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How Many Rooms Should the Church Have?

By Allen Webster

religion, articles, christianity

When someone is planning a new house, a common question is, "How many rooms will it have?" If we were going to build a new church building, most people would also be interested in the floor plan. They would want to know what rooms were intended. What rooms is a church supposed to have?

A church should have a hospital room for sick folks. The architect of the church is a doctor (Luke 4:23), so we would expect him to have a room set aside for healing. While on earth he was a healer of bodies (Matt. 15:30), but today his specialty is "soul's diseases" (cf. Isa. 9:6).

A church should have a chapel hall for praying folks. The early church was known for its prayer meetings (Acts 1:14; 12:5­17; 16:13; 21:5). Have we gotten away from a dependence on God expressed through constant, fervent prayer (cf. James 5:16)? Is there "room" any longer for prayer in the church? In a self-sufficient age, prayer gets crowded out by other things, but it's time we get back on our knees. "We ought always to pray and not to faint" (Luke 18:1).

Queen Mary declared she feared the prayers of John Knox more than the armies of her enemies. Though neither were New Testament Christians, they both believed in the power of prayer. The devil fears a single, faithful Christian on his knees more than a whole church of indifferent, self-sufficient people. The church needs a prayer room!

A church should have a school room for studying folks. The Savior was a "teacher come from God" (John 3:2). We would expect a teacher to have a school room. We are called disciples John 8:31), which means learners. We need to set aside time in our assemblies and in our personal lives to study diligently his core curriculum (2 Tim. 2:15).

A church should have a gymnasium for exercising folks. The church is not in the business of entertaining youth or building bodies, so we aren't advocating the kind of gym with goals and foul lines. We are talking about another kind of exercise; ... "Exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:7­8). "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14). We do need "room" in the church for exercising folks-those trying to grow stronger in the faith (2 Tim. 2:1; 1 John 2:14).

A church should have a practice field for soldiering folks. The church is an army (1 Tim. 1:18), so it should have a training area for young soldiers to perfect the tactics involved in "waging a good warfare" against Satan and his allies (1 Pet. 5:8­9; James 4:4; Gal. 5:17­21; 2 Tim. 3:8; Jude 3,4; Eph 6:12; 1 Tim. 6:20). Soldiers must be taught to enlist (Matt. 28:18­20), obey (2 Cor. 10:5­6), please their Captain (2 Tim. 2:4); be disciplined (1 Cor. 9:25­27), use the armor expertly (Eph. 6:13­17), endure hardship (2 Tim. 2:3), show courage (2 Tim. 4:7­18), and fight hard (1 Tim. 6:12). Where is he going to learn these things if there is not "room" in the church?

A church should have a family room for lonely folks. The church is the household of God (1 Tim. 3:15), and members are referred to as brothers and sisters (1 John 2: 10). It is appropriate for a church to emphasize love between members. "Love one another with a pure heart fervently" (1 Pet. 1:22b).

A church should have a living room for dedicated folks. Churches were not intended for Sunday use only. You see, people make up the church and therefore wherever a Christian goes, he is the church. Paul wrote to Timothy, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). He was not telling him to "not run in the church building" but to live daily as a church member is called to live (Eph. 4:1).

A church should have a map room for traveling folks. Each of us is on a journey, a pilgrimage (1 Pet. 2:11). We have set our faces toward Zion (Jer.50:5). To stay on the strait, narrow way, we need a map. Jesus provides such in the church (John 14:6). If you have lost your way (Jer. 10:23; Prov. 14:12), maybe you need to consult the "map room" in which you will find the Word of God (Psa. 119:105).

A church should have a bedroom for weary folks. Jesus said: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28­30). A faithful Christian should be refreshed by his church associations.

A church should have a kitchen for hungry folks. There are many hungry people in the world; not all of them can be filled with loaves and fishes. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). John records: "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, ... give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life" (John 6:33­35). Souls that are hungry should find in the church a place where they can be filled.

The church is the body of Christ. He is the "all in all" (Eph. 1:23). He is the door (John 10:9), the foundation (Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11), the chief cornerstone (Luke 20:17; 1 Pet. 2:6), the rock (1 Cor. 10:4), the building (Eph. 2:21), and, even, the light (John 1:9). There is "room" in the church for you!

Published January 1996