We will remember this year for many reasons. Among them, it will be known as the year the church closed its doors while simultaneously claiming new space in the digital world—and living rooms across the country. Churchgoers worshipped from home and church leaders wondered if Easter 2020 might break the internet. Now we’re wondering the same thing about Christmas.
In my role at Aspen, I am typically the first person to field calls and emails from churches that want to discuss a potential building project or facility need. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, my phone stopped ringing, and I received few emails from leaders asking to help solve their ministry space challenges. With churches forced to leave their buildings, everyone was reacting to the crisis and making fast pivots to swiftly adapt the way they were doing church.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Churches across the country are gearing up for Easter Sunday, the church’s most-attended day after Christmas. This year, in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, many church leaders are scrambling to celebrate in new ways. According to data from Barna Group’s Church Pulse Weekly poll reported in the Church Pulse Weekly Podcast with David Kinnaman and Carey Nieuhof on April 6, 2020, 57% of churches say they’ll livestream Easter services, 25% say they’ll pre-record and then broadcast services, and 9% say they’ll host an outdoor service with social distancing. Though leaders may feel ill-prepared to celebrate Easter in new ways, people may be riper than ever to hear the message of hope. In a Wall Street Journal article titled, “A Coronavirus Great Awakening?” author Robert Nicholson, writes, “Could a plague of biblical proportions be America’s best hope for religious revival? As the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II approaches, there is reason to think so.” More so than ever in our lifetimes, the Church may have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people with the gospel message of salvation and hope. In this article, we’ll explore who typically attends church on Easter, and how we can prepare for them in the context of a digital experience.
Church building projects can sometimes create a sustained season of stress for pastors and ministry leaders. Though there’s positive excitement as walls go up and spaces take shape, the change associated with building or renovating a church can leave senior leaders vulnerable to getting stuck and possibly leaving the church once the dust from the construction project has settled.
The Aspen Group Architecture process takes a project through a collaborative process with the design team and an established network of subcontractors that creatively solve construct-ability issues before they arise. Hamilton Hills Baptist Church in Fishers, Ind. experienced the benefits of this team approach first-hand.
$1.2 million dollars was the difference between what Faith Lutheran Church could afford and the estimated cost of the building designed by a local architect. The church contacted Aspen Group to help value engineer the plans to get the project back on budget.
Looking into the future, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville, Ill. knew they would have to build to remain locally relevant. The leadership was no stranger to building programs, but past projects were obvious – they built because they were out of space. This time leadership didn’t have clear direction, just an undeniable passion to prepare for the future.
LaGrange Christian Assembly is a growing church of approximately 250 members located in the Chicago suburb of LaGrange. Aspen Group recently completed a 10,000 sq. ft. addition to their existing facility. This addition gives them a multipurpose gym, administration rooms and education space.
At the conclusion of his book, You Lost Me, David Kinnaman offers 50 ideas to find the lost Millennial Generation. The ideas come from Christian leaders—some well known and some unfamiliar—trying to inspire people to move from thinking and talking to doing and changing.
Go down the hall and turn left at the Prayer Room. Then, go up the stairs and it will be the third door on the left, just past the Kingdom Builders classroom. If you get to the double-doors you’ve gone too far. Have you ever found yourself, or heard someone else, giving directions like this around your church? I think we’d all agree that making a great first impression to new guests visiting our church is extremely important. But how that impression is formed may be a little less clear. A hearty handshake and pleasant “Hello!” at the door is a good start, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, that welcome can be quickly negated if your guests don’t know where to go from there. You need to look beyond keeping coffee stations filled, toilet paper dispensers stocked and bulletins printed. You must look to your signage. Your signage should provide your guests with cues that will make them feel comfortable and free of anxiety while moving through your space. After all, they’re like the new kid at school who knows no one, experiencing a new and unfamiliar space. You want your signage to “show them around” without forcing them into conversations they may not be ready for yet. We have covered the importance of effective signage on this blog before, but it is a critical, and often overlooked element in many church facilities. One of the primary reasons for intentionally creating a good first impression for guests is to remove all the distractions and frustrations that can keep people from connecting with God. Worrying about the location of the restrooms or where their children are supposed to go does nothing but distract people from this opportunity. So, where do you begin? Start by entering your building with fresh eyes. Realize that it’s not about you and what you know. It’s about those who know nothing about you. Look at your place from a visitor’s perspective. What do your guests see when they enter? What are they likely looking for? Do they have kids? If they want to learn more, do they know where to go? I like the list that Jed Davis, Aspen Group Project Developer, offers: Make sure your main entries are obvious and that people know what they’re walking into. Answer two basic questions: where do I go, and where do my kids go? Call out your coffee and restrooms. Don’t forget about the exit process and where guests should go for next steps. How does your church do with signage? Post photos of your creative signage on our Facebook page.