Church buildings have a special significance that distinguishes them from public hall or commercial meeting places. They are set apart, specially dedicated to God for specific purpose of worship, religious education, fellowship, and service. Priority in the use of church buildings should be given to those spiritual ministries of the church itself and to the community it serves through its witness and program.
Individuals and groups who traditionally use church buildings include church staff members, the congregation, church organizations, wedding parties, funerals, and denominational agencies.
Some churches restrict the use of their facilities to their own membership. Others openly invite the use of their facilities by other groups in the community. The church should evaluate community needs in the light of it own basic objectives before establishing regulations concerning the use of its facilities by outside groups. Specific plans should be followed in providing facilities and using them properly.
Many church buildings remain unused much of the week. An idle church building should challenge congregational leadership to reexamine the church’s concept of its purpose in the light of the spirituals needs of the community.
Church members should be able to use the church for weddings. Marriage is one of the most significant events of life, and it should be conducted with the blessings of the church. Young people contemplating marriage should know that their church wishes to join them in this special event.Each church should
determine and have on record its policy concerning the use of the church building for the marriage of nonmembers.
Many churches have found it useful to prepare a printed folder giving full information regarding the use of the buildings, including information regarding floral decorations, candles, wedding receptions, and any fee to be provided for the participating ministers, sound engineer, and building superintendent.
A folder giving full information on weddings in the church can be helpful for those planning church weddings, whether members of the congregation or not. Sometimes people are careless or uninformed about appropriate procedures or conduct when using church facilities. Consequently, many churches have adopted specific regulations regarding decorations, moving of furniture, use of rice or birdseed, and appropriate behavior of members of the wedding party.
There is way too much emphasis put on the church building being the place where God lives or the only place where God can be worshiped. The church of God is His people. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (NIV) Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:16 “What agreement is there between the temple of the living God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people’”. (NIV)
God’s people can worship Him anywhere they are. There are many churches that do not have a traditional building; therefore God’s people should
not get so hung up on the building. It is made up of wood and bricks, all man made items that will fade away after time.
We also have an obligation to use all the resources that God has given us. If we have a church building, we must be wise stewards of what we have.One of the basic functions of the church is to witness. There are many different ways to witness, one being to the community. Outreach is a vital part of the churches strength. We can do this in many different ways. The most common is to have an organized outreach, when members go into the community to visit prospects. Another great way to witness is to use our building. Too many churches save the facilities for members only. We need to have the building available for use by the general public. Of course they will need to agree to follow the policy. The building is not the church, but it is still the worship center of God. It should be treated with all due respect.