Front or Back Porch?

We were driving back home last night after dinner in the home of some friends, and I began to notice a trend.

The road home goes behind several neighborhoods where you see just the backs of a lot of homes. We had gorgeous weather last night, and we were driving home after dark. Probably 2/3rds of the homes we passed had back porches, and a good majority of those back porches were lit up; people were outside enjoying the evening.

Then we turned down our street and I realized how dark the street seemed. Those who had front porches weren't sitting out there - they were on their back porch, if they were outside at all.

I've lamented before that Kari and I don't have a front porch. Our next house will.

But last night, it struck me how many of our churches have followed the culture. Our culture is full of back porch churches: comfortable and welcoming, but built primarily for the comfort and privacy/protection of the people who occupy the house.

People who sit on front porches aren't primarily concerned with being protected from the people "out there." I'd rather be a part of a front porch church. The front porch is still built primarily for the people who live in the house, but with a different focus. Rather than privacy, the front porch allows accessibility. The front porch allows them to be seen and approachable. It gives a context for conversation, and an easy location for inviting others to be a part of the family.


lisa said...

good one. I've noticed this too, and it makes me sad. The kids and I hang out in the front yard a lot. Just sitting in the grass. We have a front porch, but we're more likely to be in the grass in front of the porch. Eventually, I want to get a movie projector and watch a movie once a week after dark out on the garage door to see who drops by to join us. :)