Church buildings are not an end in themselves but active partners in local mission.
That’s the view of Nigel Walter of ChurchBuild (Archangel Ltd), who believes we can learn important lessons from the Covid-19 crisis.
‘New technology has enabled church members to engage effectively over the past few months,’ he said. ‘We might conclude we no longer need buildings at all. But is a Zoom meeting really “church”, or do we need to be assembled together in one place, as the Greek word ecclesia suggests?’
Even before Covid-19, many people found their buildings to be awkward, expensive and a distraction from the purpose of mission and worship. Yet they also help play a role in the formation of community.
‘If Jesus “moved into the neighbourhood” (as The Message renders John 1.14) then we shouldn’t be surprised that we, too, are called to commit to the places we find ourselves,’ said Nigel. ‘And for all sorts of practical reasons, that commitment often takes the form of bricks and mortar.’
His view is practical and down to earth – seeing buildings as important, not as an end in themselves, but as active partners in local mission.
‘We bring design skills and decades of architectural experience to churches and see our vocation as equipping them to deal better with their buildings,’ he explained.
ChurchBuild is the result – a suite of free resources to help churches create a better fit between a church community and the buildings it occupies.
‘We have also recently set up a Facebook group where people can share experiences and help each other to save time, money and heartache, and hopefully provide inspiration, too,’ said Nigel. ‘Beyond that, we can also offer paid architectural services, if relevant.
‘We live in an age of increasing rootlessness, made worse by the pandemic. In that context, buildings, and particularly old buildings, offer opportunities to build bridges with local neighbourhoods.’
Click here for ChurchBuild’s range of free resources
A free Cambridge Paper on Church buildings recently published by Nigel Walter is available here
• ChurchBuild will be exhibiting at CRE National 2021 (Sandown Park, Esher, Surrey, 12-14 Oct)
See the CRE At Home resources guide!