The words in the title are a little out of order. It should read “The perfect church building.” I’ve given up on the idea of building a perfect church – at least on this side of heaven. So today I want to build the perfect church building.
When I was a kid in elementary school I went to a church that had a perfect building… for playing hide-and-seek. It had been built in several stages through the mid-1900′s and was filled with what seemed like unlimited nooks and crannies and hallways and little classrooms big enough to hold a maximum of about 8 of those miniature sized chairs. And while our parents met on Wednesday nights to learn how to teach the Sunday school lesson, we ran wild in our hide-and-seek labyrinth.
But then my Dad became pastor of a different church – and whoever designed that building had evidently never been a kid. Except the new church had a gym. And as a teenager having a gym was actually a bigger deal.
Eventually that church built two new buildings in a new location, and as an adult I was somewhat involved in the planning of those two projects. By that time I was concerned that the building be functional, practical, and able to be used in a multitude of ways.
Today my church doesn’t have a building. Sometimes we meet at the community college. Some weeks we meet at the local cinema. But not having a building isn’t all bad. It’s a great reminder that the church isn’t really a place but a people. And those people can meet together anywhere.
But not having a building has made me think about what kind of building I would build if I were building a church today. And this is what I have come up with.
1. It should have an auditorium with a flat stage and a nice big screen behind it. The floor should be flat, too. And I like the idea of removable chairs vs. pews so that the room can be used in multiple ways.
2. It should also have a couple of smaller auditoriums – one dedicated to kids, and another dedicated to teens.
3. It should have a cafe/coffee shop with lots of tables and couches and fireplaces.
4. It should have a bookstore. And possibly a study area.
5. It should have an indoor playground (I’m still thinking about being a kid at church).
6. It should have a gym. With wood floors.
7. Mabye it should have an exercise room and a weight room, and maybe even some raquetball courts. How about a rock climbing wall? And how about a game room with ping pong tables, air hockey and couple of big screens for gaming systems?
8. It needs to have classrooms, too – because education is very important. But I would hope that they could be flexible and have the ability to be configured in many ways.
9. Finally, it should have an office for me – right in the middle of it all.
I know, I know. This doesn’t sound like much of a church building. It sounds more like a community center. And that’s exactly my thinking. Remember – it’s really not about a building but about people. But how cool would it be if the church were the favorite place for people in the community to go hang out?! Could it be the place where relationships are built, and where those relationships result in people coming to Christ? That’s my idea.
(10. I’m still debating a water slide that dumps into the baptismal pool.)
Filed under: Ministry