Posts Tagged ‘Albania’

Church Building

Church Building (Photo credit: joseph a)

A man and woman are checking on a new house to purchase. The wife rejects several houses in the $400000 category because she does not like the color of the counter tops or in some cases they are not granite, while the husband rejects others because there is no space for him to eat his ribs and watch the game alone or with his buddies in his man cave. There are some essentials the house must have while most are really optional.

What are the essentials and what is optional when it comes to church? Does the answer depend on if you live in the USA or somewhere outside of the USA where the majority of followers of Jesus live? One of the most significant times of doing church I participated in was in a stairwell in a dilapidated building in Albania. There were about 12 of us present, about half Christians and the rest not Christians who mostly spoke Albanian. We had no musical instrument and sat on the floor and stairs.

There are several essentials but I mention only one here-we are to make disciples who make disciples. We may have grand “church buildings” but we have dismissed one of Jesus’ most significant statements of why we are remaining on the planet if this essential is not happening. Check Matthew 28:18-20. We  must carefully define “disciples” or as GK Chesterton says “we continue to play children’s games.”

There are many optional aspects of doing church but one would be location. It may meet in a building with a church name on it, or in a rented school, or a city park or…

There is a TV showHouse Hunters International.” We usually tape it because we like the various countries in which they preview houses that a real estate agent might never take you to. I remember a country and one town in that country I actually spent about 7 weeks in that would not be on that show. Along with 7 others, we stayed in a hotel that would have been condemned in the states. Albania in 1992 was the country and we stayed where everyone else lived in that town. There were no gated communities to check out. The guy at the door of this hotel told us one day he could blow up that hotel anytime he wanted to with the dynamite he had. Oh, did I mention Turkish toilets shared by men and women, water only 2 times a day from a sink for 2 hours, no showers, no hot water in the town…you might be getting the picture.

We had to live there because it was in the middle of where everyone lived. We were there to build a road to a maternity hospital and share JesusLiving close to those you want to influence is critical. You must move into their neighborhood. Think with me about Mark 14:3-5. Jesus was comfortable having dinner with a guy who would not be on the invitation list of the mayor. Sounds like he may be marginal at best but it was where Jesus was hanging out that night. Where else would Jesus meet him except in his neighborhood? This is church at its best.

This guy was open to listen to Jesus because the meal was on his own turf. This may have been the best evidence to him that Jesus really cared about him.

Do you find it easier to occasionally drop into a “bad” part of town or does it ever cross your mind to move into that neighborhood? It depends if you want to really connect with the people there.