We’re working out one of those odd tensions at the moment.
We have a corps building, a faily new one (only 17 years old) and its a good facility, in a decent state of repair, and is reasonably accessible for many in the community, geography wise. It also has our quarters on the second floor.
What we are trying to juggle is being a good steward and actually using the building, yet at the same time trying not to be defined by it…something that easily happens. But actually, our strong feeling is that in a corps like Torry, sometimes mission has to happen in other places. And certainly, we’re feeling no need for vast hall-based projects (although it seems like the easiest thing to do sometimes…”if you build it, they will come!”) We’re desperately trying not to be about programmes, but about people. Even if we were to come up with spectacularly successful programme ideas, we don’t have an abundance of people available to staff them.
More than that, when you’re in a community with few soldiers, in a mode of mission which is akin to starting fresh, and in an area where people have restricted financial means, paying for the upkeep of a building can become an all consuming task. When we read in Acts 17:25 that God can’t be confined to temples build by human hands, you can’t get away with the fact that God views himself as sort of having ‘left the building.’
Even when the key leaders and followers in early church began to become slightly confined and entrenched in Jerusalem, the Lord allowed a spate of persecution which scattered them through-out the known world.
We also have the (somewhat less authoratative) voice of the Army Mother commenting that if people won’t come to our consecrated buildings, we should go out under the canopy of heaven. Timely prophetic in today’s era where people are much less inclined to ‘come’ to church, but who are still intrinsically spiritual and searching.
There we have it, the conundrum of buildings. There must be a place where effective mission and good stewardship come right into play. Still thinking about that one!