The story of Babel is a cautionary tale. The lesson is that being self-aggrandizing never ends well. When our motives are to defy God and make a name for ourselves, God finds ways to bring us back down to earth. Yet, in the face of misguided use of human imagination, God makes a stunning observation about that big tower. When people come together around a common cause and speak the same language, “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:6).
We can put this ability to good use. Across America, withering little churches, even in the same branches of Christianity, are dying on the vine. Many are less than a gallon of gas away from each other. What if they consolidated their efforts around a bigger vision by working together? They could have more impact on their communities with the gospel. Antique shops and funky diners can survive as quaint, out-of-the-way places, but not many churches can.
Old buildings weren’t designed to accommodate modern technology and a variety of activities. Limited staff can’t provide adequate pastoral care to struggling people from different generations. The calendar of events doesn’t appeal to people who don’t enjoy eating green bean casserole. If there are visitors, they don’t want to sit in conspicuous seats in the very front. Loyal members are very dedicated. Maybe we could also be more efficient with limited resources. We don’t want to commit the sin of Babel on a small scale.