Attending to the Building We Attend
by Tom Goodman
March 16, 2011
No one calls the East Seventh Street Baptist Church in New York City by that name. The neighborhood knows it as "The Graffiti Church."
Why that nickname? When Southern Baptists began their work in that location in 1974, the place was covered with spray-painted artwork, slogans, and gang signs. Anytime they painted the walls, more graffiti would appear. So, the church
decided if you can't beat 'em, join 'em; and they began adding their own sanctified spray-paintings, filling the walls with Bible verses and Christian artwork.
Now that's what I call "evandalism!" (Groan!)
When I read about the Graffiti Church, it made me think: What does our church building "say" to our neighborhood? Fair or not, people draw conclusions about our ministry from the first impression they get from our facility.
Last August, our church approved a Master Plan to guide future improvements to our campus. Let's begin with our Worship Center. Your Hillcrest Family will decide on a proposal to renovate our auditorium in a special called business meeting Sunday,
March 27, at 6:45 p.m.
When a church rallies together for things like this, it gives us a chance to look ahead, to look around, and to look above.
First, we have a chance to look ahead. Someone once said that you know you're at the end when you have fewer dreams than you do memories. That's true for churches, too. A building project gives us a chance to think afresh
about the future God is calling us into.
Second, we have a chance to look around. When done right, plans to renovate a facility turn our eyes outward to the community God has called us to reach. It helps us become more sensitive to the impressions we're making upon
Third, we have a chance to look above. In Haggai 1:1-9, the living Lord of the universe actually said we should pay attention to the building where he is worshipped "so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored." God says we
honor him by paying attention to the place where we praise his Name and study his Word! God goes on to say he was dishonored by those who paid more attention to their houses and businesses than to their place of worship. We don't want to
make that mistake.
Be an active participant in this chance to look ahead, around, and above!
Beacon Articles Available Online: The staff newsletters that appear each week in the Beacon are also available on our website. You can find them at www.HillcrestAustin.org/beacon.
Weblog: Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.
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