As all of our Project Thrive churches well know, church buildings can be both an asset and a liability to ministry. Within those buildings are decades (and in some places centuries) of history and heritage. In the South, predominantly Black churches carry a special history marking the triumphs and tibultaions of the past. In this article in Faith & Leadership, Cynthia R. Greenlee highlights examples of chuches that have needed financial help to renovate, rebuild, and remain where they are. At the end of the article one will find the below questions for all churches to consider as they discern what to do with their buildings in a changing religious landscape.
- It’s commonly said that the church is “more than the building,” yet buildings are material remnants of history and culture. What kinds of meaning do church buildings have for you?
- Does your church have a historic role in your community? How has its role changed over the years?
- Steeples are a traditional element of many churches, yet they can be difficult to maintain. What traditional elements of your church are difficult to maintain? Would your congregation be OK without them?
- If you were asked what in your church is worth preserving, what would you say? What would your congregation say?
- How is your space “activated” for your community? Would members of your community benefit from learning more about your congregation’s past and its role in local history?