It has been a year since I left being a “professional Pastor” at a church. I am now an attender at a church. It is an interesting transition which is not complete.
North America (Canada) is a strange and critical place, and implementing the vision Jesus set before us in the great commission is complicated. Jesus never required a building or programs (it would seem) to implement His vision through his work. Of course, he did use the infrastructure in place quite a lot, so he did not seem to reject the notion that the places were useful.
The ongoing conversation (and one that I think needs to continue) is whether or not it is wise to spend millions of dollars on buildings, land, sound equipment etc., when the money could be spent to feed the poor in Canada and around the world.
Here is where the disconnect is for me. Remembering I work daily to feed children in Canada and around the world. Our mission as Christians is primarily to teach and live the teachings of Jesus. Literally, creating atmospheres and opportunities for more people to just hear about Jesus and what he taught. An outcome from living what he taught should be both extravagant worship of Jesus and God (think of the women who poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet with His approval) AND taking care of the poor (think Jesus asking in heaven why we did not give water and food to those in need).
So for me the answer is an ongoing tension. To build a building that can communicate in the vernacular of our time musically and through teaching makes sense, even if it costs some money. What doesn’t make sense is the Pastor or people in the congregation living high on the hog. That too, of course, is a sliding scale worthy of much debate, but at some point we must sacrifice things to live more simply and give more away.
Like I said, ongoing tension, but sometimes the tension can be created because the vision is not being viewed holistically.