For many churches, the buildings and property they own is a matter of stewardship for them. They invest time and resources in maintaining what God has blessed them with for the sake of their ministry. Often, they are completely unaware that a valuable part of their stewardship could actually be seen in how much of their property could be invested in the community they’ve been placed in to serve. If they do consider offering their buildings to their neighbors, it usually comes with a price tag. Wouldn’t good stewardship involve income from renting extra space? What if good stewardship wasn’t about making money, but it was seen as a greater long-term investment in the “peace and prosperity” of place?
Revisioning space can be one of the most valuable steps a church can take in an outward engagement of their neighborhood. Church buildings are some of the most useful and less used space in a community. When we ask the question “What is good news to my community?”, I can almost guarantee that it isn’t market rate rental space. Opening our space to those “outside of the church” is not compromising the mission … it becomes part of the mission to join in whatever Jesus is already up to in the community around us. It is an opportunity for partnership and changing the paradigm from what people have come to expect from their neighborhood church to the unexpected radical hospitality that we witness all throughout the gospels, and our neighbors are longing to experience.
If you would like to begin a conversation about what that could look like in your own community, I have a great deal of successful experience guiding congregations, staff and leadership through an exploratory process that answers these two questions:
- What could we do?
- What should we do?