I have evolved in my view of church buildings. When we first started ReCAST I saw that we needed a place to meet but since those started the church would all fit in a basement, it seemed like a pretty small issue. I had a sense of smugness in my own heart toward those who would spend millions of dollars on church facilities assuming that they were poor stewards of finances and had wrong priorities.
Fast forward 8 years and I am sitting at my desk writing a blog about five reasons why I am excited about our building that will be finished in the next couple of months. We have grown and so have I. I have grown out of the quick judgment that looks at other ministries and ignores their unique and specific challenges and instead immediately assumes their motives.
There are more than five reasons I am excited but here are the top five.
1. A Facility All Week Long
I have only recently begun to brainstorm the variety of uses for our church facility during the week. We are a church that holds to a core value of simplicity, and so we do not desire to over-program each week. But having a facility we can use for outreach, for training, for extended praise times, for holiday celebrations, for weddings, for funerals, for community groups, and for so many other activities that will help us grow in faith, community, and service is exciting. I am sure that other people will come up with even more creative ways to use this facility for the glory of God.
2. A Community Presence
We have rented office space currently in Mattawan, which has given us some level of community presence. But having our offices in the same space where we meet will only enhance the presence of our church in the community. I would never build a building solely for the purpose of having community presence, but there is no question that for some (even non-believers) in our community, having a building grants a legitimacy that may move them to check out this “new thing” going on in Mattawan. I do not crave legitimacy from people, but if having a building will increase even the potential for outreach, then that makes me excited.
3. No More Set-up and Tear-down
We have volunteers who have lifted the same chairs, same children classroom supplies, and the same sound and musical equipment every week for the past several years. All told, the weight lifted over the years is measured in tons.
I appreciate so deeply the amount of labor that has gone in to setting up and tearing down each week. John R. and Dan S. have owned this process for the the past couple of years and I am grateful for their sacrifice.
But beyond the sacrifice of the labor, I have seen the set-up and tear-down process take a toll on our church regarding community connection. When we had a store front and didn’t need to set-up and tear-down each week, people stayed around and talked sometimes for up to an hour afterward. But there is something about the sociology of a task to be accomplished that clears the room after the task. Now we rush to pack up chairs, everyone pitches in immediately, and then we are cleared out as soon as the process is over. Task accomplished, time to go!
I am excited about that sense of community returning. I have missed that unhurried times after the service where people would stay around and catch up with each other.
4. A Useful Tool to Minister to The Community
A building for a church is nothing more than an expensive ministry tool. And I want our building to be used to serve the community. I want it to be one more way that we can bless Mattawan with the presence of God’s community here. My hope is that the facility can be used by teen groups who want to play volleyball after school, scout troops looking for a place to meet, and a variety of other uses that are a genuine benefit to our community.
I look forward to the ReCAST Church building gaining a reputation in Mattawan, as a gathering place that is open and available for use.
5. A Unique View on God’s Timing That is Growing Our Faith
When we first starting planning for a building at the property, we did not know the time frame for Mattawan building their new elementary schools. Now, it looks like the new school and our building will open withing a few weeks of each other. The building we currently meet in will not be around indefinitely. Going through this building process has stretched us to trust God for the finances, for the timing, and for his overall plan for us as a church.
I have watched this process and it has been stretching to me as a pastor. But I am excited that God has been growing us in deeper trust in Him through this process!
It will not be long now before we will finally have our first services in our new building. It may feel like time is moving slowly, but one Sunday in the near future, we will get the green light to meet there. We will have a new set of adjustments that we will go through as we make the facility useful and figure out where the furniture goes.
I am excited for this new development in the history of ReCAST Church! It has been a privilege to have a front row seat to what God has been doing in our church here in Mattawan. And I look forward to seeing what He will do in the coming years.