Does the Church Look Abandoned?

The church I attend sits on a hill, visible up above the highway nestled in the midst of our county’s Comprehensive High School.  Until recently it was very recognizable, with the traditional steeple rising toward the heavens, giving it a distinctive look.  There was no doubt, when you looked up on that hill, you knew it was a church.  Riding up the hill toward the church a few weeks ago, I glanced up and thought that something did not look right.  It took me a moment to notice that the big, white church steeple was missing. Say what? How? When? Why? There are reasons. It is currently (sadly) laying down in front of the church. I could not believe the difference that it made to the whole church campus.  Surrounded by the high school’s various buildings on three sides, it just looks like another building sitting in the midst.     

The how/when/why of the displaced steeple being that some of the men were doing maintenance on the church to clean it for an upcoming paint job along with just sprucing it up so it would look nice for Easter.  While power washing the roof they noticed that the steeple looked wobbly.  On further inspection, they found that it was barely connected!  The actual bolts connecting the steeple to the roof were loose and about the only thing holding it in place was a thick bead of silicone at the back.

Once they determined that the steeple was barely clinging to the roof of the church, they were able to get it down with a crane and without it splintering apart.  It is a pretty sad looking site though, the stately old steeple just lying there on the ground on its side.  Looking at it laying there, it seems like a good gust of wind could have taken it down in the first place.  Sadly, there is the chance, most likely chance, that it will not be able to be put back up.  It is quite fragile and does not seem like it would be a good plan to put it back up.  We are discussing options. People that are used to seeing the steeple standing will ask, “What happened to the steeple?”  People that do not have anything to do with our church have noticed and commented about the missing landmark that normally sits atop that hill.  It is expected.  People will just randomly ask about the steeple.  Someone even jokingly said last week that without the steeple it almost looked like an abandoned building.

Thankfully, the steeple did not come crashing down with some high winds that we had earlier in the spring.  It did come down (with a little loving help) before the really high winds passed through our area.  It may not have made it through that activity.  The fact that it is laying down safely, gently, and still in one piece (mostly), is a huge sigh of relief.  We are so thankful that the winds did not come and take the steeple down at a time when the campus was busy and full.

Our church is small, with two buildings on the campus, which might make you think that we are insignificant, and with the steeple now missing, somewhat abandoned.  This is not true.  We are there.  Anywhere God’s Word is being preached and taught, is not insignificant. Churches that are sticking to the Bible and preaching the Truth to a lost and dying world are absolutely not insignificant.  On any given Sunday you may or may not see the parking lot full or what you might consider full. But inside, God’s Word is being preached.  Lives are being renewed and changed.  On any given Wednesday night, you might not even be able to see the cars that are parked at the top of the hill.  But inside, God’s Word is being shared and taught through adult small group study and youth and children’s ministries and hearts are being touched.  And during the school year, throughout the week, Monday through Friday, you may not see it from the road, but the campus is a busy place.  Activity is abounding and the lives of high school students are being changed through a ministry that allows high school students to attend an “off campus” Bible class located in our activities building where they learn about God’s Word and how to defend their faith as they move forward out of high school into college or on into the working world.  So, although to the naked eye, there may not be a lot going on there, it is definitely not abandoned.   

When someone mentioned that without the steeple the church could look sort of abandoned, it made me think about the Church, as a whole–not the physical church building, but the actual Church–the people that make up the Church, the family of God.  Are we easily visible to those that pass us by? Are we recognizable as the Church?  Are we still lighting the way to those in darkness?  Or are we laying down nestled safely into our daily routines looking undistinguishably the same as everyone around us?  Do we seem like abandoned buildings on the hill sitting in the midst of our mission field?  Where is our steeple? 

Some may think that the Church is a specific building or a place.  They think you have to go in to be part of the Church.  When in fact, the Church is really not a building or place.  It is a living, breathing assembly of individuals that have trusted in Christ and that have given their lives to Him.  Each of us has a purpose in God’s Church.  God gave each of us a purpose, an ability, or abilities, gifts that will help us reach out to others to share the story and the love of His Son, Jesus Christ.  

Within our Christian walk, when we take away or lay aside the things that make us look like Christ, eventually we begin look like those that we are sitting in the midst of, like every other building with no steeple. Some people never mature enough to have a steeple of their own. At some point, we must become mature, fruitful members of the Church.  Ephesians 4:14-16 tells us that, as mature Christians, we should not be living as children; should not be exhibiting childish behavior. We should not be letting the circumstances around us lead and guide us in our behavior. We should make every effort to mature and reflect the Head of the Church, which is Christ.  For when we grow and mature, we become more intricately joined with the rest of the Church, we work as one Body, one Church, whereby we will naturally love and support other members of the Church and then the Church is strengthened. 

We are called to be different.  We are called to be a Church with its steeple rising high into the world around us.  Moses even desired this from the beginning.  We see in Exodus 33:16 that he was begging God to remain with them, to go with them. God’s visible presence, even then, was what made them different than all other people.  

I suppose you could look at your purpose, ability or gift as your steeple.  Is your steeple standing strong and tall as a beacon to those around you? Is it there but wobbly with only a single bead of silicon holding it upright? Or is laying to the side of the Church, waiting to be repaired, refreshed, or possibly revived?

We all need a steeple. Rebuild, reclaim, refurbish and revive your steeple.  Make the effort so that the Church–that is absolutely surrounded by the world–does not look like everything else in the world.  Don’t allow Christ’s Church to look abandoned and to become insignificant.  Find your purpose and“go out from.” Go out from and let your steeple be visible to the world.


“And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 ESV)


What is your relationship to the all-knowing God of the universe?  Do you have a steeple?  Is it standing strong? Do you know Jesus? Do you know the peace that can come only from an intimate relationship with Him?  You can know Him.  Jesus Christ, God’s Son, born into human flesh, sinless, crucified and giving His life freely, buried, arisen on the third day, will come into your life and change the outcome of your eternity.  You just have to be willing to believe and accept His truth.  

Here is an excellent website that can give you additional information about making your decision for Jesus Christ!

3 thoughts on “Does the Church Look Abandoned?

  1. What a wonderful message ! It really makes you take a good look at yourself! Thank you for sharing!!


  2. Thank you for the beautiful message! There are times that we have to be revived in our walk but can rejoice in him daily and share his love.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s