If we were to take care of our church building/property the same way we handle the spiritual side of church, I wonder what our churches would look like.
I was out last week doing some quite time/reading and praying and I came across this old church:
I felt God telling me to stop. So I did. My heart was saddened as I looked at this "beautiful" building. Thoughts started pouring into my mind and I could actually picture what it was like long ago:
I saw a group of people praying on a cleaned off piece of property. They were praying for the building project, for the people to come, for souls to be saved. Then I pictured the opening: Everyone dressed in their Sunday Best. Most of them had covered dishes because there was lunch on the grounds after service. I saw Easter Sunday where kids were running around finding eggs and grown ups played horse shoes and talked to each other sitting on blankets.
I imagined their hymns and all of the voices being lifted up to God.
I saw a true reverence for a Savior who died for us.
What I could not see, could not picture or imagine was how this church turned out like this. Why people left. What happened? Did the Pastor mess up beyond forgiveness? Did they out grow this building? If they did, wasn't there any other churches in need of a nice chapel? Did they as a group fall away from the truth? Was the message of the Cross forgotten?
Then I felt God telling me that THIS is what a lot of churches look like to Him. But those churches have paint, pews and lots of people in them each week. They actually have Prayer (but it's not sincere), they have people coming to the alter (But never discipled to maturity), They dress nice on the outside (But their thoughts are ragged), They have lunch on the grounds (but are spiritually starving), Their kids get candy at church (But Bible learning is scarce), They still talk and fellowship (but it's mostly gossip), Their Songs are still sung (but mostly to each other), They have reverence (for stature and status only).
So how is your Church maintenance program? Is the "Church" today a little run down? Is it even usable? I loved "Work Days"! They were a time when Members came to clean, fix, remodel and landscape around the grounds. It was a great time. A time serving and fellowship. But I never (to this day) recall a spiritual work day. A full day set aside to check on and perform spiritual maintenance.
So do I have an answer? Sure I do... Jesus, Him and a lot more of Him! If and when Jesus is the true focus, we as a church will start to be in a lot better shape. Jesus was never inward but always outward... Let's start there.
So on the next "work day", don't bring your rake... TAKE YOUR RAKE! (do you get it?)