The Church Is The Building, Too

PewsFromFront

They’re in the middle of the impressive task of installing the pews in our new worship center. And in just two weeks we’ll be assembling together in this beautiful building to worship our God and spur one another on in our lives of faith.  PewsFromBack

We say all the time that the Church is not the building, it’s the people.

OK. I’ll buy that. I believe that. Up to a point.

We shouldn’t carry that statement or that position so far that it discounts or nullifies the sacred nature of the actual place where God’s children meet him in sacred assembly.

The building is important. It’s OK to feel that way. There’s nothing wrong with feeling the way you do when you walk into our new worship center or into the old church building in Arkansas where you were baptized or into the church buildings in Tulsa or Abilene where you meet and worship with dear friends once a year.

Our church buildings are vital to our faith. Our buildings collect stories and develop associations that give great depth and breadth to our experience of following Jesus together. It’s in our new worship center where our two younger daughters will put on their Lord in baptism. A couple of them may wind up getting married in there. We’ll sing and pray together in there during the funeral of some very dear sweet person reading (or writing!) this article right now. We’ll send off missionaries PewsFromSidetogether in there. We’ll laugh and we’ll cry together in there. We’ll experience birth and death and everything in between together in there. We’ll hear the Word of our Lord together in there. We’ll share the communion meal together in there. We’ll be convicted and moved, we’ll confess and repent, we’ll chase little kids around the aisles together in there.

And we’ll do all those things together in the presence of each other and in the presence of our Holy God.

Your grandmother’s house is full of stories. Your childhood home is full of memories. Your current space of residence serves as the comforting and stabilizing center of your family’s hectic schedule. Our church buildings serve the same important function of reminding us of who and what has gone before and pointing ahead to who and what is to come, all in the presence of and by the power of our eternal God.

Yes, the Church is the people. But the building represents the people and the stories and the memories and the provision and care of the God we serve.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our 20 pollsters for the inaugural The Kingdom, The Kids, & The Cowboys Top 20 College Football Poll are all in. 19 Texas residents and one from California. Eighteen men and two women whose formative years were spent in places as widely varied as Chicago and Broken Arrow and Mississippi and Ohio. Judging from our pollsters’ list of favorite teams, it looks like we have the Big XII, Big 10, SEC, C-USA, Mountain West, WAC, and Pac-10 Conferences completely covered. It should be a totally comprehensive poll. And legitimate. Until the first time ACU or Harding or UTA receives votes. Then it’s over.

I still need a logo for this thing. Submit your entries now. Design a logo for the KK&C Top 20 and email it to me at astanglin@legacychurchofchrist.org

Thanks for jumping in. Much more later.

Peace,

Allan

8 Comments

  1. sharpie

    I was going to help you out with a logo until I clicked on the tab and there was no OU on there. How could you leave off the best college football team? Guess we’ll just have to beat Texas AGAIN!

  2. Allan

    Just like an OU fan, spouting off before you check the facts. Feeling slighted. Chip on your shoulder. Typical.

    There is an OU logo on the KK&C Top 20 page. Look again. It’s right there between the Oregon State and Pac-10 logos. How did you miss that?

  3. Rob's Dad

    Wow – hard to believe I’m the one curving this back around to church stuff. The building does ties us together, yet it is not vital to our faith. If it is, then isn’t just a prop? If it burns down, what then? Of course it would be painful but the building isn’t what it’s all about. The setting is vital, whether it is was a creaky old Midland Memorial or W.T. Barrett or whatever the name of the stadium is in Poolville or if it’s St. Peter’s Basillica (sic?). I’m in favor of moving out of the holy gymatorium, but if we didn’t, it doesn’t negate the power of 2 or 3 gathering together in His name.

    We will do all the things you said. I might even move out of my spiritual immaturity (“Maybe not” says the Fake Tiger). It’s not the building that is vital – it’s the people and the way they come together. Getting head right with ball and worshipping God. The setting is important just as the music is – you know they offer Graduate level courses in Worship and some congregations actually pay to have a worship leader. If the building is as important as you say, then what about a Praise team on mic’s led by a trained, professional?

  4. Allan

    Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Scott Laidlaw….

    Wow. You’re all over the place.

    It’s not what kind of building it is. It’s not that it’s even a building. It’s that it’s a place. A consistent and sacred and holy place where God’s people regularly assemble to meet God. But I’ll hold my ground that the building—the place, the spot, the gym, the hill—is vital. Important. Essential.

    Despite the upgrades, the coliseum at the Tulsa fairgrounds is old and dingy and almost depressing. Think SMU’s old Moody Coliseum. But everytime I walk in there, my mind races back to the ways I’ve been convicted, the times I’ve been broken, the eternal bonds that have been forged, the joy I’ve felt in that dusty place. I can also walk into the amazingly ornate and religiously holy Church of the Sepulchre in Jerusalem and feel none of that. No stories. No memories. At least, none of my own.

    It’s not a prop. The space symbolizes continuity with those who’ve gone before and those who will come after us; it represents the people and houses our collective stories; it’s where we live and die in the presence of each other and our Father. We could meet together in the gym ’til Kingdom come. We could gather at Birdville High or in the back room of a Luby’s. But that space is made sacred and holy and important by the coming together of God’s people in the presence of their God in the name of their Christ.

    Just like you said.

    Extra credit for curving it away from college sports to theology. Major points deducted for attempting an audible to shallow, trivial “issues-speak” there at the end.

  5. sharpie

    Oops – my bad – I forgot to get my magnifying glass out to find it.

  6. Rob's Dad

    Alwaya a Scott Laidlaw fan. Whatever happened to Margene Adkins?

    The ADD/ADHD makes it hard to stay cogent. My mind goes from thought to thought like a druken monkey swinging from branch to branch. It’s not issue speak. If the building can set the tone then so can music

  7. Allan

    So, sing, brother, sing!

  8. Rob's Dad

    I am self-aware in that my talent is not singing. I just learned last year that the men are suppossed to sing the lines on the bottom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For spam filtering purposes, please copy the number 5594 to the field below: