There is much discussion around the web (and in books) concerning the best location for the gathering of the church. Many believe the church should own a building specifically for gathering. Others believe the church should rent a location for their gathering. Still others believe the church should meet in homes. As I’ve studied this issue, I’ve noticed that Scripture is relatively silent concerning the meeting location for the church. It is true that churches met in homes in the New Testament. However, this is not commanded, nor is owning or renting a facility prohibited. So, where should the church meet?
As I’ve considered this question over the last several months, I’ve come to understand that the question itself is incomplete. The location for the gathering of the church should not be the primary concern. Instead, I need to answer the following question: “How can we live together as the church most effectively?”
For example, we are commanded to love one another, accept one another, bear one another’s burdens, comfort one another, encourage one another, forgive one another, etc. Our gatherings should be a source of encouragement and exhortation with every believer taking responsibility for bringing a teaching, song, prophecy, etc. We should use our money and other resources to help others by providing for physical needs. These are all scriptural commands.
How can we best carry out these commands as the church? Does a certain meeting location hinder our living together as the church? Does a certain meeting location facilitate our loving together as the church?
We must not come together only for the sake of gathering (see this blog entry). Our gatherings must be times of encouragement and exhortation… times of edification. The location of our gatherings must not hinder our purpose.