My late father-in-law had a saying that has become an oft-quoted phrase in our house concerning mobile transport: ‘It’s not all driving, you know!’ This word of wisdom was passed on to my husband when he started to learn to drive and he kept repeating this to our son when he first purchased a motor bike just over a year ago. Maintenance and regular checks are essential to keeping a vehicle on the road. The driving part may be pleasurable, but the unseen maintenance must be carried out if the driving is to continue.
In a similar vein, owning a building is not all about the comfort and security the building brings! I am grateful for the roof over my head, but there is always something to be done in a home. I have spent this week reluctantly decorating my living-room: it’s not a job I enjoy, especially moving all the ‘stuff’ in order to have access to the walls and skirting-boards and then moving it all back again into place. But it needs to be done. The fabric of a house constantly needs attention or ‘wear and tear’ can erode our comfort and security.
The church building also needs ongoing maintenance and development. We are in the process of having new boilers fitted in the children’s room which will serve one half of the building. The old boiler was fitted over twenty years ago and has reached the end of its life, so there has been messy work going on in the children’s room over the past week or so (with the prospect of more work in summer as new radiators will be fitted to the community room.) Then, this week, we have had sound reduction panels fitted to the ceiling in the community room to reduce the noise levels in that room.
We are grateful that this work needed doing, for it is a testimony to the success of our outreach groups: the Mums ‘n’ Toddlers on a Friday morning and the youth group on a Monday evening are both well attended groups, with noisy children (whose piercing shouts were often painful to hear because of the high frequencies!) We are also grateful for God’s provision through the generosity of His people and the success of hiring out the community room. When we first moved into St Mark’s in February 2010, one of our major concerns was how we would afford the upkeep of the building and the ongoing maintenance and running costs. We were all aware that ‘it’s not all buying, you know!’ But just as we were convinced that God wanted us to buy the building, we were convinced that He would enable us to meet all the maintenance and running costs and this has proved to be the case.
The record of maintenance done in the building since opening in 2010 is staggering:
1) new windows in both main rooms
2) new blinds fitted
3) new boilers
4) new flooring in the toilets and kitchen
5) new kitchen units and cooker
6) re-plastering of many parts of the building
7) new radiators in the worship room
… and probably a host of other things I’ve forgotten!
God has provided for all of the above and continues to help us in every practical way imaginable. We are a very thankful people!