Seekers Seeking Churches that Look like Churches: Keeping Holy Ground Holy
I’ve seen more than my fair share of new church buildings that strike me as looking more like big-box discount stores, than church buildings. It is always a bad sign to me when I have to go looking for Christian symbols in a church’s “sanctuary” and all I can see first is the drum set and sound insulating plastic for the praise band. I was in a church recently where I did notice that they had a baptismal font, shoved as far off into a corner as possible. Well, what do you know? Come to find out that seekers really are not looking for churches to look like their local Starbucks or warehouse department store. Here’s the story. Here’s a quote, and to my fellow Lutherans, do note the comment: “a building should reflect the church’s theology.” Lutheran churches probably would do well not to try to imitate those churches that do not believe in the Real Presence or baptismal regeneration! When their is not a clear and keen understanding of what is actually going on in worship: that God is among us with His good gifts, serving us with forgiveness, life and salvation, through objective means of giving His grace, it is no wonder that the entire of a church will resemble a concert or lecture hall, more than a place where the God of the Universe is working among His people. Note: the photograph in this blog post is a picture of the altar in St. Martini Church, Braunschweig, Germany. It was installed in the church by Lutherans and it beautifully confesses the realities among us during worship. Note the rich symbolism. Click on it to enlarge it.
“Most people in our culture are symbol savvy,” says Torgerson. “The Christian church has adopted powerful symbolism throughout its history, and this has served it well in developing a public presence and nonverbal testimony. … It’s [important] to use such a primary avenue for communication.” Jacobsen says a building should reflect the church’s theology. “If we claim that God is a God of beauty and that humans are the crown of his creation,” he says, “and then build buildings that make humans feel like cogs in a machine, people will wonder if we mean what we say.”