We talk a lot about the church here at Elect Exiles but the church isn’t a building, it is an assembly. More specifically it is an assembly of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and gathers to worship the triune God. So if our church buildings do not constitute the church, do our buildings really matter?
If the local church is truly the body of Christ gathered, then I think our buildings matter because as the body of Christ gathered, we represent Christ himself. We gather for his glory and we gather to hear the preaching of his gospel. So what do our churches communicate about Christ? What do they communicate about the gospel?
Does your building communicate that your church is wealthy or poor? Does it communicate your church’s interest in the arts? Is it modern, medieval, or puritan in its architecture? Is it neatly divided into sections for the various age demographics of the church?
In view of that last question, I’ll give you an example of how church buildings often fail to adequately honor the gospel. I am going to go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of churches (at least medium to large-size churches) have wings of the church for the various age groups in the church. Sometimes moving from wing to wing, in the larger churches, feels like changing area codes. Furthermore when you traverse from the ‘senior adult area’ to the ‘youth area’ its almost as if you have traveled through time as well!
There is much more that could be said about this, but I just want to pose a couple questions. First, if Scripture sets forth parents as the primary disciplers of their children (Deut. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:4), then why do we send children and parents to opposite wings when they arrive at church? Secondly, if every member of the body is called to minister to every other member of the body (12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-27), then why do we send people to whole other buildings when they arrive?
I know there are many well meaning churches with divvied up wings for differing age groups, but in this post I merely want to put the issue on the table. Is your church divided by age-group or united around every member building up every other member in the faith?
What does your building say about your church? What does it say about the gospel?