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A Container for Community – A Building’s Purpose

June 8, 2017 — by Drew Tilton

When does a building become more than a pretty facade?

a building's purpose

Note from the editor:  Drew is the new Youth Pastor at my church, Mountain View Church, in San Juan Capistrano, CA.  When I read this from him this past weekend, I felt that it needed to be shared beyond our church’s email list.  His heart for the new facility is exactly the reason why Visioneering Studios does what it does.  It is not just about the building — it’s about what Jesus is doing inside the building, in the community, and in the lives of the people who attend a service or an event.  Although we may not be doing the work for this new facility, we are fans and celebrate the work being done by MVC.  These are the types of servant leaders we love to work with.

 

What is impressive about a cup? It’s a cylinder with the top-end open and the bottom closed. Sure, one can be styled to look ornate, perhaps even to attract some praise. But no matter how beautiful it is, a bottomless one is of little value — a cup exists to hold something. A house is the same. There are certainly incredible mansions and beautiful dwellings, but if one sits empty, is it truly meeting its intended potential? Its purpose, first and foremost, is to serve as a container for what is inside. When a cup is best fulfilling its purpose, it is an afterthought to what it contains.

 

At one time, I was part of a church with a beautiful campus (that’s right, not a building — a campus). In fact, I am not sure I’ve seen one more incredible. Often people visiting would comment, “Oh, what we could do with a campus like this!” or, “If we could just have a building like this one…” I wasn’t always sure why, but often these comments would rub me the wrong way. It wasn’t that they were completely off-base. It was an incredible space that I often took for granted, but somehow, I knew that they were missing it.

 

What was special about that place had never been its outside shell (as incredible as it was). Rather, it was the space it created. Space where people walked me through the best and worst moments of my life (and everything inbetween). Space that fostered a community that produced my best friends, my pastors, my mentors, and my wife. Space where we all worshiped Jesus together. Space that allowed me to cry with, shout at, and be transformed by Him. It was a space where I grew, ministered, experienced breakthrough, experienced freedom, was baptized, was married, where my brother and I baptized my dad, and mourned the loss of my dad. I know that those buildings were made most beautiful by the stories played out inside of them.

 

The Purpose Of Our New Container
As I thought about our new building and the kind of space I desire it to be, I reached a realization.

 

A building that finds its greatest honor in itself, is an empty cup searching for purpose.

 

It is a house that has never been a home. Instead, a building, like all other containers, is meant to find fulfillment in what it holds. Don’t hear me wrong — this building and its design are of the utmost importance. We need a place that is designed with community in mind and Christ at the heart. A space that communicates God’s embrace of the wandering and the weary. A container to hold a community of people striving to love God and love others well. We want it to be a place where we feel comfortable to laugh with friends, cry with family, pray for the hurting, welcome the lost, and worship the Lord our God.

 

I pray that this container is God’s pouring-out-point for his Spirit on every kind of person. A place where our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young people will see visions, our elderly will dream dreams. May it be a cup that does its job so well that it is merely the backdrop to the incredible work that God will do in it. Not just on Sundays, but every day, in new and creative ways.

 

And like no other cup, the contents of this container are intended to overflow. We pray that God will send the love incubated here out across all of our cities. That the freedom found here be sent like shockwaves throughout our lives and the lives of those we encounter. And that His kingdom come and will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

A Beautiful Humble Purpose
My hope in communicating the humble purpose of our new space is not to devalue it at all! Rather, I hope that in this we can value it all the more. That we would see beyond the external beauty that it will undoubtedly have, and look more to the internal beauty that it will undoubtedly hold.

 

So as we approach the excitement of our new building, I hope this will shape our enthusiasm and vision for the future. I envision a space that will be the stage for Jesus to declare good news to the poor, deliverance for the captive, sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed.  I pray for a cup that overflows with the beauty of God’s Church. It is in this that we will find that our new house has become our home.

 

Drew Tilton is the Youth Pastor at Mountain View Church in South Orange County, CA. Drew has his Masters degree from Talbot School of Theology and has many years experience in youth ministry. He and his wife Marissa enjoy hanging with good friends, sports, and street dance battles. Get in touch with him at drew@mvc.life