Bricks and Mortar are Killing the Church
II Opinions 3:13 But ye shall receive power, after that graduation from Bible college is come upon you: and ye shall construct buildings unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Surely everyone remembers the verse where Jesus instructed those in the ministry to go forth, start building programs and use God’s money to construct brick and mortar structures. No? Why? Because nowhere in New Covenant teachings are we ever commanded to build structural churches.
Grand structures standing as physical religious symbols in their communities often overwhelm their congregations’ ability to sustain these places of worship. Honestly, they are not necessary! Simply put, bricks and mortar are killing the church!
The focus of the church took a wrong turn when the first cornerstone was laid. Once the building is completed the emphasis is directed toward keeping the building standing, cooled or heated and in good repair. All of which takes money; a lot of money. Get a clue here people! It is God’s money…not yours.
One church financial secretary said, “This church, it’s a beautiful church. But easily half of the money that is given every year goes to keep it that way.” Half? Good grief! Does that seem like good stewardship to you?
In addition to the overwhelming costs of maintaining these buildings, the square footage is not fully utilized. Sanctuaries have people in attendance on Sunday morning and empty for the next seven days; again raising questions of stewardship. It does not take a genius to think of the vast number of ways the empty space could be utilized. Look, if I was a homeless person it would be a blessing to sleep in a warm and dry building; even if I had to sleep on the floor! People we need to get back on the path that Jesus walked and begin to feed the hungry, care for the sick, give drink to the thirsty, provide shelter for the homeless and protect the widows and children.
Sadly, those in the ministry have been errantly taught that the construction of a physical building is necessary if one is to have a ministry. Tradition has displaced the examples set forth in the Scriptures and those entering the ministry assimilate an ancient axiom of: 1) No building. 2) No Ministry. 3) No People. 4) No Money. Such teaching has led to a “Sacred Cow” mentality. In essence, the building has become the church and not the people.
You think I am wrong? Well then, next Sunday ask your church leaders to give up their church salaries, begin working at a regular job, like you do, and allow the body of believers to use the additional monetary resources to feed some hungry mouths or provide shelter for the homeless or buy some clothes for those who are wearing nothing but rags.
From experience, I know that church leaders will resist such a proposal every step of the way. Honestly, so will most congregants. Why? Because the body of believers has also drank the Kool-Aid of tradition. Following the path that Jesus walked will require folks to get up off their backsides and actually start having to live out their profession of faith. Yes, it will require that four letter word we only like to speak of in hushed tones…”Work.”
All that want retain the status quo of the same old traditional methodologies will most often defend their stance by saying, “We need the building to win the lost.” Really? If that were, true then why do you have additional meetings to present the Gospel? If you were consistently winning the lost, simply by meeting in a building every Sunday, there would be no need of campaigns, crusades and revivals.
Not all, but most, church buildings have become merely places to meet and greet and eat. Food, fun and fellowship have become the order of the day; the Gospel has taken a backseat to an event mentality. Countless have been the times I have stood in church foyers and listened to the conversations of those entering the building. Seldom do I hear of people talking about winning the lost or doing those things we know the Master expects us to do. What I hear mostly are conversations about where are they going for lunch after the services, when they can get together and play a round of golf, what did they do on their vacation, etc. And I am not saying that we shouldn’t have food, fun and fellowship. What I am saying is that we have no need expensive physical structures to do those things.
So you went to Bible College and got infected with errant teaching. You graduated, started a Bible study and then built a building. Look, I made the same mistake of believing that a building was absolutely necessary to have a ministry. No, I am not suggesting that you abandon the building that already has been constructed, but when, and if, the congregation grows to such a point that you even remotely start thinking about a building program to construct a larger brick and mortar edifice….STOP! Then open your Bible and read the passages that clearly show you where New Covenant believers met together to worship. Hint…it was not in a place that resulted from a building program.
Every church leader should be teaching others how to lead; it’s a Jesus thing. There should be men in every congregation that can teach and preach with the same effectiveness as the current leadership in every body of believers. So instead of wasting more of God’s money on more bricks and mortar, those who are capable of teaching can open their home for services. Think about it for a moment. Those folks already have a physical structure where people can go to hear the Word of God; to learn and be encouraged. Bam! You just created outreach without wasting another penny of God’s money. This same process can, and should, be repeated over and over again.
It is far past time to break with errant tradition and begin to follow exactly what the Scriptures teach us.