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Two More Church Building Trends: Security and Green Church Design

Over the past several weeks we have shared some of the interesting current trends in church design and construction from a recent i3 webinar.

The webinar covered many more trends (which is why we always suggest signing up for our webinar series), but there are still two we want to share before concluding this series: One is a common trend that impacts all areas of a church building; the other is commonly requested but seldom included in completed church buildings—for reasons that we will explain.

Keeping Your Church Building Secure

The first trend is a desire to integrate more security features into today’s church designs. This has become increasingly common and reflects the unfortunate realities in America today. Church leaders want to do all they can to protect young and old, guests and members, as they worship and learn.

The highest priority usually involves children’s areas. The chance that you have a parent in a custody battle come try and take a child they don’t have custody over is the most common risk a church will face.  Check-in counters are common, along with hard barriers and one-way glass in classroom windows so parents and staff can see what is happening in any room.

We are also now installing areas of protection, similar to those used in public buildings, though on a smaller scale. This includes volunteers at check-in desks and lock-down doors behind the check-in area. Even classroom doors can be designed with security in mind, as another layer of defense.

Other areas of church buildings are receiving security upgrades. We are installing more cameras, for example, along with a central control room for monitoring, usually by dedicated staff during the week and by volunteers on weekends. Cameras can be a deterrent for someone who sees them, however a camera mainly shows you what happened more so than keeping someone out.

Office areas are getting upgraded with emergency exits, and we are even beginning to install safe rooms in some churches. Safe rooms are hardened enclosures inside a church building where people can lock themselves inside during an emergency until help can arrive. In addition, some church designs are now including medical rooms, placed close to both public spaces and an exterior door for easy access to an ambulance.

Requesting Green Church Design Options

The other trend we’re seeing is more church leaders requesting green design options for their church building. Sometimes this is driven by a desire for energy efficiency, other times it’s due to environmental sensitivity. We receive requests most frequently for upgrades in heating and cooling systems, and insulation. Sometimes church leaders are also interested in geothermal HVAC systems or efficient solar power lighting.

The issue with each of these options is that they require a significant up-front investment. While increases in energy efficiency for factories or office buildings may pay that off in five or ten years, it would take 15 to 20 years for a church to get paid back because the hours of operation are much different. Churches usually find that their budget just won’t allow for that initial investment on top of the primary expenses involved with purchasing new property, constructing a new church building, and relocating from their previous location.

Think of it this way: When you’re planning a church building from scratch and have the option of either installing geothermal heat or having an extra 200 seats in the auditorium, the extra seats usually win out. As a result, while green design solutions may be frequently requested, they’re not commonly implemented in the final church design.

There are many products that are environmentally friendly, that are affordable, and that are used every day in church buildings. The most common are siding, flooring, and even some light fixtures and HVAC controls.

Learning More: A Trend That Never Goes Out of Style

We hope this series of church building trends has been helpful. Our goal with these posts, and with our free i3 webinars, is to provide valuable information for your own church renovation and construction projects.

We encourage you to register today for our upcoming free webinars—just visit our home page to sign up. And don’t hesitate to contact us at 800-625-6448 with any questions you may have.

By | 2018-03-13T16:37:33+00:00 March 13th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

What Is Third Place Church Design?

In recent posts we’ve shared a variety of church building trends that are pretty straightforward and easily understood. Multi-use, remodeling and technology integration are a few of the church design trends church leaders find easy to communicate to members. In this post, we’re looking at a trend that’s name is a little less clear, but still one that many churches are looking to embrace: third place design.

What is “Third Place” Design?

The “third place” concept first arose in conversations about community building. The idea is that people need a third place to gather, beyond the first (home) and second (work or school) places where we spend most of our time. In recent years, church leaders have recognized that the church building can serve as this kind of a community gathering space. They realize that providing a gathering place is a natural way to get people into a church building and a great catalyst for inserting church into the culture.

A word of caution before we talk about specifics: This trend can require a large investment in terms of staff, facilities, and upkeep. Even large churches which take on these projects sometimes do not break even. Instead, they trust that the benefits in bringing people into their church building are worth the investment in the community. This can be a big commitment and therefore should be considered carefully and thoroughly before you commit.

Many Types of Third Place Church Building Options

Churches are investing in all sorts of third place features beyond the common ones we’ll focus on in a moment. Some churches target families with young children through indoor and outdoor play lands, full-service restaurants and birthday parties. Others target youth and young adults with rock climbing, skateboard parks, and athletic fields. Some target active adults with recreational facilities and gyms with weight rooms, cardio, and other kinds of fitness centers. Others reach out to the community with medical and family wellness centers, including exam rooms with community nurses on staff. Some churches reach out to people of all ages with walking paths and bookstores.

Third Place Church Design Key 1: Community Spaces

In addition to these varied ways, there are two approaches that are so common that we think of them as key elements of this trend. The first is community spaces.

Once upon a time, the foyer of a church building was simply the place to shed your coat and pick up a worship flyer. Those foyers were quite small, about one-third of the square footage of the worship space it serviced.

Today, that gathering space or foyer is much larger, ranging from half the size of the worship space to the same size as the auditorium. The reason for this is twofold. The first is to give your church community a comfortable, open place to greet guests and have conversations. The second is to have a space large enough to hold third place events that are open to the entire community.

Third Place Church Design Key 2: Cafés

Going along with the gathering space, cafés are very common in a church building today. They are intentional relationship areas, even if your church design isn’t fully intended to be a third place. If you want people in your church building on Sundays, some kind of café can be a very good draw. Some are full-service coffee bars, including name-brand coffee chains. These can be expensive and difficult to staff, so again, the investment in a full-service café is a big decision.

Other times, churches both small and large decide instead to integrate serving counters for free brewed coffee into their church design. These are tables or areas where free coffee pods and machines are set out for anyone to help themselves.

The bottom line with third place church design is the same as with any other trend: you must decide which trends will work for your church’s vision. To learn more about what we’re seeing in church design today, be sure to sign up for our free i3 webinar series.

By | 2018-03-06T10:43:40+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Church Design Trend: Integrating Technology into Your Church Building

As we continue our series on trends in church design, one macro trend we can’t ignore is the influence of technology. It wasn’t too long ago that technology was added as a kind of afterthought in church design.

Today, however, it is critically important to consider carefully the various types of technology you may want to integrate into the church building itself. For one, doing so allows you to seamlessly connect with younger guests who expect technology to be part of every aspect of their lives—including worship.

Wiring Technology into Your Church Design

These days technology is integrated into church buildings from the ground up. This means considering, from the very beginning, what kinds of technology you want in your church design.

For example: What types of video and lighting should be installed in each space? We can wire every classroom, as well as your worship and gathering spaces. Also: How many screens do you need? Where do you want them?

The questions go far beyond worship: Do you want digital signage set-up throughout your church complex? Do you need interactive maps at entrances? How about ATM or debit machines—for café sales, giving kiosks, or other uses?

And there are the more obvious concerns: Will you have Wi-Fi available in every church building on campus? Just in your worship and gathering spaces? These have become basic considerations now.

Further questions arise when you think about how you will manage all this technology. Do you need a dedicated space for video control, online streaming and recording control, and video editing? How about audio and video recording studios and dedicated equipment rooms?

Reaching Beyond One Church Building

Another consideration with technology is its support of shared experiences. You can now have multi-campus, real-time broadcasting among different venues. This allows your pastor to preach to half a dozen different spaces at once.

With the right technology integrated into your church design, you can even allow worshippers to see other locations and share various types of worship experiences. After worship is over, you can use recordings for online worship and rebroadcasting to virtual worship venues.

Adding Apps for Maximum Engagement and Efficiency

Apps are another way technology is enriching today’s worship experience. Now you can deliver real-time service notes and ask for feedback, even inviting people to submit questions during the sermon. They might ask for clarification on a point raised or respond to a pastor’s query, which he or she can then stop and address. It allows the sermon to become more engaging, like a conversation.

Another way apps integrate with church design is in management of the building systems themselves. Modern energy management systems can control the HVAC for entire buildings from an app on your phone or an internet website. This allows you or your staff to check in with your church building from home or wherever you might be traveling—for instance, when a sudden winter storm blows through and you want to make sure your furnace is still functioning fine.

Make Technology Work for You

There’s no question that technology is transforming the modern church building. To learn what else is influencing today’s church building designs, sign up for our free i3 webinars. You’ll gain ideas, insights, and innovations to help you embrace these church design trends and use them to best share your vision. Simply visit our home page to register for upcoming webinars.

By | 2018-02-27T15:38:35+00:00 February 27th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Contradictory Church Building Trends: Dedicated and Traditional Church Design Options

As we continue our series highlighting church building trends, it’s apparent that some of the trends we’ve seen are contradictory of other trends — design directions that actually go against ones we have talked about earlier in this series.

While it may seem confusing to highlight church building trends that run counter to others, there’s a good reason for such a discussion—and it all comes back to your church’s particular vision for ministry, as you’ll see below.

Dedicated Worship Spaces

An earlier post in this series discussed the ongoing trend toward multi-use church design. Designing for flexibility is certainly a trend, but dedicated worship spaces are making a comeback—in specific instances.

One driver of this trend is the book, Simple Church, published in 2011. It professes a focus on a few ministries that a church does well in lieu of multiple ministries for everyone and guides church leaders to consider a more basic perspective on church design.

Dedicated church building spaces are most appropriate if your focus is on weekend worship and teaching only, cutting out extra activities and just focusing on doing weekend services well.

Traditional Church Design Resurgence

The second counter trend is toward a more traditional church design. This is a trend we have only seen arise over the few years.

For some time, church building designs have moved away from the traditional feel, and there are certainly church leaders who continue to ask us to construct church buildings with a clean, modern look and functionality. However, there are two cases where your church vision might lead you to embrace a traditional church design.

The first is if you are seeking to meet the expectations or desires of older communities. This target group includes older people who long for the “church of their youth.” They are drawn to church buildings that feel traditional and homey.

The second reason is if your church vision involves reaching unchurched millennials. Many of these younger adults are seeking a sense of history and a connection with the past. They are even finding that liturgical programs can meet their need for history and connection.

All of which means that if you are seeking to reach the oldest or youngest generations, a traditional church design might best meet your needs.

The Best Church Building for Every Generation

How should churches embrace these contradictory trends? If your church is expanding and your church vision is to minister the needs of every generation, you can decide to follow both these counter trends—along with another trend we’ve mentioned—and begin a multi-venue ministry.

On the one hand, construct or remodel a traditional church to attract the youngest and oldest generations in your community. On the other, host a modern worship service in a simple, contemporary church building that meets the needs of families.

Keep Ahead of the Curve

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 40-plus years of church design and construction, it’s that change is the only constant. We’re sure in the future, an entirely different group of trends will come along.

Meanwhile, you can learn what else we’re tracking in church building and design by signing up for our free i3 webinar series. Just visit our home page, scroll to the bottom, and register for upcoming webinars that interest you.

By | 2018-02-20T17:49:41+00:00 February 20th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Church Building Trends: Grow Your Community with Multiple Venues

In our previous post, we discussed the trend away from mega-sized church buildings, to smaller worship centers. Churches doing this can easily accommodate growth through a multiple-venue approach.

Multi-venue worship is itself a growing trend, providing a number of advantages that are well worth exploring in further detail.

Meeting Many Needs at Once

One important reason to grow your church through multiple venues is that you can have different types of worship going on at the same time. Remember, too, that this can be accomplished not only by using different venues on different sites, but also by building multiple venues at the same site.

To this end, we have been seeing more church leaders design a church building with multiple auditoriums. Such a facility enhances your options. For example, it can allow you to conduct services in different languages or use different styles of music in each worship center while using joint staff and volunteers in support places such as nurseries and children’s ministries.

Maximizing Church Building Flexibility

Another reason for having multiple venues is to create options for how the spaces are used. With more than one venue to work with, one area can, for example, become a dedicated youth center during the week, while another can be set aside as, say, a wedding chapel.

That points to another advantage as well. When you have a single large auditorium, that size can be too big for some purposes. A venue with less capacity can, instead, help ensure that a small wedding actually feels intimate and welcoming.

Church Designs That Keep an Intimate Feel

You may be asking yourself what size of a space works for more “intimate” gatherings. We’ve designed church building facilities in recent years that have multiple auditoriums seating about 500 people. With a well-planned church design, this size allows for that intimate feel on Sunday mornings, where everyone can see the speaker without the need for screens and image magnification.

More Multi-Venue Factors to Keep in Mind

There are other things to consider when developing a multi-venue ministry. First, branding is key. The look and feel of each worship center should reflect a common ministry vision from location to location. Social media should use similar, related logos, so that guests and members all know they’re part of the same broader community. That way, if people decide to worship in a different venue on any given Sunday, they will know they’re still worshiping in your church.

Multi-venue ministry also offers an excellent way to keep costs under control as your church community grows. You can begin by renting appropriate buildings in suitable locations, rather than committing to the expense of a new church design project before you are sure which venues will see the most growth. Then, when it’s clear which new venue has the most potential, you can invest in a church design that will meet the needs and vision of that new ministry location.

Find Out More

To learn more about church building trends and which factors you should keep in mind during the church design and construction process, join us for our free i3 webinars. Go to the bottom of our home page, and register. The webinars are live, interactive, and free. We look forward to hearing from you.

By | 2018-02-13T17:44:28+00:00 February 13th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

The Trend Away from Mega-Size Church Design Offers Flexibility

Recently we’ve been discussing church building trends. In our post about remodeling, we mentioned that church design has moved away from mega-sized buildings. This is another trend to consider.

Church leaders now prefer churches with less capacity. By this, we mean auditoriums or worship centers that seat between 1,000 and 1,500 people, rather than the 2,500-seat mega-church buildings being constructed in the early 2000s.

The reasons can very well prove useful when examining your own church’s construction and remodeling options in the future.

Why Downsize Your Church Design?

It’s important to say, right up front, that downsizing is not a pessimistic trend. Church leaders are simply recognizing how a non-mega-size church building is more flexible and can actually support church growth in a variety of important ways.

Here are the primary reasons why starting smaller can be a wise idea and promote good stewardship:

  • People, Energy, and Services – A reason to build with less capacity is that a church building can feel awkward and empty if it’s less than half full. Think about the energy that’s raised through powerful worship in an auditorium that is full to overflowing. If you put the same number of people in a worship center that is three times the size, suddenly they feel small, and the energy of worship decreases significantly.
  • Maintenance Costs – Another reason to keep your church design smaller is that a smaller building will cost you less. Maintenance costs run from $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot, so if you have a smaller church building footprint, you will have lower maintenance costs. It will also cost less when it’s time to replace finishing elements such as carpeting or the fabric on your chairs.
  • Church Building Costs – Naturally, the cost of a facility that serves 500 people can cost much less to build than a 2500 seat facility. As a result, you will have more funds available for other priorities. For example, you could invest a few extra dollars in furnishings and finishes, which would make your new—or newly remodeled—church building even more appealing to guests. If you grow beyond the capacity of your new auditorium, you can always add another service or a second venue – the most common way churches today grow.

The Church Building Sweet Spot

These days, it appears that the size sweet spot for a worship center auditorium is around 1,200 people. We don’t see many churches wanting to build one with seats 2,500 or more. Of course, if your current worship size is 400 people, even 1,200 would be too much.

This is why we always suggest you begin your church design phase by talking with a qualified builder or designer that’s experienced in church construction. These latest trends are quite clear to us, but for busy church leaders with so many other things to attend to, there can be an initial—but extremely useful—learning phase.

The next installment in this series on current church building trends will expand on something we’ve touched on above: multi-venue ministry. This information is based on one of our past i3 webinars; to participate in upcoming free webinars, we’ve made it easy: Simply visit the bottom of our website home page and register.

By | 2018-02-06T17:16:11+00:00 February 6th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

More Church Building Trends: Remodeling

The next trend in church design and construction we’re covering has been popular for some time: church remodels.

Remodeling an existing church building or other structure, rather than starting with a new design and building from scratch became popular with the recession in 2008. But, it is still going strong now.

Church Design Trends Before and After 2008

In the early 2000s, the economy was booming. Church leaders felt confident in their church’s financial stability and believed they could take on debt. Consequently, we constructed a lot of new mega-churches during those years. Some of them were built from scratch, while others expanded their building footprint on existing properties.

After the recession hit, many churches were no longer willing to take on such high debt levels. The primary reason the remodeling trend took off after 2008 is that it is generally less expensive to remodel an existing church building than it is to construct a new one. Churches today are also less interested in taking on larger construction projects (church designs with worship centers seating 2,500 people or more).

More Reasons for a Church Remodel

Fortunately, a well-thought-through remodeling project can improve your church design in a variety of ways. For instance, you can bring older buildings up to today’s standards, with everything from accessibility upgrades (such as elevator additions) and remodeled restrooms to new finishes that give old spaces new life. Upgrading the HVAC system can also bring efficiency benefits while making your church building more appealing to guests.

In addition, a church remodel is a good way to support new ministry offerings, with existing church building spaces being adapted for different uses. An older church school classroom can become a daycare or preschool, for example, or you can convert a chapel into a teen room, complete with a stage for musical performances and other events that attract neighborhood youth to your church.

Remodeling a New-to-You Church Building

A church remodel project needn’t be confined to your current church building either. With a thoughtful design, other types of buildings can be remodeled into appealing churches.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen more churches that are willing to relocate and remodel big box buildings such as retail stores, warehouses, movie theaters, and office buildings. The goal in such cases is not to make a big box building look like a traditional brick gable church. And that’s fine. If a less traditional building helps a church achieve its vision for ministry, these sorts of unconventional remodeling projects can be great options while also demonstrating good financial stewardship.

There are costs considerations associated with converting existing spaces into feasible church designs. Nontraditional buildings often require significant structural, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical modifications before they can become practical and effective church buildings. But if the cost to purchase the building is low enough, the total cost of the church remodel can still be less than what one would pay for a new church built from scratch.

Stay ahead of the trends

As you can see, trends are dependent on many factors beyond the walls of your church. To learn more about what’s driving church building trends today, register for our upcoming i3 webinars. They’re absolutely free—simply visit our website and sign up.

By | 2018-01-30T17:12:45+00:00 January 30th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Time Really Is Money with Church Building Construction

The adage “time is money” is particularly true in the construction industry, especially when it comes to rising costs. It’s easy to measure the opportunity and actual cost of not using your time productively when the price of church building materials and labor rise during a given period.

We recognize that it takes time and planning to create and execute a successful church design, so it’s very important to understand how construction inflation can impact your plans.

Inflation and the Church Building Process

Rising costs in construction are very real, with little indication of slowing. Already this year, the costs for concrete, insulation, steel, and membrane roofing have all increased. Not only that, but they are increasing at a faster rate than they have in the past few years. This inflation can have a significant impact on your budget and your new church building’s bottom line.

This is where the time factor is critical. It can be a long stretch between your first conversation about needing a new church building or expansion and the day you dedicate that new building. After all, it takes time for all the necessary steps to take place: developing a vision, drafting an appropriate church design, getting everyone in your church on board with the idea, raising funds for the building, securing a loan for the difference between the budget and your cash on hand, obtaining the various permits necessary, carrying out the construction project itself, then finishing it in style, addressing everything from carpeting and furniture to the landscaping.

It’s very common for the whole process to take three years. The costs at the start of the planning will certainly be lower than the costs at the end of construction.

Inflation and Church Building Costs

Let’s look at inflation over the last three-year period we have data on. According to Turner Construction Company, one of the largest contractors in the world, construction costs in America increased 4.92 percent in 2017. That follows an increase of 4.85 percent in 2016 and 4.44 percent in 2015. As a result, in just the past three years construction costs have increased 14.89 percent. (Yes, those numbers might not seem to add up, but this isn’t simple math. There’s a “compounding” effect in inflation, which raises those yearly percentages even more when you consider multiple years at one time.)

In real dollars, this means that if you were planning to build a million-dollar facility in 2015, you actually had to spend $1,148,900 to finish it in 2017. The actual numbers in your community will of course be affected by the pace of construction in your part of the country, but nevertheless we are seeing increases in construction costs everywhere.

What Does This Mean?

As the above example demonstrates, construction inflation can be substantial. If you’re having conversations in your church, or even just among church leaders, about how your church building is hampering your growth or not meeting your ministry needs, don’t delay. Building a church will take plenty of time, even if you don’t procrastinate, and some elements of the process—like inflation—will always be outside of your control.

Start planning now. Reach out to have a conversation with us and get the process started. The road ahead can take longer than you might anticipate, and construction inflation means that it could also cost more than you think.

By | 2018-01-23T17:15:04+00:00 January 23rd, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

More Church Building Trends: Designing for Multi-Use

We began our series on church building trends with what we consider to be foundational: establishing the vision of your church for ministry in your community.

If your church design isn’t created with that vision in mind, in the years ahead your church building could actually become a hindrance to your ministry rather than a benefit.

In this post, we focus on a VIP in the trends department: multi-use spaces.

The History of a Major Church Building Trend: Multi-Use

Some trends are certainly “micro,” being very specific in nature. Others are more “macro.” Multi-use church building spaces definitely fall into the big picture, macro category. In fact, multi-use spaces are everywhere.

They first became popular in the 1980s and 1990s, and we were in on this trend at the start. At first, multi-use was mostly about making your worship center also function as an athletics gymnasium for youth during the week; sometimes, it was also adapted for dining as well. The primary reasons behind this trend typically was church leaders’ desire to exercise good financial stewardship of their building, and/or the wish to see church building spaces used on more days than Sundays.

Looking back, those early multi-use spaces were pretty bland. Many of them really looked like the gymnasiums they were, which didn’t exactly make guests feel welcome for worship. Yes, those early multi-use spaces were effective, but they often weren’t very attractive.

Introducing Multi-Use 2.0

Over the past 10 years, multi-use church design has changed significantly, to the point where we’ve begun describing it as multi-use 2.0. Multi-use today is less often used for worship spaces and athletics, in part because athletics require a flat floor. Worship spaces with flat floors can be made to work for up to 1,500 seats, but anything beyond that and you begin to have sightline issues, as well as other church design problems.

More of today’s multi-use church building spaces are focused on fellowship, dining, training events, and performances. Platforms are often used, as they are much more amenable for multi-use, allowing for drama and live music.

In older multi use facilities, the platform design was usually too tall, giving a feeling that the congregation and worship leader or speaker were vastly separated. In the traditional sanctuary, the platforms were commonly divided into many levels making it a challenge to reorganize them for any other use. 

The key is to design your church platform to be flexible. A single level platform, built to the right height, can open up opportunities for new and different ministries and services.  If you need multiple heights and choir lofts, it can easily be accomplished with portable risers.

Baptisteries can be designed to be open or covered over for special events. This way limitations to worship themes or changing of platforms between multiple services can be easily achieved.

There are lots of ways a church building can be configured today so that church leaders get the most out of their church design. Multi-use chapels and smaller assembly spaces, ranging from 1/2 to 1/3 the size of the main worship center, are also becoming more popular. Even foyers are being designed to accommodate dining, weddings, and wedding receptions.

Multi-Use Church Design for Fast-Growing Churches

We’ve discovered there are certain situations in which multi-use configurations have become particularly common. The first is with fast-growing churches that need multiple types of uses but don’t yet have the money to build dedicated spaces for each type of activity.

Multi-use is also common when churches are moving onto a new property. Constructing a church building from scratch is more expensive than renovating an existing structure – there are the costs of purchasing the property, installing utilities and infrastructure, and so forth. This means church leaders usually look to maximize their stewardship by getting the most out of every part of their new church building—and that often means multi-use.

Learn More About Design Trends

As you can imagine, multi-use is almost infinitely variable. It’s exciting to partner with church leaders to determine the best church building configuration that will work for their vision.

We’ll cover more church design trends in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you would like to learn more about church building and design, look to our free i3 webinar series – simply visit our website and sign up.

By | 2018-01-16T17:35:42+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments

Church Design Trends: Start with your Vision

As an old year ends and a new one begins, it’s common to both reminisce and look forward. It’s a good time to think about trends, how things have changed and what’s in fashion now. This holds true for church design and building as well, so over the next several articles, we’ll take a look at what’s trending in our world to help you plan in yours.

Caveats as We Begin

Before we start, it’s important to note a few disclaimers about what we share. It’s never a good idea to simply copy what other churches are doing. The trends we share occur because churches are paying attention to what is specific and even unique about their situation. They’re considering their vision and the specific ministries they want to bring to their communities.

America is also a big country, with a lot of very different communities. For this reason, what’s trendy in one place could be considered out-of-date in another—and cutting edge or even heretical in yet another part of the country. So, a church building should be designed with attention to its context of Vision for ministering. Still, there is value in looking at what other churches are doing. Church design trends can expose you to ideas you might not have considered, or even affirm the desire to head in a different direction.

The Rapid Pace of Change in Church Design

This is an exciting time to be constructing church buildings. If you think back over time, you’ll realize that churches looked pretty much the same for over 150 years, leading up to the end of the 20th century. Most churches were brick gable buildings with long, narrow sanctuaries filled with pews. However, over the past 20–30 years, church design has diversified and become extremely customized. Some church buildings retain a traditional feel – others have taken on a very contemporary look. The shift in church design can be overwhelming when it’s time to construct a new church building, so we hope this overview of current trends will help.

Trend #1: Designing for Ministries

The first trend we’ll look at is a “big picture” one. But, it’s a critical starting point for all successful church design projects. If you don’t have a clear sense of your church’s vision, and know what ministries you want your church building to support, then you’re not yet ready to start a successful church building process.

All Church’s have the great commission as our Mission.  Vision is God inspired and directs each church in how they will carry out the Mission.  Out of Vision then specific ministries can be developed to achieve the Vision.

Questions that can help are clarify the Vision are:

  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • How do we reach them?
  • Does your ministry reflect your vision?

Your church building is a tool to help you achieve your vision for ministry. If your church design doesn’t help do effective ministry, then your money and time will be wasted. A good church design should fit your concept and your community, which is why, even today, some designs are very traditional while others are very contemporary.

We will discuss more trends in future articles. Meanwhile, if you haven’t done so, please go to our homepage and sign up for our upcoming i3 webinars. These free webinars provide additional information to help church leaders develop the best possible church design for their individual circumstances.

By | 2018-01-09T16:19:00+00:00 January 9th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design|0 Comments