This statement helps to shift our perspective. It’s easier to lay claim to a small part of the church building rather than the whole.
Where are some areas that we like to take ownership? Perhaps in the sanctuary. We can grow accustomed to sitting in particular sections week after week, year after year. We may feel disturbed if can’t get ‘our’ spot. In the more extreme instances, guests have been chased away from worship services because they unknowingly sat down in someone’s preferred place. Perhaps we like to own our ministry title or church office position. Though elected to serve for a term, we figure out how to do things just right, weaving service into our daily lives. As changes occur in the department, we may personalize hurt and confusion as our identities are shifted.
In the same way that we own certain areas, we may also disown areas. Perhaps the Sabbath School rooms go unnoticed because they don’t affect us directly. The office space, audio/visual booth, personal ministries room, janitorial supplies and more are areas that are not accessed by everyone each week. We may overlook them because they’re not a part of our weekly routine. Yet, they’re all a part of the whole.
We’re encouraged here to own the whole building. We could rephrase that to say own the property. Every part of this church belongs to us. We should invest in its upkeep, cheerfully tending to the needs of the church. When we invite people to our homes, we expend effort to making the place look nice. It takes a group effort to maintain our church facility.
Owning the church as ‘ours’ should go beyond agreeing with its theology and doctrine. The people–both guests and members–in it are ours, as well as the facility. We don’t have to be the original designer or an assigned caretaker to take care of God’s house. When we have the ability to help, let’s do it.
This is part of our Practicing Hospitality series. Visit the introduction page to see the other articles in the series.