Should Church Buildings Be Better?

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I came across an article today highlighting some of the most creative buildings in the world…

There was a gas station covered with crochet, an office building that used light reflection to make it appear confetti was flying out of the window, and a building that had huge tentacles coming out of the windows. You couldn’t have missed any of these buildings because of their profound creativity…and you wouldn’t have wanted to.

I remember coming across an NT Wright article some time ago in which he was lamenting the lack of creativity in our church buildings.  His case was that the older generations of building were intended to, and largely accomplished an almost worshipful presentation to God by displaying creativity and art from the church.  He felt (as I do) that the church was to be a leader in the arts, and that our buildings were to clearly express our intent to offer God (and the surrounding community) our very best artistic effort. (in this case through architecture)

The counter argument is obviously that the church is not brick and mortar, but flesh and blood.  Investing in and creating an ediface of beauty and value may communicate, albeit inadvertantly, a “come to us”, “come to church” inward focus.  It would obviously take a great deal of effort and money, all of which could be used to serve and reach your context and community.

What do you think?

Should the church work to present more creativity and beauty in its architecture?

Or should we opt of of the building projects, simply find a suitable space, and use the remaining assets to serve and reach?

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4 Comments

Filed under Thoughts and Ideas

4 responses to “Should Church Buildings Be Better?

  1. Jon Tebbs

    I imagine that there are individuals who would be willing to fund a church building with artistic value who either A) wouldn’t give much, if anything to projects aimed exclusively at serving and reaching, or B) wouldn’t be willing to increase their giving to serving and reaching, but would be willing to reach into their deep pockets to fund an artistic project of their liking. Either way, I don’t think it would prevent much giving to service/outreach.
    In summary, I am pro-cool buildings.

  2. Mike

    Buildings reflect time. Previously the building itself was an act of worship showing the glory of God through construction and decoration. In the modern era it become mostly functional, form fits function and beauty is lost as a rresult. In post-modernity all is abstract and form becomes lost in expression of self. Should a gothic or reformation structure be built today it might garner ridicule rather than promote worship.

  3. sorry, can’t remember the article…linked one of charles colson talking along same lines

    http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/2499-made-for-beauty

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