Worship is the main reason you build a church, so no series illustrating church building spaces would be complete without a look at areas designed for worship. This is the element that draws people into your church building, so it’s important that the space be much more than a generic room; it needs to speak to your church’s vision. In this first in our two-part series on worship spaces, we will focus on basic aspects that all worship spaces have in common.
Size and Shape
Today’s worship spaces look very different from those of fifty or a hundred years ago. Older worship spaces were long and narrow, which meant it was hard for those in the back to see what was going on, and worship leaders could never see the faces of those in the rear. Today that rectangular shape has been rotated ninety degrees, or turned into a pie shape, so that the worship space is wider, and everyone can feel more connected with what’s going on. You can see that here in the pictures of Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Grove City, OH and College Wesleyan Church in Marion, IN.
Another aspect to this transformation of worship spaces is the platform. Platforms today are huge, and wider rather than deeper, as you can see with the picture of Trevecca Community Church, in Nashville.
Be wary if you get architect with limited church experience to design your worship space. They’re probably going to say you can fit 500 in a room of a certain size, but they don’t understand that, with the platform, you’re probably only going to get 350 worshipers in that space.
Another feature of the traditional church design was that the platform or altar area was typically fixed. That’s no longer the case. Today, you want flexibility in your worship space, so you can move the band around or accommodate a special event, like a drama or a concert.
Acoustics and Audiovisual
Of course, another way to keep everyone connected is through good acoustics and audio visual planning. The challenge is not just designing a worship space that seats a certain number of people, it’s also about good acoustics. It requires a lot of church building experience to understand how the shape of the room and the materials on the walls, ceiling and floor will aid in reverb times, absorption and transmission of in around and through the space. These things can be fixed after the church is built, of course, but it’s a lot more cost-efficient to take care of them in the initial design.
Lighting and screens are other important considerations when planning a successful worship space. Most churches today want screens front and center, rather than on the sides. Lighting—specialty theatrical lighting—should draw your worshipers’ attention to the platform, rather than the worship space itself. The picture of Archibald Evangelical Church in Archibald, OH shows how the audiovisual system has been designed into the worship space for maximum effectiveness.
Part Two of Church Worship Spaces
There’s a lot more to discuss than we have space for in this post. Part Two will cover the question of theater seats versus movable chairs and take a good look at that concept of “multi-use.” Meanwhile, we’ve finalized our lineup of 2016 free i3 webinars. To see the list, click here. We’ll be posting the schedule dates for these webinars shortly.