Some of the most beautiful church buildings in Europe like the Cathedral at Notre Dame in Paris actually are museums. People come and admire the architecture, but the Spirit of those churches departed a long time ago. Here are six signs that a functioning church might actually be more like a museum:
1). Appreciation over application. Museums want you to appreciate what they have to offer. You don’t have to change at all. Churches can sometimes be more about appreciating the beautiful music or the truths being taught, without ever challenging you to apply them.
2). Architecture over accessibility. For some of the most famous art museums in the world, the building itself is the art. It may be cold and uncomfortable, but it’s beautiful. Churches can be easily mistaken into thinking that the most important thing is the building. A building becomes more important than the people they’re trying to reach.
3). Safety over sacrifice. Museums never ask you to do anything out of your comfort zone. You’re there at your leisure. In the same way, churches can unintentionally create a climate that keeps us in the very comfort zones that Jesus is calling us out of.4). Predictability over people. Hours are set, visitor limits are declared. If there are too many people, you simply shut down. If you traveled halfway across the world to see a specific painting and they have it out for cleaning, tough luck. Routine dominates. Some churches can fall into this. The same programs at the same times, not necessarily because they’re reaching people any more, but because it’s predictable.
5). Manageable over messy. It’s why museums cringe when they see a kindergarten field trip coming through the doors. Too many grubby hands. Many art museums aren’t kid-friendly. How many churches aren’t kid-friendly, through kids spaces, programs, and all the hard work it takes to make a church truly effective at reaching young families?
6). Tradition over transformation. At the end of the day, a museum is there to preserve the past. A museum will never transform a community for the future. It’s there to preserve the past. Can a church be more about preserving the past rather than transforming the future?
QUESTION: What are other signs a church might be more like a museum?