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Aspen Group Blog

Knowledge to navigate the intersection of church culture, leadership, ministry, and facilities.

Derek DeGroot

Derek DeGroot is Vice President of Design and Integrated Services for Aspen Group.

Blog Feature

Events | Millennials | Church Construction | Managing Facilities

Is the Church You’re in Today Built to Reach People in the Future?

By: Derek DeGroot
September 21, 2015

Church buildings are always a reflection of and a response to the culture in which they exist. For instance, when I design a church, I want it to reflect the DNA of that particular congregation. The building itself tells a story about who the church is. By its design, you can tell what the church values and what its mission is.

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Church Design | Culture | Millennials

Why the Church Should Reclaim Sacred Space

By: Derek DeGroot
June 02, 2015

  Perhaps the most powerfully symbolic icon of church past is the cathedral—a striking icon of a relationship between this world and the one above. The youngest generations (and the unchurched) still see the cathedral as the symbol of Christianity. Hollywood has depended on the steeple and gothic architecture to paint their own picture of church today, through TV, movies, and other media. And in our media-steeped, hyperconnected culture, people still long for places of contemplation and solitude.

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Making Space for Millennials Executive Summary

Making Space for Millennials Executive Summary

Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.

Blog Feature

Church Design | Millennials | Church Culture

Creating Spaces To Bring Generations Together

By: Derek DeGroot
April 27, 2015

It is both encouraging and curious to see how open the next generation is to connecting with older generations. Much like they view issues of race, sexuality, and gender equality, Millennials are equally open to the idea of relationships with those much older than they are.

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Blog Feature

Church Design | Millennials

5 Tips In Designing to Multiply with Millennials in Mind

By: Derek DeGroot
March 05, 2015

Churches grow, or add people, by casting a wide net to attract new people to Sunday service. Often it happens by members inviting their own family and friends. Growth spurs multiplication. As the number of attendees grows beyond the capacity of the space to hold everyone, then multiplication can occur, and a new church can be born.

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Church Design | Millennials | Church Construction

Enemies of Connecting Spaces at Church

By: Derek DeGroot
September 10, 2014

Ever get the sense that spaces are pushing you through, like you’re being herded like sheep? It’s because you probably are. Design is a powerful tool used to control our movement and guide our natural intentions. And yet, if we can move people through space in short order, then we can surely do the opposite. We can invite guests to stay in a space longer.

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Blog Feature

Church Design | Millennials | Church Construction

Sit, Stay: 3 Ways to Get People to Hang Out at Church

By: Derek DeGroot
September 02, 2014

When people speak of connection, they often reference the “Third Place,” a term credited to sociologist Ray Oldenberg to describe a non-domestic, non-productive space in which a third realm of experience occurs. Think Starbucks and Panera, two businesses that have mastered the concept of cultivating community by providing inviting physical spaces for people to sit and stay a while, away from work or home.

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Church Design | Church Construction | Managing Facilities

Don’t Build the Church You Think You Want

By: Derek DeGroot
April 10, 2014

Henry Ford once famously said, “If I had asked them what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Of course, Ford introduced people to the automobile and the rest is history.

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Blog Feature

Events | Church Construction

Does Your Church Feel Like a Members-Only Club?

By: Derek DeGroot
January 24, 2014

At our annual Alignment Conference this past October, I was asked an interesting question in my session on designing spaces in our churches that connect, inspire, and equip people.

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Blog Feature

Church Design

Designing for Experience

By: Derek DeGroot
August 01, 2013

So often it gets lost on us that everyone who enters our buildings—whether it's their very first time or their hundredth—has an experience that is either enhanced or diminished by their surroundings. Buildings aren't neutral; their alignment with your DNA (or lack thereof) impacts that experience.

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Church Design | Millennials

Designing for Millennials

By: Derek DeGroot
May 14, 2013

As more and more brands calculate what the Millennial Generation, a generation that's growing in numbers and influence, means to their businesses, churches have started digging into the same questions. How does this 18-29 age group interact with the church? How do they interact with our brand? How do they give? Or even, where do they eat and shop?

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