WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT A NEW SANCTUARY
We as a staff team are very excited – getting to utilize such a beautiful space for our worship services and other ministries is an amazing blessing! Our fervent prayer is that this worship space will make way for a whole new generation of worshipers to engage with the Lord and with the family of BCBC in the years to come.
Church buildings have been around since the earliest days of Christian gatherings – although they really came into prominence after Constantine’s Edict of Milan (official toleration of Christianity) and the spread of the faith in the centuries following. Prior to that, churches met in homes and even in catacombs (tombs!). Then, after the freedom (and money) to build was available, some Christian groups began erecting vast cathedrals, believing the architecture itself was a means with which to glorify God. Today, we recognize church buildings as helpful tools for local ministry, and modern buildings usually emphasize the practical a bit more than the inspirational (although I think our facility has a touch of both!).
Here are a few ways to think about BCBC's building:
- It isn’t “the church,” rather, it is where the church meets. The church is God’s people, gathering in Jesus’ name. Around the world there are house-churches, hut-churches, apartment-churches, garage-churches, forest-churches, cave-churches, cathedral-churches and, well, churches like ours. A building is optional. A congregation is not!
- It should showcase our values, but it isn’t a value. Values that define us – like the gospel, humility, being others-first, Jesus-focused, family-friendly, etc. – can all be reflected in the buildings we erect for ministry use, but the building itself should never become a “non-negotiable value” in our hearts. Buildings and their décor are temporary (just like everything else on earth), and while we aim to be great stewards of our building for God’s glory, we’d never want to think of ourselves as locked-in and defined by a human structure. If there were a more effective way to grow God’s kingdom apart from our facility, we wouldn’t want to miss out on that!
- It is a tool for ministry. The BCBC facility represents the hard work and sacrificial giving of multiple generations of believers, spanning all the way back to the founding members of the church decades ago. We are EXTREMELY grateful to everyone who has made this wonderful “ministry tool” possible in the center of Berrien County. It is a blessing we hope we can continue to upgrade, as God leads, so that many more generations will benefit from it in years to come.
- It should reflect a spirit of excellence, for God’s glory. This celebration time is a great moment to reconsider our efforts to, in all areas of our building, maintain a clean, clear, safe, inspiring, practical, and appealing environment for ministry activities. I for one am very grateful for our janitorial and maintenance staff, who do an exceptional job at making things look sharp. Let’s endeavor to make their work a bit easier by leaving our ministry areas a better than we found them, whenever we are the ones benefiting from facility use.
- It should be ready for guests. The sanctuary wasn’t built for you to enjoy – at least, not ONLY you. Our whole building is like a “front door” people can walk through to get into our church family, and just like when we have company coming over for dinner, we want our front door and living room areas to look as good as they can. We want guests to feel comfortable and welcome, to literally feel at home in our home! For the church, that means that everything from our paint colors to our directional signage, our stage lighting to our parking lot matters in the big picture – all of it can either help or hinder someone walking in the door for the first time. (I like to think that an excellent, hospitable environment is an extension of our shared commitment to “love one more.”)
For Sundays ahead, let’s rejoice in this blessing the Lord is allowing us to enjoy as we meet in such a wonderful space. And, let’s be sure to invite “one more” to fill the seat next to us.
Interim Teaching Pastor