Safety and Neatness for Our Churches

PASTORAL PRINCIPLES AND PROCEDURES: Safety and Neatness for Our Churches

Why is it so important

Associate Secretary, General Conference Insurance Service

It has been my privilege to travel in many lands, and to meet with Adventist congregations in magnificent edifices, and also where worship is conducted in humbler, less costly structures. It is hoped that the following observations relating to upkeep, maintenance, and fire hazards will be found worthy of study by pastors and church officers in the homeland as well as in mission fields. The great lack of attention to the physical appearance and requirements of our church buildings warrants careful consideration.

I have seen buildings erected at great expense for the worship of God that were representative of the Advent message. Soon these same buildings, which at first were so impressive and beautiful, were allowed to deteriorate needlessly, through neglect on the part of pas tors and church officers into whose care the edifices had been entrusted. Perhaps you too have seen these things—broken windowpanes, unrepaired' cracks in the masonry, loosened plaster ready to fall from the ceiling or walls.

Imagine the embarrassment which befell a certain congregation and its pastor in the midst of a sermon being delivered by a visiting worker, the door of the sacred desk burst open, disgorging torn, dilapidated songbooks; literature yellow with age; out-dated, leftover blanks and campaign materials of three years before; a filthy dustcloth; and miscellaneous worthless odds and ends. All these were scattered across the rostrum, and had to be cleared away so the guest speaker might have room to stand and finish his sermon.

On another occasion the speaker of the hour was forcefully driving home his message to the hearts of his hearers in all earnestness when his firm blow upon the desk brought loose pieces of plaster to the floor from a wall nearby. On still another occasion a defective light switch caused the entire light circuit to become ineffective one night in the midst of an important general meeting for the district. Upon looking into church libraries and cupboards, or compartments designed for church literature, we have oft times found chaotic, unkempt conditions which invite rodents and create fire hazards.

What must God think of our stewardship when these conditions are permitted? What impressions do visiting workers or other visitors receive who attend our meetings where such conditions are allowed to exist? I have been led to ponder these matters in my own heart. Can it be that the degree of neatness, or lack of it, seen so often in the maintenance of our houses of worship, perchance has its counterpart in the spiritual habits of church officers and lay worshipers?

As pastors, church officers, and laymen, should we not consider carefully this neglect and disregard for the house set aside for communing with God, where His presence is invited? Is there not some way whereby a more faithful upkeep of our houses of worship may be encouraged and maintained?

Some congregations regularly hold clean-up and repair bees twice each year. On these occasions shelves and cupboards are cleared of all litter and out-dated materials. The roof of the building is examined for leaks and for loose shingles or pieces of tin which need' replacing. Electrical connections and wiring throughout the attic are checked for possible fire hazards. Cracks in masonry and plaster are noted and repaired. The basement and churchyard are given attention, and the heating installation is thoroughly inspected with a view both to greater economy and to the reduction of all possible fire hazards. Broken or cracked panes are replaced, doors that stick are adjusted, and windows too tight or too loose are given attention. Finally, new painting and redecorating place the house of worship in correct condition to receive the continued admiration of the worshiping congregation and of visitors who are invited to attend the services.

Another phase of physical protection for our houses of worship is that of adequate fire and windstorm insurance. Care should be taken by the district pastor, and the local church committee to which regular upkeep and repairs are assigned, to see that adequate insurance is carried at all times and that the insurance is not allowed to lapse or become ineffective. Neglect in this matter may result in partial or total loss to buildings which would cost many thousands of dollars to replace.

The occurrence of fire has ofttimes been traced to carelessness in allowing greasy or oily rags, dustcloths, waste, and other combustible materials to accumulate in closets or cup boards. We strongly recommend that all janitor's supplies of this nature be kept in a suitable place, and if at all possible, in a metal container. Attention given to this feature will materially lessen the hazard of fire.

We sincerely believe that God will honor those who give diligence to these matters and surely the influence of the Advent cause in each community would be strengthened through greater care in these matters.



Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

Associate Secretary, General Conference Insurance Service

June 1950

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

RELIGIOUS WORLD TRENDS: "The Lilienthal Lullaby"

Thoughtful sober workers in the Advent Movement have continually guarded against irresponsible and sensational quotations regarding the seriousness of the hour in relationship to the signs of the times and to the atom and hydrogen bombs.


"our ministers fall into two main types. One is the evangelistic type; the other, the pastor-evangelist, or pastor-teacher, type."

MINISTER IN THE MAKING: Your Opportunity to Sponsor

"There has come to our attention a very real need that would make a worthy project for the ministerial students in North America to sponsor."

LITERATURE EVANGELISM: The Evangelistic Reading Room

The content of an evangelistic reading room

EDITORIAL KEYNOTES: Distinguish Between Problems and Quibbles

"We need rightly to distinguish between important and unimportant questions —between basic problems and those sheer quibbles that confront us indiscriminately from time to time."

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - SermonView - Medium Rect (300x250)

Recent issues

See All

Latest Videos

See All
Advertisement - Propel Conf Wide Skyscraper (160x600)