I remember being an associate minister in a church that moved into a spanking brand-new facility. Everything was new and everything was beautiful. New chairs. New carpeting. New doors. New sound system. The Pastor was very proud of this facility and he gave all of his leaders a charge:
“Do not let anyone eat or drink in the sanctuary. Do not let anyone abuse the furniture. Don’t let anyone touch the windows.”
This was all understandable (sort of) because everything was so new. And everything was so costly. But here was the main reason given:
“This is God’s House and we must treat it with reverence. It is a place that is consecrated”
Now, I understand certain facilities demand a certain decorum. Courtrooms, libraries, schools, hospitals, and funeral homes come readily to mind. If you generally don’t eat, drink, or act a fool in these buildings, you shouldn’t do it in church.
I get that.
The problem I have is that we venerate religious buildings above any other building. Because churches are…
…Wait for it…
…No more “anointed” than any other building!
Nope. Not. One. Bit.
I don’t care how much you walked around it. I don’t care how much you prayed over it. I don’t care how much oil you slung over it!
It. Is. A. Building. Brick and mortar. Wood and drywall.
In fact, there is no fundamental difference between a church and any other building — unless you view the church building in an Old Testament construct; in which case, you’re looking at it all wrong, anyhow.
But I digress…
There is a statistic that says 70% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. The same study says around 60-65% of American Christians attend church regularly.
“Well, preacher,” you might say, “60-65% ain’t so bad,” and you’d be right. However, there is a greater truth.
I’d venture to guess (I admit, I don’t have the statistics) that nearly 100% of Christians shop at Walmart. And if our bodies are the true temple of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, the anointing of God follows the Saints — and there are more Saints in Walmart than church at any given time — then Walmart is more anointed than any given church at any given time.
Give that a minute to sink in.
In our church, Agape Dominion Outreach, we are cultivating a culture of worship rather than trying to invoke an atmosphere of worship. See, an atmosphere of worship is okay but it is tantamount to getting a good “high” or “buzz.” A culture of worship equips the Saints to feed on the Word rather than getting a “fix,” empowering them to worship throughout the week instead of relegating it to just one day.
What I’m saying is we teach the Saints to worship at Walmart. And Target. And Safeway. We teach that you can worship in your car, at your job, and at home.
Meanwhile at church (Sunday fellowship), we eat donuts. We drink coffee. In the seats. Some of the Saints chew gum or eat candy. And it’s all good. The building is just a building. It isn’t essential for worship. If you spill something, clean it up.
In other words, treat it just like home.
And, while we’re here, let’s talk about “Sunday dress,” too. There’s way too much ado over clothing. Clothing is good. People should wear clothes to church. Coming to church naked would be a bad look! There is no need to wear fancy suits or dresses, unless you both like and are comfortable in such. There’s too much emphasis on appearance — as if clothing determines righteousness.
In the first-century church, fellowships took place in folks’ homes. People were comfortable. They wore comfortable clothing. They ate comfortable food. It was the power of the Gospel, aided by the level of comfort shared among the disciples (emphasis on relationship over religion) that spread the Kingdom of God to the point it caused Rome to implode.
Bottom line: there are many beautiful buildings ostensibly “dedicated to the glory of God.” But they are not the “house of God” or “God’s dwelling place.” God does not dwell in buildings made with men’s hands, He dwells in the hearts of men, made by His Hands! The anointing of God is His Holy Spirit and that anointing goes wherever believers go.
Consider this the next time you go to church…or to Walmart!
© 2015 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)