OK, so I’m talking about church buildings becoming less prominent in the future as Christians move to smaller gatherings. Then Ed Stetzer publishes research showing that megachurches continue to grow in number. The annoying thing about Ed is that he doesn’t just make assertions; he has statistics to back it up.
Even so, I think we need to remember something very important: most human organizations lose their original purpose. Some quickly, some not so quickly, but most change their initial goals for one common to such groups: survival. It’s easy for our focus to be on continuing existence of our group. That’s especially true for a congregation.
We need to be careful that we want to reach younger generations so that they will come to a saving relationship with God. It’s not about keeping our lights turned on. It’s not about having a place for us to meet when we get old. We want to reach out (be it to young people, Hispanics, or bank presidents) so that people will hear the good news of salvation.
If we’re not careful, the fact that “this congregation has been here for over 70 years” takes precedence over the question of whether the congregation is serving the Kingdom or not. If the congregation’s focus becomes survival, maybe it’s time to let others take its place.
So why do we have a building? There can be a number of reasons: having a place where a large number of us can worship together, having a place for outreach effort, having space for educational activities for our kids, having a unifying location. But our continuing as a congregation and maintaining a common piece of property have to be secondary to the good of the Kingdom. We need to seek his Kingdom and righteousness. When that’s our goal, the rest will be worked out, be it in a large building or in scattered house churches.