It’s true you know…
Church isn’t a building. But one of the most asked questions when I describe our startup church is, “Where’s your building?” It’s not their fault. I know what they are really asking. I know what they mean. But it is reflective of a huge misunderstanding about the church. Somewhere along the way, church became a building where events were held on Sundays.
It probably has a lot to do with biblical translation confusion. No matter the intent of translators, there’s always going to be elements lost in translation. One such element in our English translations is the idea of the word “church.” Jesus said he would “build” his ekklesia. This is translated, church. But the most literal translation is “gathering.” Many people believe the misunderstanding was derived from German translations of the word. That’s why we use church (a building) rather than a gathering of people. No matter how the confusion happened, it happened. And our current ideas are certainly affected.
I recently met with a local business leader who’s entire job is funding, coaching, and growing businesses and their leaders. We discussed “church.” One observation he made, correctly, is how important it is going to be for Downtown Faith to help people rethink church. Shattering preconceived ideas about the church is a large portion of my current job responsibilities. Americans understand church to be a certain thing. And we aren’t planning on being that thing.
We are looking for a permanent facility…
While a church isn’t a building, we are looking for a building. It’s our next big thing. We aren’t sure how it’s going to happen. But we are praying it happens and trusting it will happen. The real question, “Why look for a building if the church isn’t a building?”
To provide context I want to give you 3 ways churches “gather”:
1.) Many churches buy property and build. This is mostly true of traditional churches that have been around a while.
2.) A lot of “church plants” are portable. Meaning they rent a temporary space and transform it into “church.” Spaces include, but are not limited to: schools, movie theaters, hotel ballrooms, etc.
3.) Other churches inherit and restore old church buildings.
Certainly, portable churches shatter the expectation of church being a building. If we really want to change perception shouldn’t we be portable? Wouldn’t this market our church as a gathering of people? Maybe so. And we considered this. But it’s not our current direction.
When trying to decide whether to be portable or permanent we had to consider a few things:
1.) Which option will create the greatest potential for community?
2.) Which option will be most cost effective for a startup church?
3.) Which option works best for where we want to exists?
We really thought long and hard about our scenario and how best to move forward. We wanted to answer these questions in faith and wisdom. We wanted to choose real community revitalization. We had to get this right. I heard one pastor say, “We shape our buildings, and then our buildings shape us.” If this is true we needed to get this right. We think we did.
Here’s why we chose to pursue a more permanent solution:
1.) A building provides us with more opportunity to connect people. In a 24/7 town like Las Vegas, Sunday service might look more like Sunday/Monday night service. More permanent equals more possibilities.
2.) We are trusting God for the money to do whatever it is God wants to do in downtown Las Vegas. It costs money either way. We don’t have a bunch of mega-churches funding us. We are operating on the faith that God knows where the money will come from. Cost doesn’t matter as much as faith and generosity.
3.) In a world where startups blossom and fade away regularly, we want to prove we’re here to stay. Embedding ourselves in the scenery of downtown will help people believe that we are here for real and for them.
What’s next for us..?
It’s simple…we raise the funds and find a place.
If you believe you could help with either of these next steps, please contact us. If you know someone who would love to help with either of these steps, send them our way. We can’t do this alone. Join the discussion!