Amid all the hoop la and joy of getting in our new building, seeing attendance jump and welcoming in new members, I was reminded after the worship yesterday why we have to do new things.
Our old building was inadequate for a lot of reasons but none more compelling than the wheelchair inaccessibility. There were too many steps, not enough ramps, too narrow halls, rest rooms not retro-fitted. Yesterday, a young dad brought his family back to us. His precious little girl is in a wheelchair.
I welcomed them. The dad told me, "We have just been waiting for this. We want to come to church here but we couldn't easily get in and out with her chair."
The good people of this church looked at their community and asked how they could welcome them in, open up their facility and look to the future. Frankly, I have been in another church where the whole idea is to preserve a dysfunctional building for the sake of the past. The contrast could not be more stark. One church is growing, open and dynamic. The other is desperate, dismal and dying, protected to death by the selfish wishes of a few.
The building is not the church. The church is the church. A good heart makes a good home.
Associations and conventions of churches are no different. Some exist now, unable to do actual ministry because of the money spent on salaries, benefits and some buildings. We hold to them because it is so wrenching to let them go. Meanwhile, successful harvest churches maintain their own responsibility to do more about the gospel than just to send money to a central agency.
It is time to change, as painful as it is to let go. We are constantly told to "move on" when we ask questions about governance and financing. Let's listen to the wise voices telling us to "move on." It is easier to move on if you can first let go.