Advent Devotional 12/16: Our Campus Speaks
I will never forget when someone who had recently started coming to Kardia said that for the longest time, they did not visit the church because from the outside, it looked like a cult. Perhaps it was the stark white paint. Or maybe it was the older appearance of the buildings. In any case, I got a good laugh out of it. But then I started wondering, Hmm, I wonder who else is not coming to our church because our building gives off a “cult” vibe, or is giving off some other unfavorable impression?
We may not think about it, but our campus speaks. It speaks twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. It speaks when I’ve stopped preaching. It speaks even when no one is there. What is it saying?
I think there is a great deal you can learn about a church just by looking at the building and the campus. I think a church campus can answer questions such as the following.
How much do these people care about their church?
How well-resourced are they? How committed are the people financially to the church?
How aware are they of their neighborhood? Do they seem relevant or are they disconnected?
Is the church contemporary or traditional?
How open are they to outsiders and newcomers?
How organized are they?
Whether the answers are accurate or not, people are forming impressions about our church related to these kinds of questions just by looking at the building. The worst would be if our campus was communicating something completely contrary to the reality of the kind of church we are.
God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision of a new temple. God showed Ezekiel the temple in great detail with precise measurements. Then he told Ezekiel, “Son of man, describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their sins. Let them consider its perfection” (Ezekiel 43:10). Buildings can be prophetic. They can communicate something about God, and people can respond to architecture with repentance and faith.
Step 6 of the 8 Step Plan is to renovate the campus. We want to make sure that the campus is testifying what God intends to the neighborhood and to everyone who sees it and enters it. This will be a key component to the growth of our church, because for many in the neighborhood, it could be a key barrier. Let’s remove the barriers that keep people from coming to Kardia.
Lord God, thank you for our campus. Thank you that you have given us a space to worship you and be in fellowship and ministry with one another. Thank you for the decades of faithful ministry that have happened on and from our campus.
We ask that as the 6th step in the 8 Step Plan, you would help Kardia to renovate the campus so that we can remove any barriers to growth. Let the campus proclaim to the neighborhood that you are alive, and you are at work in Kardia. Let the campus be inviting, beautiful, and an asset to the neighborhood. Give our leaders the wisdom to make this happen in a way that is sensible and pleasing to you. Let all the renovations be done in great taste. Let there be intentionality and coherence in design.
May the campus become the headquarters of a mighty move of your Holy Spirit that will reach all over Los Angeles and beyond. Give us everything we need to accomplish all your purposes. Make a way even for us to have enough parking as we grow. As we make even small renovations, let each one unleash a new level of growth. To the glory of Jesus Christ and to the salvation of many souls!
In Jesus’ name, Amen.