This post by my cyberfriend Pastor Hans Fiene encapsulates so much of my own thinking on missions, outreach, and the place of buildings and such, I thought that I had actually written it in my sleep and morphed it into his brain. Â Okay, that’s a really weirdÂ sentence, but you get the idea.
Districts are cutting campus ministries left and right. Â Frankly, districts are cutting ministries left and right. Â Certainly this is because of financial deficits, and I am acutely aware of how important and how difficult such decisions are.
I can remember vividly the smell of my grandmother Ardis Peperkorn’s basement in Julesburg, Colorado. Â It was musty and strange. Â As I dug around the farthest corners, I found toys left from the 40s, tools I had never seen before, treasures under every box. Â Yes, I was snoopy. Â But that place spelled HOME and FAMILY for me in a way which nothing else could ever do. Â I’m all in favor of vacations to far away places, but in terms of developing long term memory and connection, there is simply nothing quite like the 80 year old home. Â It is irreplaceable.
The Church is rooted in the Incarnation. Â God comes in real time and space for us men and for our salvation, to quote the Creed. Â There is an ordinariness and sacredness Â to churches that transcends square feet, bricks and mortar. Â For the high school graduate who is away from home for the first time in a strange place, it is hard to overestimate theÂ importance of having a physical place to go to in order to receive God’s gifts. Â For the five year old, it becomes a new home with a bigger family. Â That list can go on and on.
Abandoning buildings in the middle of huge campuses across the country in favor of endowment funds for the latest missional fad is absurd. Â It’s as absurd as abandoning seminary education on campuses to deployed distance learning and “mentoring” programs with little or no theological grounding. Â We would never consider doing that.