We keep a large, framed picture of an old, boarded up church in our office. That may seem odd. After all, our passion is developing facilities for ministry.
There’s nothing unique or particularly appealing about the building. It’s small and a fairly traditional design for the time. In fact, it’s since been torn down. We keep the picture as a reminder that, if the Lord tarries, all the facilities we design and build will eventually go away – only the result of the ministry will remain forever.
This particular building is where my grandfather accepted Christ during a midweek Methodist revival over 80 years ago. He was in his mid-20’s, and the transformation was dramatic. He left his job as a successful salesman to become a pastor at about 10% of the income he and his family had become accustomed to. He supplemented his income as a coal miner in southwest Pennsylvania, and hunted some days to put meat on the table. The impact of his decision to follow Jesus has cascaded throughout the decades, and through many families throughout the Midwest, including our family.
While each one of us must make our own faith decisions, our family has benefited greatly growing up downstream of our grandfather’s decision. The building is gone, but the results of the ministry that took place there continue to shape our family’s history in a powerfully positive way.
Space is temporal but the sacred that happens in it is eternal.
The role and style of churches has changed over the years. It’s interesting to look back over the past two millennia to see the evolution of these buildings. They will continue to change even more rapidly in the future, but one thing that all church facilities have in common is that they will not last forever. Find the sacred spaces all around you as you partner with God in His work.