[anzac] "WHAT A 'BUILDING' DID TO US" - true stories

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 09:53:17 -0500
NOTE:  Two emails are below:
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Date sent:      	Wed, 28 Apr 2004 05:53:23 -0700 (PDT)
From:           	Tom L. <email withheld>

I once sat on the board of a fairly large A/G church and 
later attended a very small A/G church where I could 
easily see the financial aspects of the church. 

In the small church a loan had been secured to do some 
maintenance on the building and improvements inside. As 
part of that financial agreement with the bank, the church 
was required to maintain a steady increase in members 
which included taking a head count every Sunday and 
reporting it to the bank.

As the congregation, members of an establishment, we 
become part of the agreement made between the church 
and the world - this includes financial agreements. This 
obligation between the "church" and the bank makes us 
surety in that agreement.

The Bible speaks very clearly about being surety or 
establishing surety - especially with the world.

Proverbs 22:26-27:
"Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, 
One of those who is surety for debts; If you have nothing 
with which to pay, Why should he take away your bed 
from under you?"

So, before we consider calling ourselves members of a 
body, we better consider the obligations made by the 
organization to which we are joining ourselves. This is 
not to mention the segregation and bigotry generated by
denominationalism - a whole other topic that needs 
addressing.
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Email # 2:

Date sent:      Wed, 28 Apr 2004 01:36:42 -0300 (ART)
From:           "Rob Thiesfield" <rob@...>

I would like to add my personal experience to this building 
issue. It concerns a fairly large church (1500 people) that 
was in my home city.

When I found the church it was vibrant and full of life. 
There were people there from all walks of life, and it 
showed. Business men in their suits, students in their 
jeans and t-shirts, mechanics in their overalls, and 
butchers in their soiled white clothes. People did not want 
to go to church in their soiled clothes, it just so happened 
that they only finished work in time to make a mad dash 
there. Not only people from all walks of life, but from all 
age groups too. Many older people were there, as were 
the middle aged and young families, and the youth were 
more than equally represented too.

The thing about this church was that it was not a building. 
Every week the people would hire a high-school 
gymnasium hall, setting up chairs and the things needed 
for such a large gathering of people. It did not stay like 
this unfortunately, and it was not too long before we all 
moved into a newly erected building.

At first things started out fine, after all, we were still sitting 
on wooden chairs and still had a plain concrete floor 
covered in dust to walk on. That was at first, before the 
changes started to come. It was lauded as a good thing, 
as a step forward. Perhaps they did not see the changes
that were happening, but the changes were two-fold, with 
the building, but also with the people.

When the chairs were padded and covered we were 
suddenly not allowed to put our feet upon them, nor could 
people in soiled clothes use them, they had to find a 
plastic chair and sit at the back. The clothing of the floor
with carpet did much for the acoustics of the building but 
suddenly people were removing boots at the main entrance 
to preserve the look and prevent dragging mud over this 
new surface. It so happened that business shoes were 
much better for removing mud than workboots.

The changes continued with new curtains, painted walls, 
and plush decorations. By the time the building was 
completed, it was a very rich and elegant place to visit. 
The problem was that we had lost all of the people who 
did not fit into this place. Those who were poor, or wore
soiled clothes, or did not feel comfortable in such a plush 
environment had soon moved on, looking for a place that 
would allow them to be themselves and not force them 
into certain lifestyles. It was not that anyone actually said 
this specifically, but the style of the building and the 
decorations certainly said it very clearly.

Not only these changes, but something else started to 
happen with those people that remained. Slowly the level 
of clothing began to change. People that used to wear 
t-shirts were starting to wear collared shirts. Those
wearing collared shirts would wear business shirts, and 
the better dressed people were starting to wear suits. 
Even our pastor, the man that used to dress very casually, 
started wearing suits.

By the time I left, the people were wearing smart casual 
clothes and better, and many of the people that were in 
the church had now moved on. This new place with the 
fancy layout was not for them. The church changed too. 
It seemed the focus was not on God as much as it was 
on the building, on the activities of the church, and on the 
monetary need. By the time I left, the church had also split. 

I have always wondered if this would have been the same 
result had the church never moved from their hired hall.
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