As you may know my church Big Creek Church is in a building phase with our church. There fore I found this blog post from Cynthia Ware a fascinating read. When you are either building something from the ground up or simply refurbishing an existing facility - it requires a ton of choices and decisions. Here is Cynthia's post:
"More and more established churches are refurbishing and redesigning their existing facilities. The creation of state-of-the-art worship sanctuaries with media/sound production in mind is booming. Audio acoustics, projection screen placement and lighting considerations are now all part of church design. In fact, digital technology considerations are now in the forefront of design.
For example, Technologies for Worship Magazine currently features an article on the continuing multi-site expansion of The Church on the Way, originating in Van Nuys, Ca. With three campuses, this multi-lingual congregation is still growing. Having attended The Church on the Way in the early 1980's, and having received such life-changing and dynamic ministry there, I was excited to think about how many individuals these new facilities might serve.
But, in contrast, Lifeway Research has just released a newsletter with this article in it: The unchurched prefer cathedrals to contemporary designs. (You've got to subscribe to read the whole newsletter.) According to the study, by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio over any other option, unchurched Americans prefer churches that look more like a medieval cathedral than what most think of as a more contemporary church building. The assumption is that there is a desire to link to the past.
As Christians, we obviously have a strong desire to share our faith with others, but should we design our buildings with them in mind? Or, are our temples primarily for those who name themselves as believers?"
Let me answer Cynthia's question here on my blog. I would say that our buildings are for those outside the church. They should have "outreach" central in their design. Remember, we call our church buildings, "facilities". They are to do just that - "facilitate". They are to facilitate the mission of the church and not merely be country clubs for our comfort and enjoyment.
(ht: Cynthia Ware)
(picture: Neo-Gothic church dedicated to St. Elisabeth of Hungary at Roses' Square (Rózsák tere) in Budapest.)