The discussion began around the “pros” and “cons” of not having a building.
Pros: no maintenance, low overhead, no grounds keeping.
Cons: might be forced to relocate, lack of program opportunities (space not your own).
Church mergers were discussed with the pluses and often minuses being raised.
Home churches and cell group ministries were discussed as another option either to enhance church life or even as an option of a church without a permanent building. The need to gather as a larger fellowship from time to time was raised.
The important point that the future of the church belongs to our younger people was raised, with the recognition that we need to listen to their needs and how they connect especially in this era of social media. Churches need to adapt to these needs or the young people will drift away.
During the second half of the discussions we found it more difficult to try to develop a more specific idea or plan of action.
It was identified that change is hard for our established churches and creating congregations without buildings may be easier for start-up churches.
We might need to explore repurposing our buildings. Finding new and creative ways to use the space for outside groups, housing and community centers that serve the larger community and reach out in missional models.
Ultimately, the group determined that the key is changing the dynamic – getting people excited about being together as the people of God and seeking to become creative stewards of all the resources we have including the brick and mortar or lack thereof.