While many of the churches in our cities are occupied by night clubs and galleries, the church has moved from Church Street and has instead occupied suburbia. Too many churches who at one time were the lighthouses of their neighborhoods have caused map confusion by moving to abandoned shopping centers or erecting new steel while keeping the name of the neighborhood. A case in point is Vista Grande Baptist in Colorado Springs.
The neighborhood church on the move heads closer to where the land is more expensive and the building can grow. Vista Grande is a neighborhood that has been in decline for a decade. It was one of Colorado Springs suburban neighborhoods in the early seventies. Church plants were ripe then for the community and Vista Grande Baptist grew pretty fast. At the same time builders built shopping, more tri-levels and fast food joints. When it came time to bump out there was no room to do so and the elders voted on moving to Powers and Dublin. If the mission was in the name of where the church was planted why didn’t they change the name? Powers Baptist has a nice ring to it yet Dublin Baptist might be an oxymoron!
The main point
I’m sure that the church had pure motives for moving. They have grown since the move and they have more room to do so. But the main point is this, if the church is the first to abandon Church Street then all that’s left is converted real estate. While the Great Commission has conversion in mind it’s hard to justify who we are called to reach.
This series is also to point out that the church needs to get beyond Church Street. There are people in urban areas that might not ever want to head back to Church Street. These people live on Main Street but in cities like Denver, watered down messages, and the erosion of the gospel within their own four walls have caused the re-configuring of building usage. We have witnessed a great Renaissance in night-clubs; in art galleries and even law offices that are currently in residence in our smallest chapels to our biggest cathedrals. The movement to house churches, to gyms at the YMCA, and even coffee houses are the places where the church has been moving. While the mega church had an uprising for the last twenty years, those missional churches are not so much growing new church buildings but instead they are sending forth men and women to “go and tell” on Main Street, Wall Street, State Street and in some cases getting their light from Church Street.
If you want to know more call Friendship Fellowship at 800.724.1839 or e-mail Friendshipfellowship@juno.com