A few weeks ago at our Common Ground Bible study on Wednesday, we began to talk about the issue of moving worship to the Self Chapel. We began to share the positives and negatives of making such a move.
At that point, several members shared stories that kind of made this a “no brainer.” They told of people they knew who came to worship at Augusta Heights, and got the very inaccurate impression that we were not a friendly, loving church.
If Augusta Heights is anything, it is friendly and loving. How could anyone possibly get such an inaccurate impression?
The only interaction that these visitors had was to come to worship on Sunday morning. In looking around, they thought that we were not friendly because we looked very scattered in the sanctuary.
I love the sanctuary at AHBC. I sometimes go in to sit, pray, think and interact with God. But I also love the chapel. It has a very friendly, “close-knit” feel that very much matches the personality of our church.
There are two very good reasons for making the move to the chapel. The first is a stewardship reason. It will save us significant dollars in energy costs to worship in a smaller building that we already heat and cool every Sunday anyway.
It is extremely hard to justify spending large sums of money just because we find the sanctuary aesthetically pleasing. Deep down, we know that their are greater needs for the church and community. The ultimate goal is to reach a point where this is not a primary issue; but for now, we are called to be cost-efficient and to make good use of the “treasure” that God has provided.
The second reason also involves stewardship, as it relates to outreach. We have new visitors almost every Sunday, and many of these people have commented that they love the chapel. They like the close-knit feel that it has, and that is very much like the people of Augusta Heights.
We all know that it is critical for Augusta Heights to expand its mission to reach people in our community. Any choice that we make as a church that inhibits us from doing that is poor stewardship of our resources. God asks us to be willing to put ourselves aside for the greater good of His kingdom, and His Body of Christ that he has placed on the side of a small hill on Augusta Street.
If un-churched people will feel more comfortable and see us for who we truly are in Christ–a loving, committed Body of Christ unlike any that I have ever personally encountered–then the move to the chapel is a small and manageable change to make.
I encourage you not to view this change as a “downgrade” of any kind. Look at it as a reason to be excited, a reason to celebrate. If this move gives us a chance to reach un-churched people and to use more of God’s gifts for outreach and missions, then it is a change that we can celebrate.
Too many churches have closed their doors because they were unwilling to make changes. We cannot afford to be that kind of church. No doubt, change is difficult and takes a fair amount of getting “used to.” But it is also an inevitable part of life and is not impossible to overcome if we focus on the reasons for that change. When it’s a God-centered effort to be more effective in our mission and calling, then the change is worth it.
I am very much looking forward to this summer, and all of the reasons that we have to worship and celebrate together. Let’s do everything that we do in the coming weeks with that spirit, and see the awesome things that God can do.