Our church moved into its current facility almost a year ago. Which is crazy to think about, really. Just 10 months ago, we were all meeting in a high school on the north end of our city. I was driving 20-25 minutes each Sunday, often barely making it on time. (You know how that feels, right?)
In the fall of 2015, we moved into a permanent facility. It’s an older church building that is serving us very well, all things considered. It’s not perfect, but nothing is, y’know? Since we moved, I’ve rarely thought much about the school where we met. Or, when I have, it’s mostly been how glad I am to only drive six minutes on Sunday morning. (Selfish, I know…) But a few months ago, I started to realize that there was something I really did miss.
Something I never would have expected.
This week, I’m writing about this for Christianity Today’s special section, The Local Church. Here’s a preview:
I never thought I’d miss it. In fact, it annoyed me most Sundays: this little sound—the shrill squeak of desktops being swung into place as our pastor said, “If you have your Bibles, open them to . . .”
Up until the fall of 2015, our church had only ever met in public school auditoriums. We used to jokingly describe ourselves as a “church-in-a-box,” since all the sound equipment, resources, signage, and sign-in systems that made up our church could be packed away in storage boxes and shoved in a closet. We owned that cliché about the church being “the people, and not a building.” We were simple, stripped-down, unpretentious. Church-in-a-box.
But we knew we wouldn’t always be like that. As renters, we had our problems. We had a great relationship with the school staff, but we knew we could be hastily evicted if they received complaints about the message from the platform, or if we left any significant evidence of our presence on Monday morning. We had grown from around 400 to 1,400 in a few short years, and we had neither more room to seat people nor the time available in our rental agreement to allow the addition of another service.
So after many years of praying and fundraising, and after a couple of false starts, we bought a building and traded the problems of renting for those of owning. The congregation rallied around getting the building ready for our first weekend. Hundreds of hours were freely given to paint the worship center and the children’s area, knock out walls, build new offices, fix the roof, repave the sidewalks, set up the new sound system, and finish a thousand other tasks great and small.
You can read the rest at The Local Church. Writing this was a great opportunity for me to express my love for my local church. We’re not a perfect church. (There’s no such thing, of course.) Regardless, I am grateful for how God is using this group of people in my life and in our city.