Athens church wants community to know the point of its steeple

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ATHENS—Practically speaking, First Baptist Church in Athens recently erected a new steeple to fix a leak the same age as the church’s 54-year-old cupola. But the church also saw it as a teachable moment to re-envision how it presents itself to its neighbors.

athens steeple workers425First Baptist Church in Athens erected its new steeple Oct. 21. Pastor Kyle Henderson used it as an opportunity to teach the church and community the point of the steeple. (Photo / Steve Gowan)Pastor Kyle Henderson wanted his congregation and community to understand the point of the steeple. So, he outlined its components and explained each.

• The cross. Mounted atop the peak of the steeple, it represents Jesus. Rolled up inside it is a Scripture: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12.32). A document also describes the steeple’s meaning, signed by 100 church members who were there to witness the steeple-raising.

The spire. It represents God the Father, points up toward and holds up the cross, and houses the Scripture, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul” (Psalm 25:1).

The cupola. With slotted vents that allow the steeple to breathe, it represents the Holy Spirit.  Inscribed in it are these verses: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:7-8). 

• The connector. It connects the two main parts of the steeple and represents the church body connecting to God. In it is written, “For Christ holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it” (Colossians 2:19).

The lantern. Inside frosted windows is a light that will shine out to the city. The lantern represents the Bible as the guide for God’s people. Written inside is this verse: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105)

The clock. It represents a moment in time and symbolizes every moment matters. Inscribed in it is a New Testament passage: “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

 • The base. It represents the foundational concept of grace. God’s grace is the church’s message to its city. “There is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:5-6).

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