers left behind to show new people where we came from, yet to remain in the past is to dishonor those who came before us and is disobedient to the command of Christ.
I must boldly say that I believe on average, (although there are “some” extenuating circumstances in “some” cases) those churches that are not growing outwardly (the building) certainly must be proof that they’re not growing on the inside (the members).
Until He comes again…