Why do we need buildings?
God gave King Solomon detailed plans for the first version of his holy temple, through his Father David:
David gave Solomon the plans for all the Temple buildings, for the storerooms and all the other rooms, and for the Most Holy Place, where sins are forgiven. He also gave him the plans for all he had in mind for the courtyards and the rooms around them, and for the storerooms for the Temple equipment and the gifts dedicated to the Lord. “ 1 Chronicles 28:11-12
The temple building and fit out was a big deal. God’s presence was to dwell in the temple, and the temple was where God’s people went to provide sacrifices to God and to offer prayers, albeit only the High Priest could go into the Most Holy Place once a year.
Thank God that after Jesus died to take away our sins and make us right with God, we can all meet with God and enjoy his presence anywhere at any time. This was symbolised physically by the curtain separating the Most Holy Place tearing in two as Jesus died (Matthew 27:51). Jesus made it clear that God’s church is his people, and the church building ceased to hold the importance that it did in King Solomon’s time.
That said, our church buildings are a vital tool that help us work out our calling; to gather together as a holy body of people to worship, pray, teach, enjoy fellowship (being together) and bless our community. We would not be able to gather together physically as a church without them – except now and again perhaps outdoors during summer!
Our buildings are used throughout the week, as we continue to actively walk with God ‘Everyday’. They are used to serve the local community for Foodbanks, night shelters, and youth-work. They are also hired out to generate income for the church for uses such as early education (nursery), conferencing and sports clubs.
Stewarding our buildings
We are blessed to own buildings at three of our five venues: Wimbledon, Kingston and Southfields, and we rent buildings in Sutton and Croydon. We also own manse buildings on Clonmore Street and Ashcombe Road, which are used to contribute to the salary of paid church leaders or to generate rental income to support the church when not being used as a manse.
With this blessing comes a responsibility to maintain, repair and improve these buildings as needed. Fernando Calvo and Pete Wood on our staff team do a wonderful job stewarding the buildings.
As a trustee, I have been supporting Fernando and Pete in looking after our buildings and making decisions on how best to steward the buildings, given the financial impact that maintaining buildings can have on a church’s finances.
My career in civil engineering helps me do this, and we draw in people including fellow church members, friends and colleagues, and external paid professionals to help ensure that we make the best use of the church finances when spending on the buildings.
Part of this stewardship is focused on regular maintenance and operation of the buildings, such as cleaning, gas and electricity, fixing minor roof leaks, re-carpeting etc. We budget for these activities, and carefully track costs each month to compare against the budget as shown below.
Beyond regular maintenance, we are facing larger buildings capital expenditure in excess of £120k, including the following projects:
- Southfields flooring in one of the rooms that needs replacing as it has become a health hazard, including for the mid-week use as a nursery.
- Kingston spire roofing and box gutters, which need to be replaced due to the deterioration in condition.
Our reserves are there to cover one off capital expenditures such as these, but we need to ensure that we replenish the reserves to keep our finances resilient to future outgoings and changes in the financial landscape.
Your generous giving is hugely appreciated and remains essential to the operation of the buildings that support the church as a body of believers that meets within them. Simon gave an update on our church finances in his October Finance Update blog.
A related aspect of stewardship is the safe use of our buildings. In June we updated our Health and Safety Policy to ensure that we are legally compliant and that we are protecting the users of our buildings.
What can I do?
Besides giving financially, we would welcome new faces in the buildings working group to contribute to decisions on larger expenditure and help advise on the ongoing maintenance of the buildings. Please contact me, Fernando Calvo or Pete Wood in person or by email if you would like to discuss this.
Secondly, continue to partner with us in using our church buildings, whether owned or rented, for God’s glory. By God’s grace we are no longer reliant on him accepting our church building as a dwelling place – he now dwells in us individually through his Holy Spirit – but we can serve each other by seeing the church buildings and equipment like a family home that we collectively steward and enjoy together.
Thank you for reading! Feel free to get in touch if you have any queries at: email@example.com.
Ben Gilson, Everyday Church Trustee