A: The first Christians met wherever they could — sometimes in buildings that were available to them, but often (as you say) in homes. Only later were special church buildings constructed, usually after the threat of persecution had passed.
This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to construct special buildings for the use of God’s people — not at all. Nowhere in the Bible is this forbidden; in fact, centuries before Jesus lived, God commanded a magnificent Temple to be built in Jerusalem, and He ordered it rebuilt after Israel’s enemies destroyed it. Countless cities and towns had synagogue buildings in Jesus’ time, not only in the Holy Land but also in other parts of the Roman Empire. Some later became Christian churches.
Pray for your church and its leadership; they bear heavy responsibilities, particularly as they try to prepare for the future. Learn also what is being planned as part of this campaign, and if you have questions, seek answers for them. Even if you’re still unsure about the project, do your best to be supportive. Remember Moses’ warning to those who were constantly complaining: “You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord” (Exodus 16:8).
Remember too that a church’s building is only a tool — an instrument in God’s hands to welcome people and draw them to Christ, and also to help them grow in their relationship to Him. Is this what you desire for your church — and for your life? Make Christ the center of your life, and pray that this may happen to every person whose life is touched by your church’s ministry.
Q: How can I be a good mother-in-law? Our son got married a few months ago and they live fairly near us. It’s hard for me not to call them every day, but I don’t want to be an interfering mother-in-law. How can I avoid this but still let them know I care? — Mrs. R.J.
A: I’m thankful you’re concerned about this; the time to think about this is now rather than later, after you might have unintentionally harmed your relationship.
I’m sure most of us have seen examples of mother-in-laws (and father-in-laws) who didn’t get it right — either interfering too much or else cutting themselves off almost completely from their married children. But neither extreme is wise. On one hand, the Bible reminds us that marriage brings with it changes in a couple’s family relationships. In God’s plan, it says, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife” (Matthew 19:5).
But this doesn’t mean their parents are no longer concerned or should have no contact with them. I think, for example, of Naomi in the Old Testament. She clearly had a close and loving relationship with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, especially after Ruth’s husband died. Ruth even declared, “Where you go I will go.... Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16-17). As a result, Ruth became an ancestor of Jesus.
Ask God for wisdom — and as you have opportunity, ask your son, as well. Seek advice from your friends also (although every family is different, and what’s right for one may not be appropriate for another). In the meantime, invite them for dinner from time to time ... share family news with them... gently offer to help in small ways. God has given you a great privilege; use it wisely.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.