Dave DeVries Urges Church Planters Not to Focus On Church Buildings

By Brandon Cox

Church BuildingWith Saddleback Church’s thirty-year history of using 79 different meeting locations and finally settling in at 1 Saddleback Parkway, I found Dave’s advice golden, not only for church planters, but for leaders of any congregation…

The inability to actually secure buildings for churches to use as meeting places eliminated the pressure to find a place, kept the focus on the real mission of the church, and released resources for disciplemaking.

Church Planters in the U.S. must resist the temptation to become obsessed with the building and what takes place in the building, as well as measuring success by the size or fullness of the building…

I hope you’ll consider how these might influence you in your church planting context:

  1. Be absolutely clear on what your church is about!
  2. Fight against Consumer Christianity and for Missional Christianity.
  3. Use the building less frequently by being “the church” in local neighborhoods.
  4. Let groups and organizations in your community use your building – for free!
  5. Watch carefully that your financial resources are not consumed by building expenses.
  6. Use language that prevents the building from becoming known as the church.
  7. Create a multi-use feel to the space so that no one identifies it for exclusive groups or purposes.
  8. Teach everyone that the Church is the “people of God” and the building is a tool.
  9. Be the visible presence of Christ’s Church in your community.
  10. Sponsor community events in your building.
  11. Don’t use the building for Bible studies, small groups, or missional communities.
  12. Don’t make everything about the “Sunday Show.”

You really need to read Dave’s full article with an expansion of each point and join the discussion on his blog. Read 12 Thoughts for Church Planters: How Not to Focus on Church Buildings.

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a Pastor for fifteen years and is currently planting a church in northwest Arkansas, a Saddleback-sponsored church. He also serves as Editor of Pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders. He's also the author of Rewired: Using Technology to Share God's Love.