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Building A Church

Building A Church

"...on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18

One of the most memorable lines in recent movie history came from the movie "Field of Dreams"--if you build it they will come. In the story, the quotation was from a mysterious voice urging a man to turn his corn field into a baseball diamond. The voice beckoned the hero of the story to build his field, at which time legendary, but long deceased, baseball players would appear out of the corn field to play baseball.

Of course the quotation has now left the confines of mythical baseball games and taken a life of its own. If you build it they will come can be applied to shopping malls, restaurants, and yes, churches and church buildings--especially the latter. There is this notion that if we build the right kind of facility, if we build the right kind of program, seemingly if we punch the right set of emotional buttons, people will come. They'll like our programs, they'll like our attractive facilities. If we build bigger and better, people will flock to see what is going on.

I suspect little of that mentality has anything to do with what Jesus set out to build on Peter's confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" Creating community, creating the body of Christ--the church--is not about construction companies, and auditoriums, and parking lots and programs. It is about faith. It is about people who share that faith and bear witness to the Christ in their lives and in their assemblies. The truth is that as Christ is recreated in his people, others indeed are attracted. What is so exciting at Brentwood Hills right now is not the talk about physical buildings but the atmosphere of spiritual building that is creating such powerful encounters with God in our worship assemblies. There is the shared belief that what is happening here is not the result of human planning and agendas but it is the construction work of Christ, building his church and being glorified through his people. If he builds it, they will come!
John O. York

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