Sunday, June 19, 2005

Church Buildings

Two notes:

First, a note that I'm going to be in Colorado all week and won't post again until next week.

Second, a thought about church buildings. I've personally been in churches that meet in all types of buildings, but only recently have I started thinking about how church buildings teach people about God. If you have talked to me recently, you know that I am beginning to think that everything we do in church leadership teaches people about our view of God. I especially believe that our worship music teaches theology. What does it teach? That's a topic for another blog entry. I think that lots of other things not only reflect our understanding of the Creator (as leadership), but also teach people that come to our church something about God.

It is really odd to feel this way because I am part of a generation that really doesn't value the buildings that we worship in. More than likely, building spaces are about usability. The church has basically decided not to build space unless the word "multi-purpose" can be attached as an adjective before the name of the building. In our church now, we meet in a gym. I personally like the gym, but I wonder what it teaches people about God. If you have any thoughts, let me know. It might teach people that God is accessible, which is true to a point. It might teach people that God is casual - I'm not sure what to think about that. The reason I'm really thinking about this topic is because I went to a wedding at Skillman Church of Christ yesterday afternoon. After meeting throughout college and seminary in church buildings that don't feel like church buildings, it was quite something to feel a sense of awe as I walked into their sanctuary. Now, I believe with all my heart that the people that meet together are the church and not the building. However, the people of the church decide somewhere along the way (or maybe the leadership decides for them) that they will build a structure to meet in for worship. Does anyone ever ask the question, "What will this building teach people about God?" I wonder.

If you could design a church building any way you wanted with the purpose of teaching something specific about God - what would you design? Let me think about it this week & I'll post some ideas next week.


Caitie said...

i know my answer will probably be more juvenile than what you were looking for, but i don't care...
i was once in a church that had stained glass windows on the side and big clear windows in the was absolutely amazing...there was so much light coming in that you just felt encaptured by God's presence, and yet it wasn't distracting because all you could see was blue sky (because the side windows were stained glass). i know that this type of situation is weather-permitting, but that kind of connection was something i have never felt before. I love having a lot of light in a church; i don't know why, maybe it's the whole God=light connection.
I also see what you're saying about the multi-purpose thing. In the presbyterian church i go to, the sanctuary is primarily a sanctuary, the only thing that happens in there is service. It really creates a reverance about the place. You can't help but lower your voice when you walk in. I would never imagine playing games in it, or running in it. I don't if that's how i was raised, or if that really is a reaction when walking in there, but i do agree that a building can say something about worship.

Caitie said...

hey keith,
i was wondering if you could help me with some information about the Trinity...
i need you to point me to some verses affirming the three in one part of it...if you can get the time...