Turn-Key or Makeover?

If you are thinking about finding a new church home, you might want to consider doing your shopping with a real-estate tip in mind. The “perfect” church might not be the best spiritual investment.

In the real estate market, a house that is in tip-top shape is often referred to as a “turn-key” house. If you buy the home, it is in nearly perfect condition. Someone else has done all the work and the only work you need to do is “turn the key” and move in. Such properties are popular, and they usually sell for a premium. Unfortunately, when it comes time to sell, you stand to make little profit unless the market has appreciated considerably.

My wife and I, on the other hand, have purchased fixer-upper properties. In the last 15 years we have bought seven and lived in three of them. These properties were “cosmetic” fixers, rather than fixers that needed highly qualified, skilled work. The types of improvements our properties have needed were new paint, flooring and fixtures. The most “construction” we have done was to tear out and replace kitchen and bathroom counters and sinks. When more difficult repairs needed to be done, we always hired skilled professionals.

We’ve put hundreds if not thousands of hours of labor into our properties. We have spent quite a bit of money on tools and supplies. Some people think we are a bit crazy and want to know why we do it. Let me share with you some of the benefits of getting involved in a fixer.

  • The more work you put into a place, the more it feels like a home.
  • You might wonder at times if all the work is worth it, but when the job is complete you realize it was worth every bit of effort you put into it.
  • By doing most of the work yourself instead of paying others to do it, you discover and develop skills and talents you might not have realized you had.
  • By choosing your own colors and decorating schemes, you can create an atmosphere that meets your particular needs.
  • You have more pride in your property. You are more likely to take better care of it and want to share it with others.
  • And the financial rewards can be substantial.

I’ve found that it’s much the same with a church. (I’m speaking of a congregation, not a building.)

  • The more work you put into church, the more it feels like home.
  • You might wonder at times if all the work is worth it, but when you see how your work has touched people’s lives, you realize it was worth every bit of effort you put into it.
  • By doing some work yourself instead of paying others to do it, you discover and develop skills and talents you might not have realized God has given you.
  • By choosing your own name, styles of worship, children’s church program, women’s and men’s ministry programs, etc. you can create an atmosphere that meets your particular needs.
  • You have more pride in your church. You are more likely to pray for it and take better care of it and want to share it with others.
  • And the spiritual rewards can be substantial.

If you are interested in “fixing-up” your church, make sure you aren’t doing it alone. Otherwise you will soon become overworked and burned out. Find a handful of others who see the potential and sit down together to assess the areas that need to be improved, figure out who has the skills and tools to do the job, and even consider whether you need to hire outside laborers to help.

As long as your church has the solid foundation of Jesus Christ and the leaders are supportive of the makeover project, it will be well worth it to roll up your sleeves and start making your church the glorious spiritual home it is meant to be.

Shane Bazer

Shane Bazer
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