No one in this post-Christian context will come to a building to hear someone teaching the Bible anymore – right?
Everyone who wants to explore spirituality feels much more comfortable doing that in a lounge room – right?
We shape our buildings and then they shape us – right?
Christianity is post-institutional, post -theological, post-mod..(don’t say it – Ed), and post-building, right?
So now that we established all of that, waddya think of the uber-funky kinda-retro, sort-of-po-mo-in-an-ironic-sort-of-way building that Providence Midland is going to be meeting in for the fortnightly gatherings of all of its Missional Communities? Pretty good huh? It’s just like Spurgeon’s tabernacle without the tabernacley bit (or the Spurgeony bit – Ed)
So why a building, and why one like this?
1. We are passionate about the gospel: We think homes are good places to meet for church, but we are not passionate to the point of being ideological about it. We think buildings are good places to meet for church, but we are not passionate to the point of being ideological about it. The gospel drives us, not the place we meet. Get too passionate about the location and you are probably less passionate about the gospel.
2. We are passionate about people: Some people will be happy to explore Christianity in your lounge room. Others will be happy to be explore it in a church building. No one will be happy to explore Christianity ANYWHERE if they feel you are not interested in them, if you make no effort to get to know them, or if you give off the sulphurous whiff of moralism/legalism. A household meeting is NOT the lower threshold we have been told it is, certainly not in suburban Australia. Besides, my experience is that some people like to explore the gospel face to face, eyeball to eyeball (good for your small household meeting), while others like to be a little more anonymous and soak it in for a while (good for your gathered building meeting). If you’re a building guy and you would never countenance doing household for the gospel, chances are you are not a “people guy”. If you are a household gal and you would never countenance doing building for the gospel, chances are you are not a “people-gal”.
3. We are passionate about Midland: Providence Church decided to make its second hub in Midland because the elders saw that it was an under-reached area with the gospel, is experiencing demographic change and growth, and is not the traditional middle-clas enclave of many evangelical churches. This building sits in the middle of the Midland township, with major roads on either side, and right next to the shopping and cafe (there are cafes in Midland? – incredulous snobby roast-his-own-beans Ed) strip. Our fortnightly missional communities meet in houses in the surrounding suburbs, but our main fortnightly gathering is central because we love Midland. There are a dozen places to have lunch right near it, perfect for follow up conversations and invites of newbies.
4. We are passionate about preaching: No one will sit and listen to someone preach anymore, right? We’ve seen the future and it’s dialogue/conversation/collaborative learning/ guy-in-jeans-and-striped-shirt-with-Greek-tattoo-on-his-arm-sitting-on-a-bar-stool-on-the-stage, right? Sure, and it’s preaching too, so we’re gunna.
5. It’s free (And who isn’t passionate about free stuff – the gospel being a free gift and all that?) God has gifted us with a well-maintained building that, for the moment, isn’t selling and isn’t getting picked up by a business for rent. It is heritage listed, refurbished, with ante-rooms, a kitchen and a gated garden. One of our core team members works for the business that owns it, so we have it for now. So it’s just another little gift of grace from God.
Now where did I put that neon Providence Church sign?