The Great Commission commands us to reach and build up people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, not that we build up big and fabulous building.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt. 28:19-20)
The building merely provides a place to mobilize and train for it to happen. Consequently the church’s facilities should be functional. The building should draw attention to the Lord and what He is doing within the lives of the people who meet there, not to the building itself.
We can put a lot of money into building projects, interest on loans, furnishings, etc. The author of When Not to Build, an architect who became a church consultant, wrote, “Sometimes I ask a congregation, ‘How much do you expect to spend on your next building program? What might happen if, instead of spending it on a new building, you raised that same amount in cash and pledges to minister to the needs of people right here in your own community?'” (Clicking on the above link will take you to one of our affiliate stores where you can learn more about that book. I recommend you read it, especially if you are considering the possibility of building.)
The early church didn’t have buildings like we do today, yet God brought the growth as they focused on that which builds disciples. See Acts 2:42-47. Of course, growth due to discipleship may lead to a bigger buildings but perhaps there are other options you can take instead to keep the cash flowing into discipleship measures rather than interest payments and higher maintenance and utility bills.
- Get rid of the clutter to free up space. Rent low-cost storage if necessary.
- Try multiple services.
- Add temporary space (i.e., classroom modulars).
- Double up on room usage.
- Use movable furnishings so rooms can serve multiple purposes.
- Evaluate what you do to see if you are over-programmed.
- Knock down walls, if possible, to enlarge rooms.
- Build additions to existing buildings.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Facilities: Keep Footing, it is so easy for buildings to become a distraction to fulfilling the Greatest Commandments which would envelop the Great Commission. Sometimes what start out as disciplemaking churches become stuck and stop growing as priorities and focus shift to maintaining and paying for buildings. Before beginning a building project, do what you can to make your existing building as functional as possible. Be creative. Build if needed, as God leads, but make sure you have exhausted other options to make what you have more functional.