An imposing octagonal tower stands on a prominent hill in Beloit, WI. The limestone walls are 8 feet thick at the base, tapering in thickness as they rise above the ground a total of 36 feet. The structure was completed in 1889 to address the need to fight fires in the burgeoning city, and to provide drinking water to the expanding number of citizens. The water needs of Beloit, were subsequently met by the 100,000-gallon water tank supported by the tower.
The Water Tower Has Not Held Water in Over 90 years
A new water tower was built in 1929 to better meet the needs of the city with updated technology. The stone tower was deemed obsolete. Dismantling of the stone tower began, but the costs of demolition outstripped the benefit of taking it down. So, the feat of masonry remained, eventually being added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1983.
The tower stayed because it was too much work to take it down.
Do not get me wrong. The Tower is a really neat landmark despite its use as a trash receptacle for park goers. Yet, it would be ridiculous to think that it meets the water needs of the city. I fear that we can have this view with churches though.
Churches are called to the work of offering the living water of Jesus Christ. Yet, churches can end up serving as neat historic landmarks that once served the purpose of distributing living water, but now are largely idle relics where people gather when it is convenient, similar to good weather days at the Beloit Water Tower Park. The name indicates that there is life giving water available, but in reality, it is simply a gathering place with some nice amenities.
Clearly, churches are not called to be idle architectural relics of days gone by. We are called to be saturated with the gospel. Everything that we do as churches should point to the Good News of Jesus Christ. What we do and say, and how we do and say it should all be dripping with the Living Water of Jesus Christ.
Interested in working through the practicalities of renewing the gospel saturation in your church? Check out resources available at Pulse Process.