University church of Christ in Athens, Georgia

There’s a new church of Christ near the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. We found them, ironically, just past the Jimi Hendrix poster and electric guitar mounted outside the entrance of the room in which they were meeting inside the lower level at the gorgeous Hotel Indigo in downtown Athens. So gorgeous, it was the most stunning hotel I’d ever entered. “Take note of all the details of this design, " I mumbled to Mark, “I want to build a little something with this contemporary vibe.” As a little girl, I’d entertained myself by designing layouts of farm properties, and though my interest in maintaining a lot of animals has entirely evaporated, I would still love to design a small, modern home from the ground up, though the dream is nothing in comparison to this present work of helping build, according to the patterns of the Creator Himself, the single most beautiful spiritual temple that will ever exist — the church of Christ. 

Mark inquired of the concierge the likelihood of our van being towed from the parking lot during worship, while I photographed the picture of their sign in the lobby of the hotel. When he returned with the news that parking was free and secure, I recalled a conversation we had had in our early twenties when I first heard of little house churches. Among the various meeting places of the early Christians in the Bible, there were also home churches, after all.  It seems quite advantageous to not waste any of the treasury on the expenses of purchasing and maintaining a church building. In addition, part of me is drawn to the simplicity and intimate feeling of a tiny church family meeting in a cozy home and spending long Sunday afternoons together conversing over potluck lunches. “You do realize that the congregations that purchased church buildings decades ago presently own buildings that are worth far more now than they ever invested in them, including interest, right? The amount to even rent a place like they own now, would no longer be affordable if a church is just getting started.” Oh. Good point. And good stewardship with a lot of forethought. Now those groups that have their buildings paid off and don’t have rent to pay, can use the funds to help support both their own preachers and in some cases, other preachers as well. 

There appear to be as many advantages to all the options of where a congregation can meet as there are variables for a congregation’s situation. What a blessing that our God-given autonomy frees each church family to figure out what works best for them. Meeting in a busy, rented, public place, as this congregation in Athens, Georgia does, has the obvious advantage of the increased likelihood of someone who may not even be looking for restored New Testament Christianity, to stumble upon it providentially because of a sign in a lobby and some free time on a Sunday morning. It goes without saying that just one such saved soul is worth worlds more than the value of any church building (Matthew 16:26)

This new church family had been meeting for only three months at the time of our visit. We had heard about the group from a friend who was considering moving his family to Athens to help them with this new work, a friend we were also helping to find financial support for this effort, so it was great to meet many of the members who would benefit, should we be able to find other congregations who could help them finance their preacher.

 I had a good conversation with Lisa Reaves who told me about their great efforts to spread truth, especially around the university campus and how the pandemic had created challenges around that effort.  

We were invited to lunch with three other couples and everyone stayed to chat long after I’d finished the big salad I’d been craving. We chatted awhile on the lighter topics of  traveling, personality types, our Airstream van, and such,and then I inquired of them what they loved and appreciated most about their local church family. They all agreed — it was their unity and mutual enthusiasm for spreading truth and the way when one brother or sister had a creative idea around this goal, all the others supported it by participating in the idea. This congregation definitely had an energy, focus, and allegiance to truth that makes it easy to envision the success they deeply desire in being a bright light in this college town.  We look forward to more time together and watching their progress as they grow.

By the end of our lunch together, they invited Mark to speak for them when we pass through again in the spring after the risk of driving our house around on icy roads has abated. We said our warm goodbyes and started driving southeast through heavy rain toward a stormy KOA campground in Charleston, South Carolina.

University church of Christ
7920 Macon Hwy, Suite B
Watkinsville, GA 30677