Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Trophy

Two new signs were installed at the church last week. The signs are rather large and imposing. No one can possibly walk by the property without seeing them. The signs were created by the new owners of the property as the first stage of advertising for the new building - 901 K. The signs are designed to capture the attention of future tenants who may wish to occupy a space in the new building attached to the church.

There is one thing on the sign that got me very excited - the delivery date. The date mentioned on the sign is second quarter 2009. This timeline is a little earlier than what we anticipated. I later learned that this date is the "substantial completion date" and not necessarily the date when we can all move into the building. Oh well...

In addition to the delivery date, there are other words on the sign that captured my attention - "Trophy Office Space." The new building in which the church will own and occupy 25,000 square feet will be filled with trophy office space. I have learned that in order for office space to be labeled "trophy" it must have stunning architecture, a great location, a beautiful lobby, and impeccable service. If a building is to be considered a trophy building, it must be the kind of building that stands out - over and above the rest.

I'll be the first to admit that the signs make me a little uncomfortable. I am still getting used to the idea that this place will be the best of the best. Still, I hope the signs achieve their purpose of attracting future tenants to 901 K - people who will love this part of downtown as much as we do. We want the project to be successful for everyone who is involved.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what a trophy church looks like. Many people would say that in order to be a trophy church, the church must have thousands of members - the church must be a megachurch. Other people might say that in order to be trophy church the church must have cutting-edge programs for every age group and multi-media presentations whenever the congregation gathers. Still other people would say that in order to be a trophy church you must occupy a trophy building - a building that is the best of the best.

For the last three weeks, we have been examining the Acts 2 church in our Sunday morning worship. The Acts 2 church is one of the first churches. It is formed after the apostle Peter preaches a cutting -edge sermon that cuts people to the heart. The people respond to what they have heard by changing their lives. They repent. They turn around from the ways of the world and walk towards the newness that Christ offers. They form an amazing community. Acts 2:42 reads, "They devote themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." The chapter continues, "Awe came upon everyone because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common, they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need."

The people in this community of faith devote themselves to learning as much as they can about God's word. They enjoy one another's company and fellowship often. They break bread together - sharing meals together. They pray together. And, they make sure that every one is taken care of. They make sure that no one has a need that is not tended to.

Can you imagine such a community? I can. I have been imagining such a community on the corner of 9th and Massachusetts since I first learned about the possibility of being appointed as the pastor of Mount Vernon Place. I have been imagining a community that studies the Bible together in an effort to grow in our faith. I have been imagining a community that enjoys being with one another and accepts one another just as they are. I have been imagining a community that breaks bread together - both at the Lord's Supper, in front of a movie on Friday nights, and at potluck dinners on Sunday afternoons. And, I have been imagining a community that looks both inside its doors and especially outside its doors to see where there are people who are in need. The people in my vision then go and take care of the needs of others.

This idea is my idea of a trophy church. Perhaps a trophy church will one day occupy a piece of the trophy office space. Can you imagine? I can.


Beth said...

Amen! May we continue to become exactly the church that God is calling us to be....

Melody said...

I can imagine and am excited to be called as part of that community. Praise god for the movement of the Spirit as we grow towards truly embodying God's kingdom here in DC.