As COVID-19 restrictions change in various states across the country and congregations start to regather in their church facilities, many churches are facing a new realization: their building isn’t designed with spaces to accommodate groups of 10 to 50, the range for church gathering sizes in many states.
When COVID hit and churches had to lockdown earlier this year, pastors everywhere wondered what to do about their empty buildings and how to maximize their facilities once they're ready to regather in person. We worked hard to help guide you through uncertain times. As the pandemic continues, here are our most-read articles and resources to help you prepare for a strong start in 2021.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Recently, I spoke with Pastor Ricardo Smith, also known as Pastor Ricky, the founder of Classic City Conference, and Josh Gregoire, Aspen's Church Relations Coordinator, to discuss this sold-out in-person event, still open to virtual attendees. Designed to reach pastors, ministers, church leadership teams, and community leaders around the country, the Classic City Conference features top-level speakers that will challenge, encourage, and equip attendees.
At the beginning of the COVID experience, within the Aspen leadership team, we discussed the importance of pacing ourselves as leaders because we had a sense that the pandemic was going to be its own marathon. Perhaps this season has felt like that for you, too—a marathon with more miles than you ever anticipated.
Last week our team at Aspen Group hosted Design Week—a five-day focus on some of today’s most pressing challenges for churches and how design can provide solutions. It was an inspiring week! We discussed and provided resources about how the design of your church’s building and spaces (interior and exterior) can create culture and address—even solve—some of the most pressing issues facing churches today.
Churches that plan to offer in-person Christmas worship services this year may need to adapt their facility to mitigate the potential spread of COVID. Your church lobby serves as the first point of entry. It’s the initial space that greets newcomers and long-timers, and it’s the place where people will want to mingle most. But, how will it work in the midst of COVID?
Your church building is one tool of many to help you express your mission, accomplish ministry goals, and connect with people. When churches create ministry space, they do it to facilitate the programming they are currently providing—or hope to provide in the near future. The world, however, is changing more quickly all the time. Physical space that serves ministry purposes today may not provide the kinds of spaces we need next year, let alone for the next decade or more.
Don't do it yet. But after reading this first paragraph, close your eyes for a moment. Imagine a stressful time in your recent past. If you could escape anywhere in the world to help reduce your anxiety, where would you go?
The digital age has been driving us to change our physical spaces. Because of COVID, churches are taking a closer look at how to adapt their physical ministry space to help serve both their physical and digital ministry needs. “During the last 20 years, there has been a tremendous shift in buildings, largely due to the fact that the digital age has been driving us to change our physical spaces," says Greg Snider, Aspen Group's Ministry Space Strategist. "We've been adapting spaces based on cultural changes in a digital world, but the shifts have not been with the mindset of digital-first.”
The built environment is complex, changing, and needs fresh thinking to solve today’s challenges. The pandemic has created new problems to solve and accelerated the problems already occurring. Recent data from Barna highlights shifts in our culture and how they are—or soon will be—affecting the church.