Can Good Church Design Help Lower Anxiety?
The prevalence of mental and emotional health issues is growing. According to Barna, people are experiencing extreme anxiety, and there is an epidemic of loneliness in our country, cutting across every age group. Nearly 60 percent of adults say at least one relational or emotional health issue affects their most important relationships. One-third indicated that loneliness impacts their closest relationships. We know people are struggling and the Church is a source of ever-present hope.
At Aspen Group, we believe good design can create culture and solve problems, including providing places for respite and personal connection. Aspen Architectural Designer Andrea Burks shares creative tips on how churches can work toward creating environments that support emotional and mental wellbeing.
Learn how to create space for emotional wellbeing.
1. Recognize the Opportunity
While there are many ways to address our congregations and communities' emotional wellbeing, sometimes the design is overlooked as one of the solutions. “As designers, we get to help the church with this opportunity to be a safe haven, a place where people go and feel secure, enveloped in so many positive emotions to offset the negative ones in this world. We have a big opportunity and a big task ahead,” says Andrea.
2. Make Creative Adaptations to Physical Spaces
b. Biophilic Design
c. Maximizing Outdoor Spaces
d. Consider Various Personality Types
e. Design for Connection
Our team loves to design spaces that enhance everyday ministry. When it comes to creating a prime space for connection, Andrea says the lobby is key. “Having a centralized lobby where people can get familiar with the space and the functions that are happening helps a lot.
There can also be micro-environments within the lobby or offshoots like a cafe or little areas of seating. Some people like to sit at a larger table with lots of people–or maybe they have a big family. It's also important to have areas where you can have a one-on-one conversation with someone to really connect.”
During COVID, churches may have to adapt their lobby space to provide for safe fellowship.
3. Take Simple Next Steps
- What is your building saying to your community from the outside? Does it look more like a fortress or an inviting place for anyone to come?
- Once guests are inside your building, is your signage, whether directional or digital, visually prominent and accurate? How would its messages make guests feel? Welcomed? Encouraged? Confused?
- How can you create more of a welcoming vibe in your key areas? A place where guests can feel at home?
Our team is passionate about helping churches use their facilities to form connections with God and others.
“Being able to combine my design career with my calling for churches has been so rewarding,” adds Andrea. “My favorite part about designing for churches is that moment when we're in a meeting, and the church says, ‘Yes, this is it! This is the plan that's going to increase our ministry. It's going to increase the kingdom and give glory to God.’ That is the most exciting part to me. There is nothing better.”
If you'd like a no-pressure conversation about how to adapt your space to better serve your people, please contact us.