The pandemic has changed us in ways we still don't fully understand, but the future of church gatherings will be a combination of physical and digital space. At Barna, we asked, “After the COVID-19 pandemic, what kind of church gathering will fit your lifestyle best?” The majority of people said physical gatherings will be important; those aren't going to go away. What was interesting is that there is also a sense that both physical and digital experiences are going to be favored. Before, technology was a barrier to us in how we were joining church. Now, we have people whose virtual literacy has gone up immensely over this period, across generations.
Everyone looks at different things in a church service: worship styles, preaching, or even the unwritten dress code. The same is true within church spaces. Every individual who walks through your doors will have a different priority when it comes to how they view your physical space. Fresh off the heels of Mother’s Day, I spoke with two of Aspen's amazing architectural design team members, Andrea Burks and Rosie Mitchell, about five things parents look for when they enter a church space—besides the coffee.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Many churches have construction, in some form or other, going on throughout the year. It might not be a full-on building project, but teams are often building sets for sermon series, VBS and youth events may call for lumber, paint and power tools, and of course, normal facility maintenance calls for safety protocols. We recently celebrated Safety Week and offer these tips you can share with your staff and volunteers to keep them safe on the job, no matter how big or small.
How do you know when it’s time to consider a renovation or build at your church? Oxford Bible Fellowship, in Oxford, Ohio, continued to see opportunities related to their vision stacked up against facility-related challenges, both inside and out. Pastor Garrett Nates was moved by the needs of their church, the local community, and the college campus. “We were running up against so many different constraints on our ministry. Probably every single area had pinch points.”
At Aspen Group, we believe that architectural design affects behavior. Behaviors become habits. Habits form us. People instinctively move and operate in a space based on what the design is guiding them to do. As churches and schools grapple to meet the needs of a new generation, they often overlook the part their physical buildings are playing in influencing faith formation—their responses, behaviors, and habits. The following four crucial components of design address the cultural forces that are complicating the discipleship journey. How can your built space help answer a new generation’s deepest needs?
While most people wind down the work week on Fridays, those of us in construction pick up the pace. Especially if we’re working on an Aspen Group “Ministry in the Dust” project. Recently, we had the privilege of partnering with The Bridge Church in Bradenton, Florida, using this type of approach for their sanctuary renovation project.
As a KidMin Specialist for Orange, I coach children’s ministry teams throughout the country and get a glimpse behind the leadership curtain of many different churches. During COVID-19, no area has been fraught with as many safety and logistical challenges as your children’s ministry. If you don’t have a kidmin leader who’s part of your church leadership team, it’s time to include them!
Proper signage and branding are critical to a positive experience at church, especially for newcomers or first-time visitors. Think about it. How could we possibly navigate a large airport or hospital without relying completely on the signs around us? It would be a terrible experience. With churches opening their doors again for in-person worship, your first-time or newer guests may need to re-learn how to navigate your building. Now is the time to look at your church's signage and wayfinding with fresh eyes! When we brought focus groups to the various churches as part of the Making Space for Millennials study, they said that when they entered each space, they instinctively wondered, Where am I? What am I supposed to do next? What’s expected of me? They were seeking visual clarity.
Most churches have learned how to use digital tools to continue to share the gospel and help people find an anchor in this storm. Week by week throughout the pandemic, churches have become more adept at producing online worship services and conducting small groups and children’s ministry via social media and video platforms. Now, the urgency of trying to figure out how to shepherd congregations virtually is giving way to a new question—what shape will ministry programs take in light of all we’ve learned during the pandemic?
As the country began to shut down last year because of COVID, Pastor Taylor Burgess and his leadership team at Cross Community Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, made an important decision. As a church, they would not lie down and die. They committed to facing the future with courage. Cross Community has been working on transitioning from a portable to permanent space, plus navigating a capital campaign, all amid the pandemic. I spoke with Taylor, who serves as lead pastor, to see what advice he would offer other churches in the midst of a building project or other major change.