Churches today can be found in the most astonishing places. Over the years I have read of a de-commissioned passenger aircraft now utilised as a church. Some use tents, some use outdoor chapels in the bush, some use large houses or hotels / motels.
I discovered a few years ago an aircraft carrier was for sale and what a church structure that would make.
Britain had put aircraft carrier Ark Royal, the former flagship of the Royal Navy, up for sale on a military auction website www.edisposals.com.
It was decommissioned as part of defence spending cuts. The vessel played a crucial role in the NATO campaign during the conflict in Bosnia and was also involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It was the fifth British ship to carry the name Ark Royal. The first was built for Sir Walter Raleigh and became the flagship of the English fleet, seeing action during the Spanish Armada campaign of 1588.
Anyone interested in purchasing this ship, which was launched by Queen Elizabeth in 1981, were required to submit their proposals for the ship to the British MoD (Ministry of Defence) for approval.
"We need to be assured of the viability of the person or organisation...including how they intend to store, maintain and dispose of the ship, before the sale can be agreed," spokesman Tim Foreman told Reuters.
I gave this some thought as to how a bold minister might do something as extreme as this and what a champion idea it would be. Even the name has positive Biblical connotations and I have come up with these advantages:
- There would be ample car parking space.
- There could be open air or indoor worship.
- The PA system is already functioning in fact, it is so efficient the Pastor could talk to any one of the 3000 rooms, or any or all of them together.
- There is a plethora of office space and the Pastor's office on the Bridge would have 360 degree-surround views.
- There would be any number of facilities for the various functionaries of the church - tiny tots, play group, junior youth, teen youth, senior youth, singles and twenties bible study group, young married, coffee shop, men's and women's fellowships, senior citizens.
- The aircraft carrier is so vast every one of the mid-week home groups could move on board and into their own space and more than likely one group wouldn't see any of the other groups.
- For church discipline, the brig (on-board jail) is in good working order.
- There could be money-spinners in the hotel business: the stateroom could be hired out as a suite for a honeymoon with a difference; there could be a more modestly-priced motel section; and for those seeking some solitude (for praying maybe, or writing a novel), they have a self-contained cabin in any one of the anti-aircraft gun pits.
Personally, I'd love it! I imagine there would have so many people wanting to experience this 'un-Earthly' experience for church or mid-week coffee, that the many potential open doors of ministry opportunity would be overwhelmingly fantabulous ! And the Play Group, the kids would love it.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html