by Pastor Mike Middaugh
I’ll admit, I would sometimes be the first to be critical of a church spending money on itself to improve or expand its building. I do not b28elieve that “if we build it, they will come” and I don’t think the church is “just a building” (or that a church even needs a building to exist, certainly it does not) And I do believe the true calling of a church is not to serve itself, but to serve others, and to generously love and care for people in need.
However, as Calvary has embarked upon the current construction work to replace the roofs and update the Sanctuary space, and as we prepare for what is likely to be an even bigger project sometime over the next 1-2 years, I have seen the positives of doing much needed work to care for the building, and through this work have felt a powerful connection to the historic journey of not just our church, but THE CHURCH.
Maybe this photo of Pastor Kemper from 1961 summs it up best. He is standing in the yet-to-be-complete Calvary Narthex with the Sanctuary, and its A-Frame, stretching out behind him. Through documents and photos we have been exploring recently for the anniversary, I have seen how intimately connected Pastor Kemper was with the construction of the new facility at Calvary. In that new work was placed not just excitement and joy over expanded space, but also the hopes and dreams of a pastor and congregation looking to connect more people to the Word of God and desiring to better serve the needs those inside and outside of the church.
Over recent months as we are again under construction as a church, I have felt a powerful connection to the Calvary of the 60’s. And though I never met him, I have felt a personal connection to “Fritz” who helped bring it all together. We have unearthed portions of the foundation and exposed segments of the building that have not been seen since completion in 1962. I was even able to venture to the top of the A-Frame for a photo, as Pr. Kemper did during construction.
All this is to say that yes, a building is just a building, there is nothing magic about a good or better space for worship. But a building project can help lead a congregation of believers into an exciting new future. Space for serving families and children, a hall to welcome the community, a rejuvinated sanctuary to better serve area musicians and multiple worshiping groups can aid in the gospel-spreading work that every church is called to.
So now it is up to us. Will we conscientiously care for all that we have been blessed with? Will we rise to the challenges and take hold of the opportunities that exist now and in the years to come? Will we use a rejuvenated worship space, and a soon to be renovated building to respond to the call of God to carry the gospel, and gospel-centered ministry to our community and beyond?
In the words of Pastor Kemper “Let us now work together to achieve all that God has prepared us for in Christ Jesus.”
Soli Deo Gloria. (To God Alone be the Glory)