Worship Spaces

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Irwin, Pennsylvania

PRESS RELEASE – Community United Methodist Church

The McKnight Group broke ground and construction is underway for the 26,238 sf two–story addition including a new 400–seat sanctuary, 200–seat balcony, 200–seat chapel/classroom/overflow area, choir room, backstage and tech areas, foyer, café, nursery and toddler classrooms, children’s classrooms, restrooms, storage, new parking, exterior walks, patios, playgrounds, truck dock and related site improvements.  Also included is a 13,653 sf two–story remodel including kitchen and food pantry, children’s church and classrooms, youth room and mezzanine, youth classroom and lounge, offices, conference room, restrooms, storage and miscellaneous support spaces. 

Owner: Community United Methodist Church, Irwin, PA
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2018-02-08T20:46:29+00:00 February 8th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling, Worship Spaces|

Project Completion: Church of the Savior

The McKnight Group Announces Completion of Remodel in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Church of the Savior partnered with The McKnight Group to take steps toward a grand vision.  This process began with Phase I which was completed in 2012.

The McKnight Group has now completed Phase II at the Church of the Savior in Nicholasville, KY.  The scope of work includes a 23,133 SF building addition. Features included a 750 seat worship center, platform, lobby, café, nursery pod with six classrooms, restrooms and an audio – video booth.  Also, included is the basement of 4,565 SF and a mezzanine level of 1,100 SF. The new space ties into their original building and the previous addition The McKnight Group designed and constructed in 2012. 

Addition: 23,133 SF
Construction Completion: June 2017

Owner: Church of the Savior, Nicholasville, KY
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Indiana, PA

PRESS RELEASE – The Summit Church

Cement truckThe McKnight Group has started work at The Summit Church in Indiana, PA. Construction of an addition of a two-story Children’s and Youth Building in addition to the remodel of existing classrooms into new foyer space.  The new Children’s and Youth Building will consist of classrooms, worship space, restrooms, and play area for the children on the first floor, and restrooms, classrooms, and worship space for youth on the second floor.  The expanded lobby will provide more room for the café and a new women’s restroom.

Owner: The Summit Church, Indiana, PA
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

Church Design Transformations: Church Building Ideas for When Your Ministry Needs Change

Do you ever feel like your church building is working against you? Have your ministry needs outgrown your church building? In this installment of our series on church design transformations, we are going to illustrate how one church was able to remodel part of its existing facilities and begin from scratch with another part in order to meet its changing ministry needs.

Reason to Transition: Changing and Collaborative Ministry Needs

Trevecca Before

Trevecca Community CON – Before

The Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene in Nashville is located on a college campus, where the original church structure was built to serve the needs of another era (see the before picture). The sanctuary, for example, didn’t have the flexibility that modern churches need. Its platform was small and crowded. There was no room for any screens, and they really needed to install modern lighting and sound.

In addition, the church had a tiny foyer, which was far too small to provide any space for fellowship or conversation. They also did not have enough restrooms for the size of the congregation. There was some additional space pictured to the left, but it was an attached, converted warehouse building that didn’t meet another element of their church vision: increasing their partnership with Trevecca University.

Matching the Church Building with Ministry Needs

Trevecca Community CON - After

Trevecca Community CON – After

Our church design plan was bold: Tear down the warehouse and build a new church building that would include a large foyer, ample restrooms, and additional spaces to use in collaboration with the university. In this case, the school had some specific needs: dining facilities, practice space for sports teams, and a place for college students to hang out and conduct different types of ministries with the community around them.

Trevecca Community CON – New Foyer

Trevecca Community CON – New Foyer

The old, small foyer was re-carpeted and functions as a lobby area for the nearby office. It’s also connected with the new foyer, pictured, which is many times larger and includes lots of bright lighting, casual seating, and a serving café. We installed a large, professional kitchen that serves both the café and the big multi-ministry room pictured. In addition to being an NCAA-sized basketball court, this room holds 750 for dinners and a thousand for a concert or service.

New Sanctuary Church Design Elements

Trevecca Community CON – Multi-ministry Room

Trevecca Community CON – Multi-ministry Room

In addition to building this new building, we remodeled the existing sanctuary to meet their modern worship needs. As shown in the picture below, we enlarged the platform area and moved it forward, allowing the orchestra to fit into a “pit” behind. We made that new platform movable, so that it could be brought forward if a larger orchestra was needed, or pushed back to add more seating for worshippers at other times. The choir modesty rails can also be removed and a baptistery added when needed, as well.

Trevecca Community CON – Platform Area

Trevecca Community CON – Platform Area

We also replaced the pews with chairs to increase the seating capacity. Modern theatric lighting and sound were installed and functional video screens were installed.

Are you ready to work with your church building, instead of against it? Is it time to let your church’s vision drive a new church design? If so, contact us today to begin a conversation about your own church design transformation, and be sure to sign up for our free i3 webinar series to learn more about all we do.

2016-04-06T10:59:39+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Church Building, Church Design, Remodeling, Uncategorized, Worship Spaces|

Sampling Church Building Features: Worship Spaces, Part 2

In our last post, we began a discussion about the important elements you need in any worship space. We talked about how the size and shape of worship spaces have changed over the past few decades, and how acoustics and audiovisual considerations have become increasingly important.

In final part of our two-part series on worship spaces and church design, we’re discussing some options to consider: whether to use fixed seating such as theater seating or movable chairs, and “multi-use” spaces.

Fixed Versus Movable Seating: How Flexible Are You?

College Wesleyan Church

College Wesleyan Church

In the past, traditional worship spaces usually had everyone but the preacher sitting in fixed pews. Today, you seldom see pews in a newer church building, although that traditional feel is still important in the vison of a few churches. For example, College Wesleyan Church, in Marion, IN, pictured below, still prefers using pews.


Epiphany Lutheran Church

Epiphany Lutheran Church

Nowadays, churches tend to be more concerned about whether to use fixed, theater-style seating or movable, stackable chairs. Obviously, if you’ve got movable chairs, you’ve got more flexibility in how you arrange the worship space, as can be seen in the photo of Epiphany Lutheran Church, in Dayton, OH.

Another consideration is tiered seating, especially for bigger worship spaces seating 800 people or more. Tiered seating can dramatically improve sight lines, but, as with theater-style seating, you have the downside of reducing the flexibility of your worship space.

The Case for Multi-Ministry Church Building Spaces

Tiered seating and fixed, theater-style chairs can also prevent your worship space from being used as a multi-use area.

We’ve been hearing multi-use spaces are becoming less popular lately, but for a church that needs to get more out of their limited budgets and church buildings they are still a great option. We suspect much of the unfavorable view comes from people who have had to live with, and worship in, poorly designed multi-use spaces. That’s one of the reasons why we actually prefer calling the worship spaces we design “multi-ministry.”

The most important consideration when creating a truly multi-ministry worship space is making sure that worship needs are given top priority. We build a worship space you can play basketball in, not a gym you can worship in.

Bethany Wesleyan Church

Bethany Wesleyan Church

That focus on worship and vision translates to all aspects of our church designs. As we discussed in Part 1, we think about the acoustics of the worship space. We also take into account the aesthetics, things like the size and height of the platform. For an example of a multi-ministry focus, look at the picture from Bethany Wesleyan Church in Cherryville, PA.

The Father's House

The Father’s House

We also recognize that flexibility concerns might require a combination of fixed and movable seating, tiered and flat spaces, as we designed at The Father’s House in Rochester, NY (pictured). Approximately a third of the seating is moveable, with the remaining seats tiered. This means that part of the worship space can be converted for a dinner or seminar, while still retaining the critical sight lines for those who worship in the back of the church.

Let’s Talk

Whatever your needs for a worship space, we can take those considerations, combine them with basic concepts such as we have discussed here, and design a functional, beautiful space for worship and your other ministries. If you have questions, contact us and let’s talk.

And if you’d like to learn more about the philosophy behind the work we do, visit our website to find the 2016 lineup for our free i3 webinar series, and to you and yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

2015-11-25T11:55:13+00:00 November 25th, 2015|Church Building, Church Design, Uncategorized, Worship Spaces|

Sampling Church Building Features: Worship Spaces, Part One

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.

Grove City Church of the Nazarene

Grove City Church of the Nazarene

College Wesleyan Church

College Wesleyan Church

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.

Trevecca Community Church

Trevecca Community Church

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.

Archibald Evangelical Church

Archibald Evangelical Church

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.

2015-11-18T09:54:11+00:00 November 18th, 2015|Church Building, Church Design, Uncategorized, Worship Spaces|