What Would You Do if Your Church Building Was Gone?

If the Church could do nothing, but only one thing to survive, I would suggest that discipleship would be it. Discipleship–disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples–is, I believe, the primary vehicle through which God desires to win men.

Our Jesus discipled from the onset of His ministry. He didn’t only disciple His core 12 that we know so well, but He discipled many others along the way. Jesus knew and understood the importance of empowering the individual believer to be equipped to lead others to Himself.

He knew that He was leaving and that the Church would need to grow, through individual men and the Holy Spirit. But, today however, so many of us rely on our church buildings, pastors, programs, services, and the like to “empower” us to make disciples.

Here is the fundamental question: If your church building were stripped away and your pastor quit preaching from the pulpit, would YOU be able to lead, teach, and bring others to the Lord?

Francis Chan on Politics from Nate Hanson on Vimeo.

 Please share your thoughts on the question I posed above, as well as responses to this video. Do you make disciples? Would you be prepared to do so if the church as we know it changed dramatically?

17 thoughts on “What Would You Do if Your Church Building Was Gone?”

  1. I never had a church. And none of my family is christian. neither were my friends as I was growing up. Still, I somehow managed to keeep my faith from when I was very young until today. Without any outside help. Just me, my bible, and a child’s prayer. In my mind, other christians were 80 year old ladies. I didn’t feel part of it. Until I met other christians my age when I was 17, and then when I was 19 I moved away to go to University, and found a church where I felt like I was home. I know I can be without church and still share Jesus with the people around me, it just doesn’t seem to have much affect, not on my family anyway.Now, Ive graduated and moved back home for a while, away from my church back to a place where Im the only christian around. It’s been really hard. But I’ve been doing my best to not be pulled away from Jesus, But it’s a daily struggle. In a way it was easier when I had no church, I didn’t know how wonderful it could be, its difficult to go back to that place where it was only me and God.

    1. Emelie, you have certainly had a unique experience in (and out) of the Church. I don’t think the church is a building, but rather the people of God, do even despite attending a service on Sunday, we still need other believers. God did not design us to be alone. I’m glad you were able to realize this in college and will be praying for the new friendships, fellowship, and community where you are now.

      1. You are 100% right about that, it’s people and not houses that make up a church. And I feel lucky that I’ve been able to keep in touch with people from my church in the city I’ve moved away from. It’s still a struggle, but I’m learning new ways to be a christian and be me everyday. I guess this is what it feels like when God is building character. Thank you for your prayers, greatly appreciated.

  2. Great question, Nicole. That’s what we do. We go periodically to a more traditional church ourselves to visit but we operate in a more relational, holistic approach here in Paraguay. Most of what we would term as church is very nontraditional looking and not dominated by one or two people. We use life as the backdrop to our ministry here. BTW we do not plant churches, we plant and water Jesus and disciple people in how to find church through community.

    1. I am stealing this line Ken. It is pure gold: “we do not plant churches, we plant and water Jesus and disciple people in how to find church through community.” YES! That is my heart right there. Think of all Christ and His disciples accomplished without ever setting foot inside a temple (or church). Investing in people was how Jesus grew the church and He calls us to do nothing less.

      May the Lord pour out His provision and power on your ministry there.

  3. Loved this. I want to bring thIs question to my small group. I have such a desire to have a house church and get away from the big denominations. I just don’t want to become a cult. Thanks for this one.

    1. So glad that it got you thinking and I hope you do share it with your small group. If you are looking to start a house church, have you read any material on it? Frank Viola and his blog Beyond Evangelical is a great resource. I have also written a few posts on house church, as well, as my husband and I started one here.

      If you’re interested, here’s a link to my topics page that has all my relevant house church posts: http://modernreject.com/category/featured/house-church/

  4. It’s funny how we try to make scripture fit into our lives rather than the other way around. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” and we’ve translated that into, “Go and invite people to church so your pastors can disciple them.” Discipleship is so much more than inviting people to church. It’s being willing to bring someone alongside of us and lead them by example. Teach them to pray. Teach them to study scripture. Teach them to follow Christ and endure all that comes with that. Good post, great reminder of what we need to be doing.

  5. This post comes at a really interesting time. I started out at a church that is focused on the building and the leader. After a year of prayer, God answered and I am now at a small church whose main focus is making disciples, and then a few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in being discipled! I agree with Francis Chan that relations are straining between Christians and everyone else. I doubt it will be long before we’ll be restricted to house churches. I know that if something were to happen now, I’d be fairly prepared for that situation, but I’m not so sure about the majority of church goers.

  6. Great question! Found your site yesterday and love your posts. I’ve learned over the last couple years that WE (I) am the church. If I’m just counting on my pastor to bring me closer to God once/week I’m seriously out of tune with God’s plan.

  7. OK, definitely going to bring this in discussion with my youth group. Great post! I think a house gathering is the closest thing to the New Testament churches, although they did have a whole lot less “members” then than we do now, and it was probably not safe for them to set up in public.

  8. Quite possibly the best thing that could happen to the church would be to lose the buildings, programs, staff, and all the other trappings. Then we might be free to have honest , loving relationships with our neighbors. We might finally have the money to help the poor, and the time to be compassionate to those in need. We might actually develop deeply satisfying relationships with fellow believers.

  9. Well, my church, pastor, and building DID go away (through circumstances entirely directed by the Lord and welcomed by me), and I ended up in your living room, learning how to operate in my motivational and spiritual giftings.

  10. We would meet twice a week in someone’s home instead of once a week in a building we rent, sharing space with a piano store/performance studio and once a week in someone’s home. We would not stop meeting with other believers, but instead meet to encourage each other in the faith.

    “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;” Acts 17:26–our church’s teaching from last week.

    You do such a great job of helping us keep our focus on Jesus. Keep up the good work!

  11. Great post! God led me totally out of the institutional church for two years. When I was in the church, the emphasis was, bring them into our building! But when I was outside of the institutional church, I was able to reach so many more! Many of the people I have ministered to would never set foot in a church building, but they will gladly visit with me.

  12. Yes, as a matter of fact we my church gathers at a large Intelligencia Coffee Shop/Vegetarian Cafe in our downtown district. That’s by design. It gives a place for our target audience to gather with sufficient room to do so (75-100), but functioning as one element of making disciples. We are very much a hybrid of church style.

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