That’s not just a line from the wonderful movie Field of Dreams, but also the evangelistic program of many churches. If we build a building, the unchurched will come. But they don’t. Why?
Many Christians are puzzled about why unchurched people stay away from church. Some time back Gallup asked that question in a survey conducted through the Princeton Religious Research Center. What did the unchurched say?
The unchurched said they were lonely, alienated, and apprehensive. In their experience, when they looked to the church for direction, they got a cold shoulder. It doesn’t matter how warm the bricks are if the people are cold.
The unchurched said that if they had a “spiritual counselor” or a “faith partner,” if they had somebody to share their doubts with and hold their hand as they searched for answers, they would come.
It’s not the building that attracts the people, it’s the hope of somebody to walk with them on the road of faith. Not a preacher, but a friend. Not a theologian, but a sensitive believer.
We’ve built buildings in every city. The unchurched tell us they are more interested in people than buildings. It’s not big auditoriums that attract them, but big hearts. If we build open hearts, they will come.