Celebrate Your Turflessness

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One of the most ridiculous things about brick-and-morter church is the astonishing waste of square footage.

Sunday School wings that sit vacant 167 out of 168 hours (or 99.4% of the time) each week.

Sanctuaries that *might* get twice as much usage: perhaps 98.8% vacant.

Teensy offices to house part-time staff so they can feel claustrophobic for the 10 hours per week they’re in the building, while there’s tens of thousands of square feet sitting utterly unoccupied.

And yet the first question anyone who’s never been part of a church plant asks is inevitably — you guessed it! — “When do you plan on getting a building?”

My response?

“Never.”

The easiest way to get outside of the “four walls” of the church is to not have “four walls” to begin with.

Don’t whine about having to set up chairs and tables. Celebrate the fact that you get to configure them in whatever way you want. Don’t complain about not having an office. Celebrate the fact that you can work anywhere–at the library, coffee shop, or at your kitchen table. Don’t fret about not having your own turf. Celebrate the fact that your church is a body and not a building. And celebrate the fact that you aren’t wasting real estate and the money and energy it costs to maintain it for the 8,632 hours annually that your church is scattered into its neighborhoods and vocations.

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9 thoughts on “Celebrate Your Turflessness

  1. I agree with this. We’ve been renting/sharing a church building with an aging Disciples of Christ church for nearly seven years. It’s been a great relationship and we’ve benefitted a lot from it. Most importantly, it enabled us to hire an assistant pastor which was a huge blessing. Our time here may be ending soon, but I have no interest in looking to build or buy.

      • I’ve been putting out some feelers regarding the possibility of doing another church share. With a growing decline in the mainline protestant churches more are becoming open to it. We’ve also looked at a local high school with an auditorium that might open up. We’ll see.

  2. Pingback: Don’t Plant a Building | Gardens Don't Launch

  3. Hmmm, do you think more churches will have ‘yolked’ buildings? Maybe two missional churches, perhaps from different denominations and/or theological traditions yolk together in sharing a building (mortgaged or rented)? This may not be your ideal, Andy, but it seems to be better stewardship than the current model.

    • I like that idea as an alternative to the present wastefulness. But I’m still not entirely sure that a 7-day church building is ever even close to necessary.

      If even corporations are considering “coworking” space as part of the necessary agility to compete today, it ought to be instinctual for churches, which are inherently more mobile than corporations.

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