Christian Excuses: We are in the middle of a Building program
When this Christian Excuse raises its ugly head, it reveals our deeply misguided priorities regarding the global nature of the Gospel. Jesus gave us a straightforward command in the Great Commission. "As you are going, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them & teaching them to obey the things I have commanded you."
Jesus unquestionably desires His church to be a mobile force, primarily focused on expanding his kingdom into every nation, tribe, and tongue.
Again in Acts 1:8, Jesus says, "…you WILL BE my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." It seems pretty clear that the final instructions Jesus gave to the church were to go and establish His kingdom. The fact that He says you "will be" means that every Christian in the early church had a significant part in this mission. It was not just the sent missionaries but the entire church. The missionaries were merely an extension of the local church's ministry.
Since we have established that, let's take a closer look at this excuse. It is most commonly heard when there is a financial need for some Great Commission activity. But since the finances of the church are tied up in the building project, they can not fund the missionary or the expansion of His Kingdom into enemy territory. This reasoning is problematic for multiple reasons.
First, the construction of church buildings, though in rare circumstances necessary, is not commanded or even mentioned by Jesus or the apostles. His church was intended to be lean and mobile, an active force in the world, bringing hope, healing, and good news to people who were lost hurting and hopeless.
Instead, the church has become a static institution that offers religious and moral platitudes rather than a new life in Christ. The church in America has now become more associated with political and patriotic action than mission & humanitarian involvement.
When we focus our finances on buildings, carpet, pews and air conditioning systems to the detriment of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner, and taking the Gospel to those who haven't heard, we are building a tower of Babel.
After the flood, God Commanded the sons of Noah to go out and multiply, to fill the earth and reproduce. But instead, the descendants of Noah stayed in Babel and tried to make themselves great, ignoring the command of the Lord.
They build for themselves a tower. They said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." You know the rest of the story, because of their blatant disobedience to the command of God, he confused their tongues and passively forced them to disperse.
In the same way, He commanded us to disperse into all the nations (to the ends of the earth even) and establish His kingdom everywhere we go.
He called on us to reproduce the hope and new life that we have received into others by meeting their needs and introducing them to Jesus. When we invest the lion's share of our resources into our buildings, we have strayed from the very purpose of the church. We are in opposition to the great commission.
STOP MAKING EXCUSES
And make missions giving a top priority again.
There are Billions of people who still haven't heard.
Millions only exposed to a partial or distorted version of the Gospel.
The most important investment we can make is into the lives of these lost sheep.
Can your church go just five more years with outdated carpet?
Can you find a way to make do with the facilities that you have so that the Gospel can be presented in Afganistan or deep in the jungles of the Amazon?
The money most churches would spend on a typical renovation or new construction could send 50 long-term missionaries to the field, which could result in hundreds or thousands of new believers and countless churches. These are financial investments that reap spiritual rewards.
It's time for us to neglect our towers and build His kingdom.
If you would like to read the other entries in this series start here: