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Church Buildings

13 May, 2003 2:14 PM

This morning three of us spent a couple of hours delivering brochures and posters for the upcoming Postcards from California day we're holding. We got around to about 10 or so eastern suburban churches, a bible college and Christian book store. It was a fun morning with the guys, but also quite interesting to get a snap shot of Church in the East of Melbourne.

One of the main things that struck me was the vast amount of dollars that must be tied up in buildings in our city (and around the world). Five of the churches we dropped by were either undergoing or contemplating multi million dollar building redevelopments and most occupied prime real estate. However in every case except for two we came across virtually empty buildings, occupied only by office staff and ministry team members.

I sometimes wonder about the way we as 'the church' spends its money. Jesus told parables about wisely investing the things we've been given. His point seemed to be to invest in things that bring about multiplication of the harvest.

I have no doubt that the church building projects we saw today all would say that 'mission' is part of the reason for their upgrading their facilities - however I wonder if there is another way?

What impact would tens of millions of dollars have upon our nation if it were channelled into other avenues? What if rather than building mega churches we funded community development programs, working with fringe minority groups? Or what if we invested in experimental mission programs by setting up gallery spaces? Or what if we funnelled the money into caring for third world victims of Aids or people in our communities struggling with abuse? What if we were not so obsessed with building bigger and better buildings and were able to free up some cash for connecting with people in the places we live, work and socialise?

What do you think?



As a member of a church which has just had its planning permit approved and is set to commence building within a month, a big challenge here.

dan » 13 May, 2003 2:53 PM

Good stuff Daz. The constant church building and expansion thinking just seems to roll on largely unchallenged; hardly creative or innovative thinking when it comes to new mission. I'm sure plenty of great stuff happens in these spaces but as you said, maybe just a little critical analysis of the real issues might throw up some lateral and exciting options.

Nick » 13 May, 2003 4:34 PM

Someone once suggested that Christians could keep their church buildings and donate what they would be spending on cable TV instead. Since he is Eastern Orthodox, the church building is very meaningful to him. I thought that was a neat way of looking at the issue.

Laura » 13 May, 2003 11:07 PM

But we gotta have big church buildings. Where else would we come and sit to feel better about ourselves?

Heh heh.

Blake » 14 May, 2003 5:08 AM

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