Churches spend millions of dollars on renovations. They market-test people, carefully select colors and lighting, and drop some hefty gees on reconstruction. It is done in the name of “reaching people,” “missions,” or “ministry.” In light of eternity, many of these bombshells fail. Why do they fail? The church physically renovates the building, but does not spiritually renovate the people. The spiritual growth of the members is starved in favor of numerical growth.
At FBW, we’ve entered a potentially dangerous time. The renovations taking place here are awesome. The gifts and heart desires of the people are put on display as they chip-in to help with the work. But, we would do well to remember that building renovations are not the end-game. We are interested in much, much more. We are disciple makers, divinely called to proclaim repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. To the end that a building renovation aids this, it succeeds; to the end it hinders this, it fails.
In Eph 2:19-22, Paul explains the consequence of Christ’s shed blood for the Gentile believer (cf. 2:13). Gentiles are now “fellow citizens” and are “of God’s household.” This “household” is described as being “built on the apostles and prophets.” None other than Jesus Christ Himself is the cornerstone! God is renovating the Christian to be more than just an ornate spectacle. He is reconstructing the believer to be a place where He dwells by His Spirit! The inward change He is perfecting is the renovation He cares about.
The renovation project at FBW will continue. There will be new paint, new carpet, and new pews. But, when it is all finished, none of that will matter. What will matter is the renovation of our hearts. I would be willing to completely discard all renovations in favor of just one renovated heart. It would be worth the discomfort of wooden seats and the unsightliness of wood paneling to have a breakthrough in the sanctification of one person. The personal holiness of our people and the spread of the gospel are the most important things in our church—not renovations.
My prayer is that we would keep the main thing, the main thing. People are looking for a church that will love them with the love of Christ. The appearance might matter, but the ministry of the church to the soul is priceless. Remember, building renovations are fine; spiritual renovations are forever.