To get the full understanding of this post, you need to listen to last week’s message. When I asked everyone at the end to share their sense of where, if anywhere, Christ would clean house at Watermark, I mentioned that you could write down, “He would be bothered that we have built/are still building facilities” if you wanted to, but that this is an issue our leadership has continually considered and spoken to in the past. I also mentioned that I would post something here that captured our thoughts, as well as re-post some links to mesages where you could hear us talk about this specific topic again. For those who like to listen/watch more than read, check out the messages linked here from 3/28/2010 and 9/12/2010.
For all readers, below are some brief thoughts laid out for you. From our perspective, the question is not, “Should Watermark ever have/continue to build facilities?”, but, “Is everything this church has being used to maximize the glory of God?” This is always the question. Paul tells us, “…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:33b). What you do is often not nearly as important as why you do it. I can’t think of anything that would offend God if you did them in faith because you have purposed to reflect on and respond to His world in yieldedness to His Spirit and for the purpose of loving Him/loving others.
Questions about buildings are not primary questions. Whether or not to build/expand is only asked as a strategy question related to the best way to serve God and love others given our current circumstance. As we have continually asked the Lord to lead us and how to best steward our property, we have never received any answer that involved selling our property/land, nor have we ever felt like the thing Christ would have us do is stop maximizing the use of our property.
We don’t believe that buildings are an accurate way to judge success, and likewise, we don’t think the fact that we have buildings/are willing to put more buildings on our campus means we are out of touch with the Spirit. The Spirit is not as concerned about physical buildings as He is about spiritual buildings. Today, His Spirit dwells in His people, not in buildings. If spiritual people use physical materials to serve, equip, help, and reach others, then those physical structures are a source of spiritual good. If the physical building is used for any other purpose, no matter how beautiful it is, then it is a distraction more than a dwelling place for God.
We are neither for nor against buildings. We are for the Spirit transforming us into servant leaders who increasingly walk in the fullness of God’s intention for us. We measure our success not by our prosperity or our poverty, but rather by our purposeful, radical surrender to Him. We want to measure our success by our ability to be and make disciples…living stones being built up to a spiritual house, as a holy priesthood, using physical stones when appropriate to make physical buildings useful for eternal things.
One analogy I have used before (see again 3/28/2010 message) is that of a medical school. Hopefully everyone would agree that we as believers should care for one another. Similarly, when people are sick, we employ physicians to nourish those people back to health to the best of their ability. We love the idea of training people to be “doctors” that are equipped to help others in crisis. A necessity in equipping our “doctors” well is building “medical schools” where they can be trained.
We agree that it would be wrong for a school to build as many buildings as it could just so it could have bragging rights as the biggest medical school in the country. However, enlarging the campus of a medical school would be right if the school were being used to unleash hundreds, if not thousands, of doctors whose skills and knowledge of how our bodies function could be continually honed to train other doctors, and therefore bring physical comfort and health to others.
Our hope is that the facilities on Watermark’s campus will be maximized with men and women who are both filled with and yielded to the Spirit. In turn, even more men and women can be trained, not just to minister to people’s medical needs, but to be faithful in ministering to people’s hearts as well. This is a training campus; we are equipping the saints for the work of the service (Ephesians 4:11-13). We pray that God would keep showing us what He would flip in our lives to make us more useful to Him, and that as we would continue to love each other, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:24), we would increasingly be temples/buildings that He is pleased with. Praying with you and looking for more encouraging conversations in the days ahead.
None of the cards that I have read from last week mentioned the building being something Christ may “take on” if He came into our midst, but since I told you I would reflect on why we believe building is right for us now, I wanted to get this post up before the week was out. I may have fun with several of the answers we did receive in the days ahead, but for now, suffice it to say there was nothing overwhelming mentioned by anyone as obviously out of sync with God’s desire for us. I am sure there are thousands of little choices we make every day that need radical attention, and I am committed with you to get to listen more attentively every day.
Father, we ask for You to keep coming in, speaking up, turning tables, and moving us toward your intended purposes for our lives.