The Problem is the Building (or: Community is the Key)

I’ve recently come to hate church buildings. I’ve made my peace with the people, just not the building. There is no other business on the planet that could justify a couple thousand square feet that are really only used ten percent of the time (or less). Does anyone else see the problem here? Most of the churches I’ve attended have faced budget crisis after budget crisis, never seem to have money in their mercy funds and preach sermon after sermon about the importance of giving.

And then there’s this building, this huge building, that is open from 9 to noon on a Sunday, and has office hours three days a week (during which only three rooms are in use) and all of this space. All of this SPACE that isn’t being used.

I’m not really sure what the solution is for most churches. Ours is thinking of becoming a community center, offering budgeting and parenting classes, devoting a room to donating/distributing food and clothing, offering English as a second language courses and maybe even a daycare. They’re thinking about building an expansion, but first they want to fully utilize the room they have.

Honestly? I’d rather have the community center first and have it just happen to host the church, not the other way around. I think community is the key.

It all goes back to the idea of being responsible with what we have and accountable to the people that provide it. People give money to the church wanting it to really mean something to someone, they don’t do it just to hold the space.
*note: this doesn’t apply to old, beautiful church buildings that are tourist attractions. Those transcend my disdain by being generally awesome and also an important part of a country’s culture

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8 thoughts on “The Problem is the Building (or: Community is the Key)

  1. I really have to agree with you. There is so much that can be done with what is available. Community is the key here and I think you are right in your observations concerning a lot of wasted space. I mean, I don’t know what is to be done for those churches that have hundreds of attendees. In all actuality, if there is nothing going on there throughout the week, a Sunday meetin’ gym seems so wrong. Something could be re-thought here, but for many churches it’s too late.

  2. Well, don’t forget about small church groups, bible studies, sunday school education, boy scout and girl scout meetings, youth group meetings…

    then again, what about these churches that are meant to seat a few hundred people, yet more than half the pews are empty, and the other half aren’t even full (minus the large families that sit together)?

    my old church that I grew up in — always complained about financial whoas, but they wanted a supposed expansion for education and stereo system so people in the back could hear better, because they’d rather prefer not to sit near the always-constantly empty front.

    second church i attended? they had two buildings, one for sermons and youth group, the other for fellowship and sunday school classes. and you know what? except for the sanctuary, the whole or more than half the building was in constant use.

    my current church? small building, maybe about 2500-3000 sq. ft. It has one sanctuary, three classrooms, two bathrooms, a lobby, and a small office. barely opened during the week except Sunday and cleaning. my small congregation of like 60 people donate enough each week to keep it open and keep a nice savings account.

  3. Hi every one thought i would comment on religion. Do you not know all these churches are practising falce religion. they have turned there backs on true religion and are doing satans work.The bigest hypocrites are the catholic church i dout if any priests actually read the bible, and if they do they dont abide by bible princibles. The worst thing they have done is taken the most HOLY name out of the bible and that name is JEHOVAH.false religion really is a discusting evil parasite living of people who dont know the truth or dont want to know the truth I shall leave you with one scripture that hit home when i first heard it” you beleive there is one god do you? you are doing quite well yet the demons know and shudder! (james 2:19)

  4. Hetta: It’s an incredibly complex problem and certainly not easily fixed for a lot of churches, but it’s well worth considering.

    Jersey: Thank you so much for your comment! I agree that there are a multitude of meetings that can take place in a church, and some churches are brilliant at utilizing their space. Unfortunately, some are also not good. There are a lot of churches in my immediate area that have been having attendance plummeting, and fifty or less people are now maintaining a building made for multiple hundreds, that is barely used. It just seems so incredibly wasteful.

    gray1962: I’m curious as to what you mean by your statement. You say, “these churches” which could either mean a specific church or the body as a whole- do you believe the entire body guilty of false religion? And if that is the case, then what is TRUE religion? You also say that priests don’t read the Bible, which I find to be a curious statement as in order to become a priest or ordained minister requires years of tutelage and study that encompasses the entire Bible. I would appreciate it if you could clarify yourself and point me in the right direction, as I would like to fully understand your comment.

  5. Hi Hetta I shall try and clarify what i was trying to put in to words. There is one GOD ALLMIGHTY his name is JEHOVAH. JEHOVAH’S name is the most holy of holy. You might think it strange that GOD has got a name but GOD is a title. gordon brown is primeminister, primeminister is his title but gordon is his name the same goes for the queen her title is the queen but her name is Elisabeth. Back to false religion you say the priests spend years studying the bible? well answer me this question when there is a war the priests bless people going in to battle saying fight for your country kill your enemy but it quite clearly says in the bible” any one saying i love god but hates his brother is a lier for if you dont love your brother who you can see how can you love GOD who you cant see” False religion is a dirty discusting parasite living of people who dont kmow the truth or who dont want to know the truth. I tell you this truefully the great day of JEHOVAH’S judgement is coming they is still time for you to save your self and live in a paradise on earth. Sounds to good to be true yes? Satan would like you to beleive that (THE WHOLE WORLD IS LYING IN THE POWER OF THE WICKED ONE)I beg you my friend who i have not seen except JESUS CHRIST as your savior he sacreficed his life for people who beleaved in him would not die but have everlasting life in a paradise on earth.The way to save your self is to put your faith in and except JESUS CHRIST as your savior and redemer because JESUS CHRIST is the antidote for death. i am not very good at explaining myself on line so will you do me a very big favour and make my day get in touch with your nearest KINGDOM HALL thats where JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES learn about and praise JEHOVAH GOD ALLMIGHTY and i give you my word your eyes will be opened to the truth.

  6. Hi Hetta as i said i am not very good explaining my self on the internet so i would like to i would like to print out some words from a book i am currently reading. What would our turning to GOD include. Most importantly, it includes accepting the one through whom he “purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness.” This is his own son who, on earth, bore the name of jesus. Why him? Because humankind is undeniably in bondage, in enslavement to imperfection,sin and death, and this one proved to be the long awaited messiah or christ through whom the most high purposes to bring freedom from that enslavement
    Here is what the bible account shows: in the spring of 33 C.E., JESUS died on an executional stake. His death provided the needed sacrifice to atone for our sins(1PETER 2:24; 1JOHN 2:2) Forty days after being raised from the dead, he ascended to the heavans, there to present the value of his sacrifice to the father. From then on,mankind everywhere needed to learn that freedom from sin and death could be gained ONLY by accepting JESUS as GOD’S appointed savior. There is no salvation in anyone else, for there is not another name under heavan that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (ACTS 4:12) Hence, the desirable course of life is that which gains for us an approved standing with GOD as followers of his son, yes as GENUINE CHRISTIANS.
    thats it for now dont hessatate to ask more questions

  7. Gray1962: I have to confess that being raised a fairly conservative way (Mennonite, and then Non-Denominational) I was always warned away from Jehovah’s Witnesses and thus know very little about your faith, aside from the fact that you have a devoted league of translators studying the original language of the Bible. If I get time, I may put in a little more research so I can fully understand where you are coming from.

  8. Hi just a few lines in reply to your comment. You said you were always warned away from jehovah witnesses, who do you think was behind the warning away? There is someone that doesent want you to have the greatest gift possable. The one in question is behind all the misfortunes of the world. He is the greatest salesman ever he sold death to adam and eve he is the farther of the lie he was a man slayer from the begining he is that discusting creature satan. Pray to JEHOVAH GOD ALLMIGHTY through his wonderful son JESUS CHRIST for spiritual enlightment. My friend who i have not seen do it now before it is to late

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