In many churches today, there is often a problem of competing for the best building in town—having multimillion-dollar buildings that can be seen from outer space. Sure, having nice things or places to worship is all good and well, but what does a building really stand for?
Some argue that the church building itself stands as the foundational structure for all believers. They argue on the point that the building is a setting and place where everyone is welcome, and everyone is treated equal, because it is God’s house. In the early colonial times, the church was also the town meeting place; it was where all village affairs were discussed and talked about. A strong foundation for the town was the “meeting place.” In medieval times churches were revered as holy places of sanctuary.
Today’s churches, however, come in many shapes and sizes—from huge megachurches to small rural churches. The buildings change from shape, the seating, Sunday school rooms, coffee shops, gyms, even the color of the carpet is sometimes an issue. But what does the building itself stand for? Is it simply a building?
Today there are buildings, including old churches, that have been empty for decades, just sitting and rotting. Unless someone told you that it used to be a church, most people would just think it’s just another old building. The point is that no matter the size of the structure, a church is just a building unless it’s filled with a body of believers that worship together, to give honor and glory to God. The book of Romans says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all serve the same function, so in Christ we, thought many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:4-5, TNIV).
The places we worship aren’t the Church; the people who worship within these buildings and structures are the true Church.
Today there are churches that meet all over the word that don’t have a building or classrooms or any type of marquee outside with the quirky catch phrase. They only have each other. The beauty of the building, whether an intricate cathedral or a rundown house meeting place, should not be more important than the beauty of the people who come to worship in the place.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24, TNIV).
When we come and gather as a body to truly worship God in truth and bring Him everything we have, we become the Church, no matter how nice the place is around us.