Pinterest, People and Steeples

Yesterday was a perfect day to take a walk through downtown Raleigh to a new juice and salad joint I’ve been eyeing.  (They had “juiced beets with kale”, which up to that point I’ve been making at home but never had the idea you could actually sell to anyone.) You notice a lot of things when you make the choice to skip the car and hoof it a few blocks. One glaring observation was that there are church buildings everywhere. From steeples to storefronts and everything in-between. I only found one actually open, with a big sidewalk sign reading, “Come on in…we’re open.” The hospitality crew, a homeless man, (or an angel in disguise) slept soundly there in the shade of the old stone steps.


Maybe the church buildings stuck out to me because, as a person who’s worked in churches for over 33 years, I seem to keep bumping into Jesus outside the church. (I actually bumped into my pastor on the way…so, if you’re reading this…if the shoe fits…) Anyhoo, I read a brief article by New York Times Best Selling Author, Donald Miller, where he’s almost defending his position that during this season in life he’s not tied to one local church. He writes, “I’d say half of the most impactful people I know, who love Jesus and tear up at the mention of His name, who reach out to the poor and lonely and are fundamentally sound in their theology, who create institutions that feed hundreds of thousands, do not attend a traditional church service.” I guess he encounters Jesus outside church walls as well.

I stumbled upon a webpage the other day simply called “Beautiful Churches.” (There’s also a page called Beautiful Abandoned Churches…that’s another blog) It’s a Pinterest page with some of the most beautiful, rich, colorful, diverse churches you’ll ever see. The photos were extraordinary, but I noticed one glaring omission. People. These were all churches in the traditional sense, as in buildings. But in actuality, the church is…people. So, I decided to start my own Pinterest page and call it, “The Beautiful Church.” I’m asking my friends around the world to send me pictures of their church. Not building stuff, but people.

When trying to describe the page I was reminded of the old rhyme we all taught our kids, “Here’s the church, here is the steeple…” But, here’s the twist. Instead of the people being locked inside two tightly clasped hands, this church would be all about the people. So, here goes. If you have pictures you would consider “the church” you could send them my way and together we’ll help shift the perspective of beautiful buildings to “The Beautiful Church.”

Jesus prayed: “that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17

 There’s no place like HOPE,

Stefan