Sunday, July 18, 2010

"buildings are sacred places"

I had an opportunity to attend a gathering Saturday morning.  Thank the Lord it ended up being something different than what was planned!  A meeting and ideas for fund raising was planned.  But, it ended up being an opportunity to see what God is doing in other parts of the world.

I had the opportunity to meet Imir and Janette.  They are ministering in Imir's country.  Both Imir and Janette spoke eloquently about their ministry and their home, the newest country on the planet, Kosova.

The list of things that are different between their home country and mine is HUGE!  And I could pick any one of a number of them to blog about.  But Imir made a statement while discussing the need to purchase a building in one of the cities in Kosova.  He is currently leading a small group of Believers in a building that is not a church.  And that building is in much need of repair.  So they are looking to try to locate a building to purchase.  In his country, a church is really not taken seriously unless they have a permanent facility or building.  In his country, "buildings are sacred places."

There it was.  Did you catch it?  He said buildings are sacred places.

I thought about my church today and many of the churches that I have attended in recent years.  Some of them didn't even look like churches.  And I am not here to debate the relative merits of the "sanctunorium" or the multi-purpose building.  But I miss the days when you walked reverently into the sanctuary.  You didn't run inside the church and passing notes was the 8th deadly sin!

Do you think there is any connection between the informality of the new church and the lack of a deep abiding reverence for the Lord's House?  Again, I am not attacking the modern church.  But what "message" is being sent to the congregation when the pulpit has been replaced with a bar stool and a tall table?

Have we lost a sense for what is sacred?

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  1. Anonymous11:12 PM

    This is very thought provoking. So is it the building that makes it sacred or the people in it that make it sacred? Somewhere along the line, we have become less sacred ourselves thus making our buildings less sacred. You hear people say 'nothing is sacred anymore' and I think they are right. When we reallllyyy understand how Holy God is, we can't help but be more sacred. Great thoughts, Kevin!
    Patty J.
    P.S. I don't make comments very often so don't really know what I am doing:) But I love to read what you have to say!

  2. Patty, I think you are spot on! I think the essence of the problems in the modern evangelical church is a definite lack of sacredness on a personal level. It is not being taught, emphasized or modeled near enough.

    I wonder what John Wesley say about this topic?

  3. Scott1:49 PM

    I think about this often actually. I feel as though "sacredness" is missing from my walk of faith. So much that, I think it has enabled me to become slightly lazy in my walk. Can get a sermon on TV, the internet or the radio and I can get the local CCM at the same places.

    If I don't sense a something set apart in the building I walk into......then what makes me go there?

  4. Anonymous6:54 PM

    Your blog was sent to me by a friend. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Here are mine: For some, the word sacred conjures up mental images of solemnity, speaking in whispers, pipe organs, candle lit stone walled sanctuaries and choir processions. For others, sacred can be anything that is set apart from the common. For the former, it is hard for
    them to conjure up such mental images in a converted school cafeteria (with "Home of the Wildcats" posters on the wall) or a movie theater. However,
    for the latter, a clearing in the woods with split log benches would be workable. I guess what I'm saying is that I recognize that different people
    have different desires as to what defines a sacred space -- and we have to be mindful of that as we design worship spaces. But I think the days of
    building large-footprint religious campuses are over (i.e., a sanctuary that is sacredly imposing, a cozy candle-lit chapel area, a ponderous church
    library that could do double-duty as a scriptorium, classrooms in another building so the "noise" doesn't intrude on the sacred worship space, etc.).
    I think we should focus more on what goes on in our sacred spaces -- and have the spaces be appropriate to what is going on -- versus building something that looks like what sacred space looked like 50, 100, 1,000 years ago. Personally, I feel very at home in a traditional large church sanctuary, in an informal rural church chapel, in a multi-purpose room turned into a worship space at a retreat, and in the Canadian Rockies alone with God. In short, sacred is where I and God meet -- wherever that is.

  5. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the comments. Very insightful. I am glad that someone passed my blog along to you. I would love to know who so I could thank them. If you feel comfortable sharing it, shoot me an email at



  6. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Great thoughts and so true.

  7. Hi, great post firstly!

    i agree that church buildings should only be used for church an not anything else like When Jesus cleared the temple of the moneychangers and animal-sellers. i think respect goes a long way, and the same rules should apply regardless of which generation you from.