Throughout COVID-19, we’ve implored churches to look with fresh eyes at their facilities and ask, “In what ways is your church building creating space for ministry impact, and how is it creating a barrier to effective ministry?” With many churches still closed for in-person gatherings—or only open on a limited basis—there may still be a window of time for you to refresh specific areas of your building so that you’re ready to relaunch church for a new season of ministry. But which projects should you tackle on your own, and which ones are better left to the experts?
This month, we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with Monty Kelso, President and CEO of Slingshot Group, a team that helps churches and nonprofits hire well and coach existing leaders. The topic was timely because October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Whether you’re a pastor or a church member, Monty shared tips on helping pastors maintain their resiliency, fight off discouragement, and stay focused in this age of COVID.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Lobbies are mission critical for churches. This is the primary space where people congregate to connect with others. However, right now, your congregation is unable to have the close-knit interactions that we encourage in lobby spaces, even if you have returned for in-person worship and gathering at your church.
During our Equipping Frontline Leaders series, I connected with Aspen Group’s Ministry Space Strategist Greg Snider and Church Multiplication Specialist Jeff Beachum from Portable Church Industries to discuss how ministries could multiply faster and more affordably by integrating the strengths of permanent and portable church solutions.
At Aspen Group, our heartbeat around the projects we do with churches centers on so much more than seeing a building going up. We love to see how the Lord is working within the church, in local communities, and through teams. Our adaptive reuse project with Faith Assembly in Walterboro, South Carolina, was a recent opportunity to see God working through three different congregations that joined to form a new faith community. The church’s purchase of an abandoned Food Lion grocery is a beautiful example of what can happen when teams collaborate to breathe new life into a community.
As churches across the country reopen for in-person gatherings, one question has been percolating in many churchgoers' minds: We’re excited to get back to church, but will there be coffee? Amid a pandemic, some might feel hesitant to ask about coffee, while others have opinions as bold as espresso about coffee being part of their church experience. Recently, Kaysi Stanley, the Director of Sales and Marketing for HOPE Coffee, joined me on Aspen Group's Facebook Live, "Equipping Frontline Leaders," Monday episode. Through church partnerships and providing quality Honduran, Guatemalan, and Mexican coffee, Hope Coffee shares the love and message of Christ while helping fund projects focused on providing clean water, education, and safe housing for the poor. During our time, we talked about why church coffee matters and how congregations can keep the carafes flowing.
Live Oak Christian Church in Bluffton, South Carolina, dreamed of having a home of their own. Originally, the congregation met in a local school and later moved to the Bluffton School of Dance, but they had a bigger dream. They wanted to build, and that’s where the story takes an unexpected turn. They decided not to build a church. Instead, leaning into the heart of their mission and the needs of the community, they planned to build the Live Oak Performing Arts Center (LOPAC) in the Cultural Arts District of Bluffton Village, the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry.
During my years at Aspen Group, we’ve worked with many churches that meet in schools or leased spaces. Generally, these are church plants with about 150-200 people. Typically, as they grow their ministry, they seek a more permanent location. However, due to COVID-19, many of these church plants are facing a tenuous future. Not only have they had to shut down and pause in-person worship like every other church in America, they’ve also been shut out of their buildings because the school or leased space where they meet hasn’t yet gotten a green light to reopen in the midst of COVID-19. It’s a complicated world right now and finding a new space during a pandemic can be especially challenging. How can you gather when you have been shut out of the school or leased space you’ve been using?
If you were to drive by the new site of Faith Assembly Walterboro in Walterboro, South Carolina, you might think this was simply a church that had taken over an old grocery store and adapted it into sacred space. You’d be partly right. Faith Assembly Walterboro is a story of three different congregations joining together to form one new faith community in an abandoned grocery store. Church mergers can be tricky when they involve two bodies joining to become one. For three congregations to merge successfully is an amazing work of God.
Guest post by Karl Vaters The church is not dying. It’s in fine shape. Jesus said He’d build it, and He is. Relentlessly and beautifully. But individual congregations, denominations, and ideologies? Now that’s another story. While the church of Jesus around the world continues to move forward, chasing away the darkness with the light of Jesus, many local expressions of the church are watching their candles flicker in recent years. I believe the next decade or two will be critical for the Western church. The culture around us is experiencing a once-in-a-millennium shift right now—a recalibration of the way we think about everything from morality to sexuality, identity, and theology.