The Building With The Biggest Doors (A Parable For The Church)


One day, a boy was walking through the town with his father, just as they did every Sunday morning.

He so enjoyed their walks.

The boy held his father’s hand as they traveled from street to street, taking in every color, every sound, every scent of the new day.

As they walked together, the boy loved to look at the people as they passed by; so very different, so not at all the same.

They were beautiful and sweet and strange and sometimes even scary.

Whenever they happened upon someone, whether the boy thought they were beautiful or sweet or strange or scary, his father would always look them in the eyes, smile and say something nice to them.

Sometimes the people would smile back.
Sometimes they look surprised.
Sometimes they looked away quickly.

And on this particular morning, the boy finally turned to his father and asked, “Why do you do that, Father? Why do you greet everyone in the street with a smile and something nice to say?”

Everyone needs to be seen” his father told him, “to be seen and to know that they matter.”

This pleased the boy. He thought that sounded very nice. He secretly wondered whether people thought he was beautiful or sweet or strange or scary.

That day, as they passed row after row of buildings that all looked rather the same, they came across one that was quite different from all the others.

It stood out because its doors were much bigger than the doors on the other buildings in the town; so big in fact, that they reached from the ground, far higher than the boy could even see, and so wide that their hinges on either side weren’t even visible to the left and to the right.

“What is this place, Father?”, the boy asked, still marveling at the great doors stretching into the clouds.

The father replied, “This, my son, is The Church That Will Be.”

The boy looked again to the strange building and wondered out loud, “Why are its doors so big?”

He smiled at his son and said, “The Church That Will Be, must be the building with the biggest doors, because it needs enough space to welcome the whole world. It’s designed so that all people can come in and feel at home; all the beautiful and sweet and strange and yes, even the scary people.

So it needs doors big enough for the world to enter.”

“In fact”, he said, “if you look closely, you will find that every person you meet, deep down is equally beautiful and sweet and strange and scary. The Church That Will Be is a place for all of them.”

As he listened to his father speak, the boy’s eyes grew wide and his heart began to beat faster and faster, “Let’s go in!”, he shouted excitedly. “Better still, let’s open these great big doors, and tell all the beautiful, sweet, strange, and scary people passing by that they are welcome and to come inside and we’ll all have a party.”

“That sounds wonderful son, but we can’t do that quite yet,” the father said. “This is The Church That Will Be. It is not yet finished. It is not altogether ready.”

The boy felt a sadness in his heart, upon hearing his father’s words. He was so looking forward to seeing those massive doors swing open, and to telling everyone that passed by that they were welcome to come in, just as they were; beautiful and sweet and strange and scary.

“When will The Church That Will Be, be ready?” the boy asked.

“I’m not sure”, his father answered. “I was hoping it would be ready long ago. It’s been taking much longer than I’d like.”

They continued walking together.

As they passed more and more rows of buildings that all looked rather the same, they came across another that was quite different, too. Only this one had doors much smaller than all the rest; oddly small, in fact. Its tiny doors were heavily bolted and locked, with chains wrapped all around.

A very serious looking man, stood in front of the building, guarding the small doors and nearly blocking them from view.

As they stepped closer, the boy noticed a fancy sign on the small doors that read: BEAUTIFUL AND SWEET PEOPLE ARE WELCOME HERE. STRANGE AND SCARY PEOPLE ARE NOT.

The boy once again felt sadness in his heart. He wondered how they decided who was beautiful and sweet, and who was strange and scary.

He felt bad for those chosen as strange and scary people, the boys and girls who might walk up to this building, read the sign, see the very serious looking man and the small bolted and locked doors, and know they are not welcomed there.

He worried they would never feel seen and never know that they mattered. 

“Father, the boy asked, “what is this building with the fancy sign and the serious-faced man and the very small, locked, guarded doors?”

The father looked at the boy sadly, and said, “This, my son? This building, with the fancy sign and the serious-faced man and the small, bolted and locked and guarded doors?

This is The Church That Is.” 

That day, the boy decided that he was going to become a builder.

He looked at his father and said, “The Church That Is, isn’t good enough. Its doors are not at all big enough. I’m going back to help build The Church That Will Be.

We’re going to finish that building with the biggest doors, and then we’re going to swing them wide open and tell all the people that pass by; all the equally beautiful, and sweet, and strange, and scary people, that they’re all welcome!”

The boy’s father looked and him, smiled a smile as wide as those doors and said, “My son, I can’t wait to see it.”

0 thoughts on “The Building With The Biggest Doors (A Parable For The Church)

  1. O-o-h-h-h-h John. Are you ever gonna catch the flack on this one!!! They are going to Matthew 7:14 roast you alive. Here is the preview.

    That’s just what I would expect of an apostate like you John. Matthew 7:14 says that the broad doors are where all the Hell-bound people go in. The surest sign that you are a servant of Satan is that you want all men to go through your wide doors and straight to Hell rather than through the small door that leads to eternal life. Shame on you.

    But of course—you probably knew that when you were writing this—probably with your tongue in cheek. Where exactly are you headed with this—beyond the simplistic stated here? Real truth is rarely so simple.

  2. This reminds me so much of Jesus’ parable in Luke 14 of the great banquet filled with “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.”

  3. Jesus Said:

    Enter by the NARROW gate; for wide [is] the gate and broad [is] the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because NARROW [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. ~ Mat 7:13-15 NKJV

    • Unfortunately Rich, Jesus was speaking about himself there and about what he was offering, not about the Church.

      There is nothing here to argue against an open and welcoming ministry to all people, which the post is speaking about.

      Just because Jesus uses the words “wide” and “narrow” doesn’t necessarily mean it has any bearing on the topic at hand.

      Don’t be so hasty to refute something, that you ignore context of your response. That’s a bad way to use the Bible.

      • Respectfully that’s not entirely correct, Jesus was not speaking of himself. Verses 13 through 28 are a post script to the Sermon on the Mount (chp 5,6,7) where Jesus issues a series of warnings and a challenge to the disciples. As you know, many people call themselves Christians, but they don’t follow Christs teachings 😉

        I stand with you and am in total agreement that the gates should be swung wide for all who seek the Lord, as you put it, build BIG OPEN doors. That said, realize that not everybody is going to accept the Words of Jesus. Like the Rich Young Ruler, many will walk away because they will not give up their “pet” sin.

        The way to Heaven is indeed narrow and we have to submit to Gods Word…. and Gods word is very clear on sexual immorality. Invite all, but don’t compromise in moral law; we can’t condone sin. 1 Cor 5 is pretty straight forward on this issue. If you recall, Paul wanted wanted that activity out of the Church.

    • Rich, I agree with John that the narrow gate is Jesus which, unfortunately again, I believe many Christian are entering that wide gate, lead by false prophets in sheep’s clothing. I was in the ministry for 16 years and was shocked what I witnessed Pastor’s doing with the peoples tithes. Feeding the poor or taking care of the widows was but a very small part of the budget, but built bigger buildings, better video and audio sound systems, marketing to grow their churches, stores selling merchandise in the foyer, with many signs and wonders, etc.

      Consider Luke 13:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because MANY, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Could this MANY be the one’s that Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22″Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ These MANY are Christians. Atheists, Muslims, Buddhist, etc. do not performed many signs and wonders in the name of Jesus – and when you see MANY in the bible, it pretty much means the majority.

      But, there is GOOD NEWS (gospel). It is important not to read a single scripture to capture knowledge on the sum of Gods Word, and it is important to understand word meanings from Ancient Hebrew (concrete) and Greek (abstract), because it is impossible to translate from one language to another without having understanding lost in translation. Plus the bible is a great mystery with every story having a parable meaning.

      e.g. Destruction (Greek: apollumi) Death and destruction, are thought by most Christians to refer to an eternal hell of suffering or to a state of annihilation. Thus, they are understood to be a permanent state. I think if we closely compare Scripture with Scripture, line upon line, we will see this falls short of what God is all about. Even in death and destruction, God will not be defeated. His promises to restore all (Ac. 3:21; 2Co. 5:19; Ep. 1:10; Col. 1:19-21), and will come to pass in their appointed times, each in his own order (Ep. 1:9-11; 1Ti. 2:6). In An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words regarding apollumi, W. E. Vine stated: “The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well being…”

      God is our Heavenly Father and as a Father, he parentally corrects EVERYONE who does not follow in the mind of Christ. The intention of destruction is to burn up all the dross so we can become as pure gold – as is why we should consider it all joy when we face trials knowing it has a purpose to purify us, as though escaping through a fire.

  4. I love this story and got a smile out of your comment, Dover…made me smile and knew you were right! I get up everyday looking for a new post from John and then I look for Dover’s comments. You are making the world a brighter place. Thank you!

  5. Until Jesus returns, I am fairly confident ‘The Church that Will Be’ will always be ‘The Church that Is.’

    Churches are and always will be full of sinful people–people who love, but love imperfectly. People who are kind, but not all the time. People who are selfless, but who have moments of pride. People who give generously, but not as much as they could. People who get made at each other and at God sometimes, even though they know better. People who want to build a different kind of church because the one Jesus is building on this earth doesn’t fit their personal vision of what a church should be.

    Perhaps instead of trying to build a ‘Church That Will Be,’ the boy could accept the serious man standing at the ‘Church That is,’ just as he accepts the sweet and beautiful and scary and strange people he has met so far on his journey. Chances are the individuals in the building behind the serious man are also sweet and beautiful and scary and strange. Chances are the serious man is also sweet and beautiful and scary and strange.

    Doesn’t this describe us all–broken sinners caught between our bad selves and our best selves, and always in need of the grace of a Saviour?

    • Not quite Jill. Let me rephrase what you said:

      “Perhaps instead of trying to build a ‘Church That Will Be,” Martin Luther could accept the Corrupt Pope standing at the ‘Church That is,’ just as he accepts the sweet and beautiful and scary and strange people he has met so far on his journey. Chances are the individuals in the building behind the serious man are also sweet and beautiful and scary and strange. Chances are the Corrupt Pope is also sweet and beautiful and scary and strange.”

      The little boy’s notion that people are “sweet and beautiful and scary and strange” is the kind of notion one would expect from a child—indeed all children—who see all of their surroundings as being mysterious and in explicable. Of course, we know that many of the little boys impressions are from unfamiliarity with the peoples he sees on the sidewalk—simply because he does not know each one of the people he encounters personally enough to know they are not scary or strange.

      However, most kids are really, really good at spotting a really for real “mean person.” The guy in front of the narrow door is really messed up and men-spirited—and the kid knows it. The man in front of the chained door exudes it, and the people inside the church really are scary and strange because the man out front has led them to be being scary and strange.

      Jill, I remain convinced that the universal church has “just entered” a time of reform as it did in the time of Martin Luther (A.D. 1517). The small door with the locks and chains is symbolic of the small people who administer and attend Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches. These are people who have perverted the gospel of Jesus Christ and used this perversion as an engine to create pain, hurt, and evil on the Earth—people who have come to chain people into bondage rather than truly love them and set them free as Jesus came to do.

      When I use the word “pervert,” I know that you have no idea what I am talking about. You shake your head and say, “I just do not know or see how that could possibly be.” The reason is because Satan has blinded you just like he has most of the other people at these churches that so badly need reform. Please read these two items—and if you still cannot see—then you have perhaps gone beyond the point of no return—although I pray not. One is an on-line newspaper article, and the other is a series of blog posts by my Christian friend April on the deep and abiding evil of so-called “Christian Counseling/Therapy” that has arisen in Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches:

      Please read and try to understand April’s last 10 posts. Are you aware that fundie Christian colleges today teach and counsel that if you are beaten up and raped by a man, it is all your fault and all your sin that caused it? Read April’s posts and you will see the tight grip that Satan has on these churches.

      Finally, you might suppose that this thing I am calling “reform the church” is an evil sign of the end times. No, it is just Jesus cleaning house. Jesus knows how to clean house—and He will—and places like Pensacola Christian College are going to get cleaned with fire hoses and chlorine bleach.

  6. Do some of you not have anything better to do than to debate this online? This church ill come when Jesus comes, and not before. We can blame Eve for this. In the meantime, we live each day showing His love to all.

    • Seriously? We all have different reasons for debating anything online. Why do you ask?

      Do you mean blaming Eve, metaphorically? I don’t believe she was a real person.

      Yes, we should show his love to all which would include refraining from condescending questions.

    • This is funny, Jane. But, concerning blaming Eve – my thoughts after researching scripture a long time (A theme that runs through) is about when the head is sick the whole body suffers. Meaning (to me) if a CEO (the head of a corporation) is weak/sick and has no guidance, morals or keeping his staff upright – the whole company becomes weak and/or makes mistakes. Same with a Pastor. If he doesn’t provide good leadership, the whole congregation could run amuck. Same as parents who let their kids do whatever without guidance….etc. Adam was Eve’s authority or head and was right beside her when she sinned, but said nothing. Eve even questioned the serpent before sinning, Adam did not. But, taking of the fruit was not the 1st sin. Eve (I believe both of them) had the sin of 1 John 2:16 – “For everything in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–comes not from the Father but from the world.” As Eve saw (before taking the fruit or believing the lie) the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.

      The above were my thoughts years ago. My beliefs can change daily as God reveals so many layers to His word. My thoughts today are: I don’t believe the Garden fall of man was a mistake, but destined by God so that He can fulfill the scripture in Romans 11:32 “For God has consigned ALL to disobedience, that He may have mercy on ALL.” which also fulfills 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ ALL will be made alive.”

      Concerning having nothing better to do than to debate these issues online. Online is the only place we can debate with freedom. Try debating anything discussed here with a pastor (or a religious person) and you will get shot down with his/their absolute understanding of scripture not coming from a position of love and offering to search it out with you. No one has absolute understanding (not even everyone here) until we see Him face to face – but, I believe God wants us to question and search for truth as seen in Proverbs 25:2 “The honour of God is to hide a thing, And the honour of kings to search out a matter.” That tells us right there that scripture cannot be just read and understood or just listened to from the pulpit and have understanding. God has a purpose in bringing ALL to Christ. Revealing himself to a few(chosen/elect) and blinds many(called) as seen through out Christ’s and the apostle writings . I believe it is for the reason of sharing in His glory (1st fruit and/or resurrection indicating that more is to come) to bring everything back in unity as said in Ephesians 1 (read the whole chapter): 7 – 10 “In him (Jesus)we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s GRACE that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the MYSTERY of His will according to his GOOD PLEASURE, which He purposed (since Adam and Eve) in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to ALL things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” This is the gospel, the GOOD NEWS. It speaks of God’s Good Pleasure to do this. I can’t imagine it being His GOOD PLEASURE to send 2/3 of humanity to an unending eternal punishment in hell. I could not serve a god like that. All throughout the new testament parables, they speak of someone going to prison (hell) UNTIL they pay every penny of their debt(sin) and then released. (A whole different long story of understanding what eternal, eternity and forever mean)

      So, if you will, allow us to rant, to question and to search until we see Him face to face – in which I believe I have experienced Him face to face and few times in my my life, and in a twinkling of an eye – it changed me instantly, melting years of bitterness, etc. In the total history of the bible, the traditions of man has messed up much, as seen in the Pharisees – the most biblically knowledgable people of that day, but couldn’t see the Son of God standing right in front of them. I don’t want to be like them – and you never know, Jesus could have already come back – but we can’t see it – like the Pharisees because they had it in their understanding that it would happen a certain way. I think Christianity is so obsessed with leaving this planet, being raptured, etc., they don’t know how (as said in the Lord’s Prayer) to act and pray, “They kingdom come and will be done on EARTH and it is in HEAVEN.

  7. This is definitely a very beautiful piece of writing, something that I, myself aim for when I write. It’s the perfect mixture of simplicity and truth… Something that the world needs more of.

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