FYI: Churches in Virginia are required to have a Fire Prevention Code Permit to operate. In order to get one, a fee has to be paid, and an annual inspection by a county Fire Marshall has to be passed. Pastoring a congregation whose building dates back to 1946 brings fabulous opportunities at each of these ‘tests’. Exit lights know when the inspection is about to occur, and so, they blow out just before the Fire Marshall arrives. We just had our fire extinguishers tested, and the one in the most obvious location was missed. They have to have a current year inspection. The good news is that exit lights were quickly replaced, and decades of maintenance have made our building without any issues. We passed the test.
Without these tests, I am not sure if human nature would ensure our congregation worships in a safe building. With these tests, I don’t have to memorize the fire prevention code book, and if the building doesn’t pass the test, we are given time to fix the issues. Fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, fire proof doors, exit lights, kitchen stove hood operational, exit doors operational, etc, etc. etc. is all good. A big plus is I get to meet and fellowship with a Fire Marshall every year. I have made good friends, and today was another blessing of another friendship, and I got to meet a trainee, who was tagging along with an old timer in the system. (Who, by the way, is leaving for his 31st mission trip and has helped build over 150 congregational buildings to worship in.)(He is very strict on churches, because of his love for the Lord and the Lord’s people.)
Some aspects of government can be a bit much, and I have past issues with one pretty arrogant Fire Marshal (another story), but in general, it is a positive experience to be ‘tested’ every year. Last year was the worst, for its timing was in the midst of the worst moments of chemotherapy, but even then, the result of the test was good for the congregation.
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.