We’ve just posted some material over at curiosus.co.uk, our blog about conservation and heritage management, on the slogan “Here for Life”, which stands emblematically for an integration between people and places through time, the three critical dimensions of sound cultural heritage management.
In thinking further about this within a church context, the phrase also works well as a motto or rallying cry for churches engaged in their communities. Lots of churches do not make positive use of the physical presence of their buildings as anchors within their community, nor of the life stories that are associated with, and often commemorated in, that place. Equally the church is nothing if it is not about people being drawn together into the life of God. As Jesus said (John 10.10),
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”.
It is much like the response to the reading of the law in Nehemiah chapter 8. Clearly what looks very much like revival was not caused by the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. But nor would it have happened without that rebuilding, because the walls created a sense of belonging, of restored identity, and of placedness before God. The same is true of our church buildings, of whatever age – or at least it can be if we engage with them properly.
So when thinking about your church buildings, “Here for Life” seems a helpful phrase to keep in mind.