I’ve never been a huge fan of church buildings. I have most often viewed them as a sometimes necessary waste of resources that could be better spent on helping actual people. I know the early disciples met in the temple, but I don’t see them spending lots of resources on maintaining that temple or building new, bigger, and better ones. Historically, it looks like the concept of church buildings didn’t really take off until after Jesus was long gone.
Here in Romania, I’ve noticed a big tendency among believers to relegate spirituality to the church building itself, where following Jesus is defined as what building you go to and how often. For many I’ve met, the idea of having a spiritual life outside the building–where Jesus is just as present at home or at work or at the club–is just plain foreign.
Add to all this the reality that Bucharest is full of big empty church buildings–whether Orthodox, Baptist, or Pentecostal–while people suffer for lack of clean water and warm clothes. Just about every day I see a priest or two standing at Unirii with signs begging for donations to construct the new multi-million-dollar church building/hotel/cinema/mall as if we needed another. (Not to mention the nearly $100 million dollars of taxpayer money that’s allocated for priests’ salaries while roads fall apart and dogs run rampant.) All this focus of the church on the transient is, frankly, really distasteful…
But, with all that said…
The last few months, we’ve been sensing that it’s time to invest in renting some property here in Bucharest. Pray for us as we sort through which neighborhood God is directing us towards and whom to focus on.
We’ve got big dreams of getting a Bible school going that will raise up a whole generation to walk in the power and love of the Holy Spirit, having a place for caring for the spiritual and physical needs of the poor and homeless, creating a meeting where a gypsy family can just as easily feel welcomed as a drunk or a college student, sending out teams of believers to take the good news to the small towns of Romania and the world… and generally transforming all the earth. 🙂
Pray for us, though, to simply take the next step.
In closing, below are some of the pictures of possible locations we’re praying about and looking into.