Chapter 7: The Church and the Building by Carl Garner

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The present church building is the product of many hours of effort on the part of nearly every one of our members, and dozens of construction and building contractors. For many years this congregation met in facilities that were barely adequate, both from a practical viewpoint and as compared to that of our neighbors. Now, while our building is hardly “fancy” or showy, it does serve as a useful, comfortable base of operation for God’s people in this community. We are not trying to impress anyone, but we now have another tool by which the gospel may be preached in its simplicity and beauty.

In the New Testament, early Christians were commanded to assemble together, Hebrews 10:24-31, I Corinthians 11:20. Such command plainly implies authority for a place to assemble, yet the details of that place are not specified. Early Christians met in rented halls, privately-owned buildings, schools, public buildings and out in the open. Obviously, we have been given authority to assemble, to have a place to assemble, and considerable discretion concerning the expediency of choosing a place to assemble. We have considered our options, both spiritual and physical, and sought to be good stewards of those blessings given by our heavenly Father. We believe that we have been true to that stewardship.

However, some caution is needed as one considers the use and presence of a church building, even a new building. While facilities are important, we also realize that stone and mortar, wood and shingles, carpet and paint do not have the ability to initiate or complete the work of seeking and saving the lost. That must be done by each person who belongs to Christ, by each Christian here. Truly “we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,” II Corinthians 4:7. While many good things can come from a building structure, the energy and commitment of each individual Christian (the “earthen vessels”) are needed so that the gospel (the “treasure”) can be effective in the hearts and minds of those who need its saving power.

While it serves a useful purpose for the local congregation, there are some things that a building cannot do and cannot be:

• A new building is an inanimate object; therefore, it is incapable of preaching “the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ,” Ephesians 3:8. That requires human effort from you and me.

• A new building cannot help those who are in need, either economically, spiritually or emotionally; that requires effort from all of us who profess to be servants of Christ.

• A new building cannot be the church, for the church is God’s called-out people, not property and things, I Corinthians 3:17.

A new building will not invite your neighbors and your family to come and visit with us; that requires the interest, concern and effort of each Christian here.

• A new building will not pay for itself, take care of itself, or keep itself clean; that will require the assistance of each one of us, young and old alike.

• A new building will not assure the preaching and the teaching of God’s unadulterated truth; that requires the vigilance and diligent interest of every one of us, I Corinthians 15:58, II John 9-11, I Timothy 4:16, John 17:17.

Many have spent their time, energy, money and skills for the completion of the present church building. They did it because they love the Lord and His church. They did not do it for publicity or for the praise, but because they wanted to do something to help the cause of Christ in Dripping Springs.

We have discovered the potential power that rests in this body of people. We have learned that when we work together we can accomplish great and good things. It is now imperative that we use that same dedication, that same energy, that same spirit of cooperation to fill up this community with the gospel of Jesus Christ and His power to save. We know we can do it, so let’s get busy accomplishing the will of the Father. “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not,” Galatians 6:9.

 

Ahead: Chapter 8

Back: Chapter 6 

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