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By Mike Stickler
2 Kings 12:7
Therefore, King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.”
Remember that famous line from the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner? ‘Build it and they will come.’ Many in Christendom believe that this is the reason for building or expanding their facilities. For some, it even becomes a point of division within their congregation.
Statistically, it’s true that once a church goes through one building project, they will do it again within five years. Then again in five to seven years—because of the growth their church has, by then, experienced.
On the face of it, it’s true:
When you build it, they DO come.
But, I would propose to you that the new building is not the reason they come.
Building a new or expanded facility really only facilitates the on-going ministries in a more manageable way.
But the problem here is, that this Field of Dreams line is nearly always misquoted (as it is above).
In fact, the line from the movie is (in just a whisper):
‘If you build it, he will come.’
No kidding! Google the phrase, click the video clip, and listen very closely!
Believe me, I have traveled the world and been in every type of house of worship you can imagine – from the most grandiose of cathedrals to the modern mega-churches (nearly a college campus, in size) to humble huts in the jungle with a swept dirt floor – God loves it when His people come together in worship and fellowship.
I would propose to you, that in the proper relationship, the need for additional square footage is not because ‘building attracts growth.’ Rather, it’s a sign of a healthy ministry that is growing. And, like a growing child, it needs bigger and more suitable clothes to wear.
The divisive tension that some experience when a ministry sets off on a growth challenge to meet its organic needs is because not everyone understands what is truly happening. Or they’re somehow justifying their withholding—in the face of a generous opportunity.
In 2 Kings 12, King Joash required the priest and all who participated in the temple to make it their lives’ priority that it would be suitable to worship. They were asked to sacrifice for God’s building. Not because the Lord needed a fancier place to dwell; but, because He wanted a suitable and honorable place for His people to come together for worship and fellowship.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Is the church you serve planning on an expansion or just gone through one? Did you observe the difficulties of others as you went through it? Were you one of those with the difficulties? Have you lived up to your commitment to that expansion? If not, how can you reconcile and live up to it today? If an expansion is in your future, what are your apprehensions, if any?
Write it all down here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.
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