Stones that speak of identity
In many countries in which SGA works, the religious environment is dominated by the Orthodox Church. In this religious system a properly consecrated church building is vitally important. The widespread belief is that a true Christian must go to a building dedicated to the worship of God. Consequently, people will not come to a home for a Christian service, believing such a practice to be an insult to God. Those groups who do hold services in their homes are treated with suspicion and believed to be cults.
In this context a church building is essential. It removes a barrier in the minds of many and speaks of the true identity of those who meet there. They are not a cult, but Christians who worship the one true God. So people are much more likely to respond to an invitation to a meeting when it is given.
Stones that speak of mission
The desire of our brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe is to reach their own people with the Gospel. Very often great sacrifices are made by them in order to tell those who have never before heard of the grace of God found in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Provision of a building helps them do this. New ministries are developed, new opportunities are taken and as a result new people hear the Gospel. Furthermore, very often such buildings not only provide a foothold in one village or town, but become a strategic launch pad for evangelism into the surrounding areas. In this way, more people are reached and more churches are planted to God’s glory.
Stones that speak of permanence
As a church is planted in a new area it is important to take the long-term view. Relationships have to be built, prejudices have to be overcome and many challenges have to be met. To suspicious village eyes nothing illustrates the long-term nature of believers’ commitment than the construction of a new building.
SGA endeavours to help as much as possible. In some countries the full cost of providing a building is met, since old houses can be bought and renovated for £7,000. In more developed countries this cost rises greatly and our contribution rises proportionately, perhaps to as high as £20,000. While this is a large commitment, it is a necessary one if God’s people are to be properly equipped to reach others with the Gospel.