Generally, when we think of building or remodeling a worship space, we think first of what adults need. Certainly that’s been the historical focus of church buildings. But today, more than ever, family is just as important a focus, and that means considering the needs of children when designing worship facilities.
Your Church Building as a Tool for Children’s Ministries
It goes without saying that children have different church needs than adults. Adult worship spaces focus on sound systems, projection technology, seating capacity and sight lines, while children’s ministries need to focus on things like size-appropriate stages, storage and sinks for arts and crafts projects, and security issues. This is why it’s important to design children’s worship and ministry spaces with their particular needs in mind.
The first consideration is to make sure that there’s enough space for your children’s ministries. For infant and preschool children, you need to have 25-30 square feet of ministry space for each child. Your level of security will affect the design of the facility too. How do you want to check children in? Do you want parents to drop the kids off at their room or do you want a central drop-off/pick-up point? Adding one-way glass windows can be beneficial, allowing parents to see their children and for the areas to be monitored for safety without children being distracted by anyone watching.
Children’s Ministry Needs for the First 18 Months
Infants have a particular set of needs that are different from older children. While they can’t use restrooms themselves, having one connected with the nursery allows volunteers to remain close to the children at all times. You might also want to include laundry facilities, so that blankets and toys can be cleaned more easily. You will need to figure out where to put a changing table, and whether you want it built in, or if you will use a cabinet with a changing top in order to have more flexibility in the room arrangement. Another suggestion would be to add a nursing mother’s room, with a video link to the adult worship space, so that mothers can nurture their children in the nursery area and still be fed by the Word themselves.
Children’s Ministry Needs for Preschoolers
When children reach the toddler stage and beyond, obviously they will need restroom facilities, and we usually recommend having shared restrooms to keep children close to their classrooms. There will still need to be a changing table, and you’ll also want a lot of storage space for arts and crafts supplies, and sufficient sink space for washing hands and cleaning up messes.
Activity areas are often set up rather generically, for maximum flexibility, but you probably want to think about creating some sort of stage space to focus your children’s worship time. Platforms need to be short, so that kids can easily interact with those who are on the stage. If your children’s ministry includes a lot of plays, you will need storage space for costumes, props and sets. You might also want to think about those things which add the “wow” factor, such as special lighting, a tech booth, or a bubble machine.
So there’s a lot to consider when designing children’s ministry spaces, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more, sign up today for one of our free i3 webinars, and feel free to contact us with any specific questions you may have.