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What a Church Building Won't Do for You

One of the first questions every church planter (after, “Why won’t you turn the music down?”) will face is “When will we move into our own building?” The school, theater, cardboard box is fine for today, but what they really want to know is when we’ll be a “real church.” This begins as a solo, grows to an ensemble, morphs into a chorus, and soon emerges as a significant choir. If you listen very closely, you can hear the chant echo across the fruited plain even now, “We want a building, We want a Building, WE WANT A STINKIN’ BUILDING!!!”

And why do they want a building? Because a building will make your church much, much more effective in fulfilling your God-inspired vision. If we had a building…

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We could do more discipleship classes

We could help feed the poor

We could house widows and orphans

We could host teas and coffees (and poker nights if you’re reformed)

 And as a pastor, you dream of a building of your own…

You could sleep in until 5:30 a.m. on Sunday mornings

You could have a real office instead of a corner of the spare bedroom

You whole staff would have a place to plug in their laptops at meetings

You wouldn’t have to shout over the coffee grinder during counseling sessions

There is no doubt that in many ways a permanent building makes some things easier. Not having to set up and tear down every weekend might add five years to the life span of the average church planter. Not having to whisper (or shout) during counseling would probably be more effective. But there are some major drawbacks to having a 24/7 building. Let me throw out some things a building won’t solve.

First, a building won’t make you a real church. I’m sure you realize that the Christian church built few, if any, buildings before 300 AD. There were likely some renovated homes and expanded shops, but the real building bug didn’t bite until Constantine had seen the light. Then the church got busy building, and they made up for lost time.