Do Not Live in Fear

Thanks to Becky for a comment she made to me after Bible Study last week.  I’ve been grappling with the implications for the congregation in terms of how we are to use our facility.  We’ve been blessed by the Holy Spirit through the faithful giving and work of generations of people with a wonderful facility.  It is beautiful, in very good condition, and provides a great deal more space than we currently need.  

Congregations in similar situations frequently have turned to allowing other groups to use their facilities.  However in the rapidly changing American culture, this could conceivably put congregations in a position where they are sued because they let some groups use their facilities but not others.  If we treat our facilities much as we might a multi-purpose facility, allowing uses by groups that have no direct relationship either with the congregation or our ministry efforts, conceivably this could be used to force us to open our doors even to groups we disagree with theologically or otherwise.  
More and more I see the solution as ceasing to allow outside groups to utilize church facilities.  I think that this does multiple things, including clarifying for a group of Christians who they are, what their ministries are, and where to focus.  
But as Becky pointed out last week, it is also a response based in fear.  Fear of exposing ourselves to risk of lawsuit by groups or individuals who are less concerned about our facility and more concerned about destroying congregations.  Fear of watering down and diluting a congregation’s purpose.  
I don’t like operating in fear.
I’m not sure still whether allowing outside groups to use our facility is a good idea or not.  But I appreciate being reminded that fearfulness is a bad motivation.  Thanks, Becky, for giving me a lot to think & pray about this past week.

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