In this heightened era of anxiety about active shooters and other safety concerns, churches are increasingly asking how to design ministry space with security in mind.
Editor's Note: Greg Snider and Josh Gregoire of Aspen Group presented a talk to a full room of leaders from across the country at Exponential in Orlando on March 3, 2020 on "3 Myths About Facilities that Keep Church Planters from Multiplying." Their presentation drew heavily from the same content featured in the post below. Based on positive feedback on the content of their talk, we're featuring this post again on our blog in case you missed it in previous weeks. Pastors who are focused on church planting and multiplying often focus on leadership and ministry as the key aspects of launching new churches. But one critical piece is almost always missing from the multiplication plan—a facility strategy.
Carl Chinn, a church security writer, researcher, and consultant, has been tracking deadly force incidents at churches since 1999. According to his findings, 2017 was the worst year for church violence with 118 violent deaths reported at houses of worship. Though statistically an active shooter is a low security threat for churches, gun violence is what makes the news and creates a ripple effect of fear among churchgoers.
Since 1997, Community Christian Church has relentlessly pursued its mission of helping people find their way back to God. By 2010, however, it had become harder and harder to accomplish that mission at their main Naperville, Illinois, location. They had been holding five services every weekend in the “gymnatorium”—a gymnasium that doubled as an auditorium for Sunday worship.
Ensuring you’ve got the correct number of parking spots for church attendees isn’t nearly as much fun as selecting the right fabric for all of the seats in your sanctuary. But you’ll never fill those seats if you overlook adding new spaces in your parking lot. Here’s a quick guide to determining how many parking spots your church needs. 3 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Church Building Partner
When Brady Boyd was brought on as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, it was to replace the founding pastor in the wake of a public scandal. “The staff was hurt and wounded and wondering if the church’s best days were behind,” said Boyd in an address he gave at the 2019 Outreach Summit. One hundred days after Boyd started at New Life, a gunman opened fire on the church’s campus, killing two teenage girls before committing suicide in the children’s wing. “Everyone wrote off New Life with these two tragedies,” he said.
It happens to most churches. You’ve been in the same church building for many years. It was great in the 70s and the 80s, but as your ministries have evolved, your building hasn’t. What worked well when you had adult Sunday School classes or when your children’s ministries didn’t include a large-group worship time, may now be misaligned space. Too often it's the physical space within a church building that defines the type of ministry that occurs. When we miss ministry opportunities because we have a facility misaligned with who we are as a church, it can become a serious stewardship issue.
Orland Park Christian Reformed Church in Orland Park, Illinois, was built in 1970. Over the years, pastors have experienced several physical barriers that inhibited the worship experience. In the sanctuary, there was a disconnect between the pastor and the congregation because of the positioning of the existing worship platform, which was too high and not wheelchair accessible.
Churches are popping up in schools, community centers, and warehouses. They’re meeting in movie theaters, coffee shops, and even comedy clubs. While many churches plant roots in permanent facilities, churches often start out mobile and borrow or rent space that's primarily used for another purpose.
On March 3, 2019, a tornado outbreak hit the Southeast. Over the course of 6 hours, a total of 41 tornadoes ravaged portions of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. One violent, long-track tornado killed 23 people, injured 97, and decimated the Alabama town where it first touched down. By the end of May 2019, 500 tornadoes were reported in the U.S., followed by massive rainfall and flooding. Many churches were leveled or severely damaged in these storms, and others have served as shelters for residents during and in the aftermath of devastating storms.