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September 20, 2016

What The Church Can Learn From Jerry Jones

By John Muzyka

Football season is here. On August 27, eight Frisco, Texas high school football teams played four games at the Ford Center at the Star. This brand-new, 91-acre development includes a 12,000-seat indoor high school football stadium—and also happens to be the new practice home and team headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys.

The entire city celebrated the opening of this state-of-the-art facility. It is located in the area of booming development known locally as the “$5 Billion Mile.” The center will include retail, restaurants, offices and other amenities to complete the mixed-use development.

So, how does this have anything to do with the church?

Buildings Are Tools

While one of the high school games was televised, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was interviewed. The interviewers asked Jones to talk about the new facility. Jones, who has owned the Cowboys since 1989, responded, “As proud as we are of the buildings, those—at the end of the day—are tools. It’s the blood, it’s the people and it’s how you use them.” That is “Jerry speak” for the idea that buildings are just tools to serve and develop people.

Buildings really are tools! They exist to serve and develop the people who enter them. When it comes to the church, buildings are just tools that exist to facilitate ministry and reach people.

In the past, I’ve written about the fact that the church is not the building. Churches around the globe start in homes, communities and city centers and do not have large buildings. When we start to realize that the structures we build are tools, and we understand that different communities and different contexts have unique needs, we know we need to approach the building and use of church facilities in a new way.

The tools needed to do ministry in the heart of New York City are dramatically different than the tools needed to do ministry in West Texas. The church that launches in a bar in Seattle might not work in Little Rock, Arkansas. Even in a city like Houston, pastors need different tools as they plant churches or campuses in different parts of the city.

If your church wants to multiply, it’s time to take a fresh look at how your building can be a tool to transform how you do ministry—and possibly save your church significant money.

For churches to multiply, we must get serious in our approach to reaching nonbelievers. The buildings we build and the environments we create should be designed with the people we are pursuing in mind, not on the people we already have.

As the cost to build facilities continues to rise, and there is a growing call for buildings that can be used every day as opposed to a couple of days per week. Established churches, church plants and multisite churches alike must ask, “How will we use this facility?” It is an exciting time, and the church has a great opportunity to shine the light of the gospel in a dark world.

Engaging the Community

During the interview, Jones talked about the vision he has for the partnership between the Cowboys, the city of Frisco and the Frisco Independent School District (ISD). He shared that he was excited that a high school football player would have the opportunity to walk onto the field for a game on a Friday night as an NFL player like Tony Romo is walking off the field from practice.

Today, many churches start in spaces built for other uses; schools, hotels, theaters, bars and restaurants are a few examples. These spaces allow churches to launch with lower startup costs. But some of these spaces also create unique opportunities to interact with people who are in the community and not involved with the church. For instance, if the church meets in the school, they have an opportunity to intentionally minister to the teachers and staff at the school. It all comes down to the intentional engagement of people who are in the community or space you are sharing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Muzyka

John Muzyka (@JohnMuzyka) serves as a Senior Director at Service Realty in Plano Texas since 2006. John serves churches as they sell excess property for commercial use, sell existing church facilities, purchase buildings to convert to church use, purchase land, and lease space for church plants. John specifically focuses on serving church plants and multisite churches as they pursue facilities to launch new churches and campuses. John assists the church by identifying options, defining market areas, and counting the cost of the options as they seek to address their ministry and facility needs. Simply put, John helps church translate their mission, vision, and values into a real estate strategy. John currently resides in Frisco, Texas with his wife and two sons. www.churchrealty.com

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