A good friend recently asked me why we wanted a facility for the church.
I thought that was a legitimate question. In fact, I thought it was a great question.
A church is not a building and a building definitely doesn’t make a church.
We believe God has blessed us already in some pretty amazing ways without a building. It’s a lot of work and effort to try to raise funds for a building. There are many other good things to be giving towards. And yet, still, in spite of all that, as we look at our current situation, there are some specific ways we believe that a building can help us better pursue our mission of making disciples and training leaders and planting churches throughout Africa, which makes it worth the effort.
Here are some ways a facility could help further the ministries of Living Hope Church and 1Hope4Africa:
We could hold our worship services at a time that is more helpful:
We currently are only able to meet from 1:30-3:30pm. It would be a help to our people to hold our services in the mornings, when everyone is more awake and alert. This would be helpful for parents of young children in particular, as young children often take naps during the time of day that we currently meet.
We would have space for our church to continue growing:
There are some Sundays when the hall we use is very full, with close to no extra chairs available. This facility would give us space to grow.
We would have a venue for communion services and all-church meals into the future:
We have loved having communion services and all-church meals in homes of church members! But, as our church continues to grow, we will soon run out of space in members’ homes for these services…
We would have much improved facilities for children’s ministries:
Our crèche and children’s church currently meet in tents! We could have classrooms for crèche and children’s church, and we could have a nice outdoor play area for the children to use too.
We would have an indoor foyer area (and a nice outside area) for people to interact and fellowship:
With the venue we currently use, the only space we have for people to interact is outside, and that becomes very difficult if it is raining, windy, or cold (or even if its very hot, since there isn’t much shade). An indoor foyer area would help facilitate interaction and fellowship even when the weather is unpleasant. Further, we could set up benches, and tables and chairs (and umbrellas) outside to create a nice outdoor area for people to take their time talking with each other. Facilitating this sort of interaction can make a big difference in helping visitors feel welcome, and encouraging close-knit community and deeper relationships within our church family.
We could have a Welcome Centre for visitors:
An area of the foyer could be set-up for welcoming visitors – greeting them, providing them with information about our church, and giving them a welcome gift.
We would have indoor space for an expanded Resource Centre:
Our Resource Centre is currently in a tent that we set up outside. A facility would allow us to have an indoor Resource Centre where we could make more books, sermon CDs, music CDs, and other resources available than we are currently able to.
It would be easier to run church classes and equipping/ training times, and we could maybe also have a Sunday evening service:
A church facility of our own would give us a venue and an opportunity for a Sunday School hour and/ or a Sunday evening service. These times could be used for Baptism classes, Membership classes, and Following Jesus: an Introduction to Discipleship classes. Further, we could begin to add other classes and/ or teach lessons on vital topics like how to study your Bible, or how to evangelize, or how to help others in their walk with God, etc. We could use these times for prayer meetings, for missions reports, and for church family meetings. Another benefit of these additional classes/ services is that they would also allow us to give men we are developing as leaders more opportunity to grow in their teaching and preaching.
We would have a venue for baptism services:
Currently, we have to hold our baptism services at other venues. If we had our own facility, it would allow us to hold baptism services at our own church.
Other times of the week:
A venue for Counselling:
We would have a venue for our leaders to meet with people who would like pastoral or diaconal counselling. This would be especially helpful for counselling conversations that should be private.
A venue for Living Hope Church offices and 1Hope4Africa offices:
We currently do not have church or 1Hope4Africa offices. It would be a huge help to Living Hope and 1Hope4Africa leadership to have offices where they can study and do other work, where they can print, make photocopies, etc, and where they can have regular meetings with each other, helping them to better work together as a ministry team.
A venue for African Bible Training Centre (ABTC) classes:
The dream for the African Bible Training Centre is to provide classes in the city to help people from our church and other churches better understand the Bible. We currently meet in Pretoria East, well outside of the area we were originally hoping to provide this training for. This facility would allow us to host ABTC classes in the city again.
We could have an expanded church library, including an area for people to study:
The church property could host a library full of quality books, including commentaries and other Bible Study resources. We could provide a comfortable, quiet area for people to read and study. This could help people in our church prepare for teaching Bible studies, or in writing papers for ABTC, and it would be a help to Project Timothy participants (men being mentored for pastoral ministry) with homework assignments they have for seminary, etc.
We would also have a venue for:
- Worship team practices
- Various Leadership and Service Team meetings
- Our church’s Teen Discipleship Ministry
- A variety of Seminars and Conferences
- Various Bible Studies and Small Groups
- Special All-Church events like our Church Christmas Celebration
- And Weddings and Funerals for members of our church
A few other notes on the value of our own, “permanent” church facility:
Having a church property allows us to have a presence in the community:
Even people just walking or driving by will see that we exist and take note. People are more likely to visit with us if they know we exist and they know where they can find us! Some may even come looking for counsel from a pastor…
Having a church property makes it much easier to invite people to our various ministries:
We could create invitation cards and flyers with the church address and a map on them, and use these cards and flyers in everyday outreach. It would be easier to invite people to Sunday services, to church seminars, to ABTC, to meet with a pastor for counselling, for teen ministry, etc, because all these things would happen at the same place.
Having a church property helps with stability and ministry focus for our church:
We know of a solid, biblical church in Pretoria that had to dissolve because the property they rented in town became unavailable unexpectedly and they were not able to find another option. Having our own property would offer us stability into the future. Further, if we have a property, it frees our leadership up to focus more of their time and effort on ministry itself rather than questions like, “if we run this class or hold this event, where would it be held?”
Having a church property allows us to dream and consider other ministry ideas.
- A crèche: If we opened and ran an affordable, quality crèche, it could be a blessing to many people in our church. It could also help us serve and get to know people in the surrounding community and provide us with opportunities to share the gospel with them.
- Project Timothy housing: We could maybe include a small flat for a Project Timothy participant (someone being mentored for pastoral ministry) on the church property. This would help us have more Project Timothy participants at a time in the future, allowing us to mentor more men for pastoral ministry by reducing the cost.
- Expanding the African Bible Training Centre (ABTC): A property like this would allow us to possibly expand ABTC to offer a variety of classes on biblical and ministry-related subjects in the future.
- A Book Store: We could consider expanding our Resource Centre and having it open during the week, to provide biblically faithful books and other resources to the public.
- 1Hope Publishing: Lord willing, we hope to produce and publish more biblical resources like “The Best Story Ever” in the future, and to do so in several African languages.
While we don’t want to be distracted by a desire for a church facility and will trust God and keep on pursuing our mission as a church with or without a facility, we would be happy if you are interested in helping us purchase a church facility. Our people are beginning to give sacrificially towards a property, but we could use some help.
First, would you please join us in prayer?
And if you are able and would like to make a contribution towards this facility, here are the details:
South African Giving Details:
Absa Bank, Lynnwood Ridge
Account Number: 4074622688
Branch Code: 632005
USA Giving Details:
For tax deductible online donations, click here.
Select “Living Hope Church Facility” from the drop down menu.