Ever since the beginning of the church, God’s people have gathered in public spaces. In the book of Acts, the church in Jerusalem met in the Temple near what was known as Solomon’s Portico (Acts 2:46 and Acts 5:12). We also see that the church in Ephesus met publicly in what was known as the “School of Tyrannus” (Acts 19:9-10). The life of the church must reach beyond our corporate meetings, but the public, corporate, gathering of the church is an important part of that life. Our corporate meetings are one of the primary ways that we gather together in worship, under his word together as his people.
Ephesians 4 describes a church that grows in love (Ephesians 4:16). If you look at what the chapter teaches up to that point, it shows that while God’s word is proclaimed each Sunday, it isn’t meant to stop there. Each of us is to be equipped with the word, and then speak it to others in the context of every day life. It is to echo out of us into all of our relationships. Jonathan Leeman, in his book “Reverberation,” describes it this way:
“…the Word doesn’t just sound once. It echoes or reverberates through the church’s music and prayers. It reverberates through the conversations between elders and members, members and guests, older Christians and younger ones. God’s words bounce around the life of the church, like a metal ball in a pinball machine.
But the reverberating words shouldn’t stop there. The church building doors should open and God’s words should echo out the doors, down the street, and into the members’ homes and workplaces. The reverberations of sound that began in the pulpit should eventually be bouncing off the walls in dining rooms, kitchens, and children’s bedrooms; off gymnasium walls, cubicle dividers, and the insides of city bus windows; through e-mails, text messages, and Internet pages.”
What does all of this have to do with the Elks Lodge?
We need to remember that church buildings exist to serve the mission of the church. If that mission, at least in part, is to see God’s word proclaimed, and then spoken throughout the week in the life of the church, that building should facilitate two things:
First, it should be a place where the church family can gather to worship God and hear from him in his word. If everything works out the way that we anticipate it to, the Elks lodge should increase our Sunday Morning seating capacity by 20%-25%, and it will increase our children’s ministry space by even more. That’s not to mention that we will have it 24/7 instead of renting only on Sunday mornings.
Second, the building should help connect people with each other to facilitate relationships through which God’s word can reverberate all week long. Discipleship happens in the context of relationship and sadly, most church buildings work to discourage them. They have a small lobby, a large auditorium, and the building is mostly designed to get people in, have them participate in the service, and then get them out. One of the exciting things about the Elks lodge is that it would not only provide additional seating, but it will also provide an expanded fellowship area and a commercial kitchen–both of which are tools that will serve to develop relationships in our body. Having a building that works for the purposes and mission of the church, even after people leave it, is exactly what a building should do.
We’ve been meeting with our bank, the realtors, architects, and designers and are getting inspections all lined up. We are excited about what God is doing and can’t wait to give you more information as we have it to pass along. More details will be coming about the nature of the space, about the financial needs for it all, and about how you can participate. In the mean time, If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to any of the Elders!