I saw this picture on Facebook today as originally shared by Niles Discovery Church:
I find this very odd. I understand the discussions and debate about changing the way schooling works because a lot of it was designed to meet the needs of the Industrial Revolution (check out this brilliant video about this). However, when it comes to church buildings, they themselves haven’t changed much at all in the last 1000 years and more. A church building is required for a gathering. It needs to be a space that a group of people can come together. The Greek word for Church is Ekklesia, the same word that was used to describe the Greek parliament – it just means gathering or meeting. School assembly halls haven’t changed, they are still a big room large enough for the students to gather. You can’t compare Church with work or school – Church is somewhere we go on a Sunday, work and school are what we do for the rest of the week (where we act out what it means to be church in the world). If Church starts to look like my workplace then I don’t want to go there any more!
I’m all up for moving things around in church buildings and having services that are in different styles – some that are formal when we all face forwards and some where we might sit in groups. But I wouldn’t want to get rid of our beautiful ancient churches just to fit in with a new trend. Something that’s amazing about Christianity is that sense of continuity we have with the past. Our Christian heritage in the UK goes back centuries and that’s something I take great pride and comfort in.
I think the issue is less about the buildings themselves and more about what we do in them. I wrote last year about the need to have more participation in church – but that’s not about the pews it’s about the people and their attitude.
So I think this picture kind of misses the point and focuses again on the idea of the church being the building and not the people.
Made me think though!