I’m going to list the most beautiful churches in the world. Are you ready? Follow me. If I said, “You have a beautiful church," would you reply, “Thanks. When did you visit our building?” or would you reply, “Thanks. Who did you meet?”
It’s simple and subtle but potentially dangerous. So often we refer to churches’ facilities or campuses and define that as a church, as if they’re synonymous. One of the reasons that I love church plants and those in portable facilities is that they don’t have to overcome this hurdle like churches with their own building.
We don’t go to church. We are the church. If you want to see the most beautiful churches in the world, you’ve got to spend some time with believers that are sold out to Jesus, filled with His love and grace, display the fruits of the Spirit and have a passion to serve their community.
While I’m thinking about it, read Dino Rizzo’s book Servolution—that’s a beautiful church and a beautiful vision/ministry. Each time I’ve visited a church that has a Dream Center, including the LA Dream Center led by pastor Matthew Barnett, I’ve seen a beautiful church. The ironic thing about this is that churches with Dream Centers often are doing messy ministry and getting their hands dirty; still, they are what I consider to be a beautiful church.
I remember years ago being at the Evangelism Conference at Willow Creek and hearing Bill Hybels share his heart and vision. What I left with is, at the end of the day, it’s about people sharing their faith and life with other people.
Please understand, I ran a social media marketing company. I’m all for marketing and branding and using tools like social media, but when it comes down to it—people are the church and they, by their word of mouth, are used by God to grow a church and be salt and light in a dark world.
How can your church be a beautiful church? It can be by making disciples and growing up people in their faith. Spiritually mature Christians are beautiful in their own way. They’ve had years to practice spiritual disciplines and give off the scent of Christ. New Christians are beautiful in their own way. Yes, they’re sometimes rough around the edges, but their passion and zeal is inspiring and their newfound “first love” is a breath of fresh air.
I’m curious: If I came to your community, would I experience a beautiful church?
Note: The above was a book excerpt from Greg Atkinson’s latest book, Church Leadership Essentials, available on Amazon through Rainer Publishing.
Greg Atkinson is the campus pastor at one of Forest Park’s campuses. Forest Park is a multisite church based in Joplin, Mo. Visit Greg Atkinson at gregatkinson.com.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
For a limited time, we are extending our celebration of our 40th anniversary. As a special offer, subscribe to Ministry Today magazine and receive 50% OFF our normal discounted rate!