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What Makes it Beautiful?

I was looking for something and reread this that I wrote several years ago, but it was a great encouragement so I wanted to re-present it here today.

We know a church is not a building, but we can still associate the two nevertheless. Years ago when we pastored in Juneau, we and our church family spent a lot of time and energy moving the church “stuff” (even for one around 50 or so people, it was a lot of work). Here’s the photo of after we had it cleaned out.

What words would you use to describe this?

Cold, uninviting, drab, empty… The list could go on. The word, beautiful, would probably not spring to mind as you look at it.

Within those walls, however, for a little over three years, people met and laughed. We worshipped Jesus. We repented and received forgiveness. We heard God’s word preached.  We built relationships and had lots of parties, food, and fun. People’s lives changed in amazing ways.

Once we were done, all the chairs, sound equipment, tables, and everything else that identified it as a meeting place are gone. The cycle and season for its purpose ended and  it may now be occupied by an accountant, community organization, or something else entirely.

The next picture is of the building we moved into after the mall.

Looks a bit like a large garage, right? We changed it quite a bit from when I took this photo, but architecturally, there’s no denying it was never going to be the Sistine Chapel. It looked like a converted garage.  Granted, we made it as nice as possible, but that part doesn’t matter so much.

I know what made it beautiful wasn’t the color of paint or just the right lighting.  When I think of this building I see the opportunities God gave people to love and be loved. I see the weddings we had there. The prayer meetings and oh so many potlucks.

I see families restored and strengthened. Miracles prayed for and many received (whether prayed for or not). Worship rose. Spiritual chains broken.

It was a place dedicated to finding the most needed change in our world, but still a building and nothing more.

It represented people, the body of Christ. His Church being encouraged and strengthened, equipped and sent. It’s this vision that makes the place beautiful.

The season for this building too came to an end, but the impact and what remains will be eternal. Now my wonderful, amazing parents-in-law and dear church family still love people there in Juneau while God moved me and my family to other adventures.

It’s a Breakthrough Church, and breakthrough is bigger than a place or a season. Jesus is going to find the one lost, needy, hurting through anyone who will listen at any location.

They may be pursuing God’s best from yet another building, but wherever His people are, wherever His presence is, that’s what makes it a place of beauty.

What are your thoughts on this? Have you experienced this?

4 Comments

  1. The places are temporary, the souls eternal. It’s not about real estate, even in the end times, in my opinion. It’s about Christ. HE IS THE TEMPLE!!!

    • You’re so right! It can be hard to see when a congregation has been in one location for 20 or 30 years even generations. I’m thankful to have had this experience as a reminder that like you said, Jesus is the temple. He is the head of the body. He is the Church. So good! Thank you, Floyd.

  2. It is the gathering of God’s people, no matter where, that defines the church. And that is definitely a place of beauty!
    Blessings, Jason!

    • Yes and amen. When God shows up, beautiful just happens. 🙂 Thank you, Martha.

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