I was in a conversation (rather fairly heated debate) with a good friend and colleague. We were talking (or arguing) about politics, government-run social programs, the role of the church, tax policy and more. I had my opinions and he had his. In the course of the conversation, I verbalized a dream I have for the kind of ministry building I would like to build one day. I do not think I have ever spoke of this dream out loud. The CCW staff just happened to be in the room listening to this conversation. I cannot imagine what they thought of this dream. As with most of my dreams, this one is pretty out there and I am sure someone will challenge it at some point.
Many churches raise millions of dollars to build large facilities for ministry. New worship centers, family life centers, youth ministry wings, etc are huge steps of faith for pastors and congregations. I respect those churches that take the risk to build structures that will house the kind of work that develops the people of God. All that said…
If I was going to raise millions of dollars to build a ministry building, I would build a hospital. I do mean a real hospital…with doctors, nurses, med-techs, EMT’s, etc. It would be the kind of hospital that would exist to bring the best care possible to whoever needed it…regardless of their health coverage. It would be extremely complicated, unbelievably costly and the church I led would be tasked with the job of maintaining it. There are thousands of things I have not thought of, and this dream may never happen, but I still believe it is possible.
If I ever led a church, it would be extremely difficult for me to lead my congregation in a building campaign to build a large worship center. (Again, I totally respect and cheer on those that do). I could spend several blogs explaining why. But ultimately, I believe that one of the best things I could do as pastor is inspire my community to heal the sick in Jesus’ name via building such a structure and supporting such a work.
Don’t get me wrong…worship centers are great as people need a point of reference when it comes to the faith journey. And I am not an ordained pastor and do not lead a church. Who knows what my view of ministry will have evolved to if and when that happens?Nevertheless, whenever I hear a news report about our country’s struggle with healthcare, something in me cries out, “God, wouldn’t that be cool…what if that did happen…what if Your people built a hospital…or eight!?”
The funny thing is, this is what we used to do. We as the people of God used to build big hospitals from our little churches. Now we build big churches and very few small clinics.