by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
I hear these laments everywhere I go:
We are trapped by deferred maintenance.
The last building campaign fell short, so the debt is killing us.
We can raise money for the building but not for ministry.
We want to build but we’re not sure why.
We are raising money and building new buildings, but people are leaving.
The range of emotions around our facilities is hurting our soul and I don’t take this lightly. I love “going” to church, even while I fully embrace that the church is not the building.
The bigger questions are below the surface. The Building Blues are a true call to answer the question of purpose.
Why does my congregation exist?
What are our values?
Clarity of purpose and values gives us a platform for making hard decisions about our buildings. Our purpose and values call us to sell, to move, to downsize, to build or more. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to every building question, but there must be, at the heart of this lament, a passion for the Gospel or we aren’t really talking about God’s church. We are stalled in our own nostalgia. Admit it.
Votes to build need to include the voices of the people who will carry the mortgage and the mission forward. They can even include partners in the community who care about the purpose and values.
We can renovate for the people who are in the room right now, or we can build our vision for the future with a generous, caring commitment to the people in our neighborhood.
This is a leap of a faith.
If you find yourself being drawn into lament after lament, it is a good sign that it is time to push the purpose of the congregation out into the world around you.
Nothing gets rid of the blues more than hope.