Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When is a Church Not a Church?

The image you see above is of a building that looks like a church, but it’s not. It’s a medical centre for dermatology. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? It also sounds potentially disheartening.

Obviously it used to be a church. It was originally built in the 1920s to serve the Presbyterian denomination in the Sydney suburb of Kogarah. So, what happened to the people that once attended the services at this church? Did they drift away? Did they scatter in different directions?

Before you begin to grieve the loss of yet another church, take a look at the building behind the medical centre, then take a look at the next picture.

That’s right, the congregation didn’t drift away. They out-grew the little red brick building. They built a new modern building that could better cater to their growing needs.

The new place may not look like the traditional house of worship, but the church is not the building. It’s not the bricks and mortar, nor the glass and steel. The church is the people.

Their faith in God holds them together. Their trust in the salvation that Jesus offers makes them strong. Where they worship is irrelevant. The people are the church because they continue to come together in the name of our Lord and praise His holy name.

12 comments:

Rebekah said...

I like this, because at the moment our church has out grown it's little red brick building and God has given us a vision of reconverting an old school building into a community centre. It is situated right next to our red brick church and will cater our growing needs. I felt encouraged to see this. :0)

HBFG said...

Hi Lynda, thank you for visiting my photo blog and for leaving a comment! :)
It is nice to have visitors from all over the world. I'd love to go to Australia someday, maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't...
Have a great day!
Greetings from Sweden!
Michaela

Lynda Young said...

Rebekah, it's so great to hear that your church has out grown it's building. Growth is such an exciting thing even though it can also be an unsettling time as you find/build a new home.

Michaela, you'd love Australia. There is so much variation here. You could go photo crazy :)

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...

Amen Lynda! Yes, the church is "the people." Now, if most of "the people" would only get that, what an awesome revival many churches could have and be blessed. Great post. Thanks for sharing!

AnooCre8ion said...

Hi Lynda this is my first visit and I do want to say what a lovely blog you have here. I do agree with you wholeheartedly, the church is the people even though it feel strange to see some building as churches :) Just recently I was looking at an apartment building that used to be a church. They did a beautiful job with it, but as I sat on the bus I wondered what happened to the people who used to go there. I hope they outgrew it.

Have a great day
Blessings,
Vickie

Jody Hedlund said...

I have a book by Ken Ham that details the "leaving" of the churches in England. He has pictures of old church buildings being transformed into dance halls, movie theaters, etc. But not because those churches are building modern buildings, but because people are finding faith irrelevant and are abandoning the faith. It's a very sad trend.

Rose said...

Lynda, amen. We are the church, the building is just the place where we meet!

Deborah Ann said...

I agree. A building is just a building. God's people are the church body.

So many new churches are modern looking nowadays...

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Amen! The church is the people. God cares about His people not a building. It's to bad a high percentage of church people refuse to participate in the running of a local church.

Lynda Young said...

Vickie - welcome! And thank you. I think it would be awesome to live in a church, as long as the congregation out-grew it rather than drifted away.

Jody - it's is a terrible thing to see people abandoning their faith and churches diminishing. I see it far too often.

Deborah Ann - A few years ago I went to Korea on an exchange program. In the cities their Christian churches are like highrise buildings. They have so many services and all of them are full and they are so very alive in Christ. It was such an amazing experience. I didn't have to understand their language to see their passion.

Lynda Young said...

Ron - I think that is everywhere. In my own church there's only a really small percentage of people who do everything. So many want to simply turn up and have everything already organised. I used to struggle with that. I used to do too much. But I eventually learnt that things have a way of getting done regardless of who steps up. Our God is a servant king and he asks us to be like him. Hmm... perhaps I should save this for another Blog post. ;)

Cherie Hill said...

What a fantastic post...so very thought provoking. The truth is...each one of us is His Church...we ARE the body. So glad to meet you sister!
With joy,
Cherie