Why Congregations Miss Obvious Church Facility Issues

It happens, and it still amazes me. The regular attenders at a church seldom see church facility issues, even if they stare them in the face. I’ve spent time with church folks who somehow fail to see the dirty carpet, the broken window, the weedy parking lot, the crowded children’s room (and I could go on and on here).

As an outside consultant, I see things quickly when I walk through a building – but the regulars often miss them completely. Here are some reasons that this happens:

  1. They typically follow only one pattern through the building. They retrace their steps through the facility every week, and they seldom detour from their regular route. Many members consequently don’t see much of the building, and they miss the problems in the places where they do go.   
  2. It’s all they’ve seen for years. They’ve attended their church so long that they don’t know anything different than what they see every weekend – even if what they don’t see is readily apparent to others. They get “used to” the poorly maintained building and the seemingly obvious odors.
  3. They don’t think like outsiders still to be reached with the gospel. I trust your church members are believers who enjoy hanging out together. In many cases, these same members never think much about what their facility says to an “unchurched” person – so they don’t worry about obvious facility issues.  
  4. Sometimes, they live in generally messy homes. If that’s the case, it shouldn’t surprise us that the same people don’t worry about church messes. Clutter is acceptable, even if the house is God's house.  
  5. They don’t see the facility as their responsibility. Sure, they do sometimes see problems like out-of-date signage and worn out pews, but they often conclude, “Somebody else will deal with that. That’s not my job.”
  6. They’re self-focused. As long as they enjoy their time at church, they don’t think much about the facility around them. Somehow, they don’t even notice its issues. 
  7. Some know that remodeling and renovation cost dollars, and they don’t want to spend the money. Frugal church members are sometimes so worried about the church meeting budget that they continually slow down the process. They tolerate the facility issues rather than spend money to fix them.
  8. They just don’t think about it. It’s really not that they don’t care about the building; it’s just that they don’t think about it. They come and go, attending small group and worship, and honestly never stop to think about the building.

What other reasons would you add? Tell us how you would help your church members see facility realities. 

7 Comments

  • Don says:

    I’m an interim pastor in a church over 50 years old. During this interim year I see the members taking charge and taking a new look at the facility before the next pastor arrives. They are not distracted by staff dynamics, but doing significant self-assessment. It’s pretty cool!

  • Sam Hamilton says:

    Well…..Here is my take. In my study of the Word, I only find God commissioning the building of three structures: A. The Ark 2. The movable synagogue C. The Temple
    Here in Midland, MI over the past month, the BSCM Disaster Relief Team has lodged in our huge “church” faciltiy. We have showers, some bedding, and loads of floor space for cots. These dear (mostly retired) volunteers came to help victims of the recent major flooding salvage things and tear our ruined flooring, drywall, etc. Churchianity has failed as Christ predicted….There are not enough religious buildings in this or any other village or city to hold the numbers of humans for whom Jesus died. I do NOT pastor a building, and am glad I will not be a “building superintendent” of such a building for which thousands and thousands of dollars are still owed when the HEAD OF THE CHURCH comes back to begin His judgment at the House of God. I am not sure, but I think the fasted growing Bodies of Christ are in 3rd world areas where meeting places are not really very important at all….LET along the aesthetic appeal, etc. Thanks

  • Sam Hamilton says:

    That should have been “tear out” not “tear our” I am guilty of proofreading AFTER hitting “send” sorry

  • Sam Hamilton says:

    wow..two more typos—“fastest” not “fasted” (maybe I SHOULD have before posting : > )
    and not “along” but “alone” Again Lo siento mucho!

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