Shepherd’s Heart Care Center, located in Chapelstreet Church’s South Street campus in Geneva, Illinois, serves 1400 people in the Tri-City area. When this ministry began in 1999, it was a simple food pantry closet with pre-packed bags, where families in need could get a helping hand, but the small, tucked away space wasn’t sufficient to allow the team to actually build relationship with the people they served. Years later, a new, larger location offered more visibility, and the ministry grew to serve more families. But it wasn’t long before they were again busting at the seams, so they decided to expand again, but they didn’t want to limit their help to food only.
Unwelcoming. Dark. Not enough space for ministry. That certainly does not describe First Baptist Church of Greensburg's traditional church facility anymore! This church, located in Greensburg, Indiana, was determined to establish a more welcoming posture to the community, expand connection space to foster deeper relationships and allow for future growth, and create flexible spaces that can be used for several ministries throughout the week.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
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.”
While churches and schools often have similar facility-related challenges, like adapting to meet the next generation's needs, each one has unique goals, challenges, and a story to tell. Recently, Aspen Group completed a major renovation and addition at Benet Academy, a Catholic college preparatory high school nestled in suburban Lisle, Illinois.
Creating space for ministry impact extends beyond church buildings, especially as we consider what it means to disciple the next generation. Shaping the future leaders of the church means that we need to create space for forming people in the midst of rapidly changing culture.
At Aspen, we often talk about creating places that can be an intentional gift for the community—a beautiful space with no cost of admission where people can find rest. Especially in times of heightened anxiety, spaces that connect people with our Creator and the natural world serve as a respite from stress and frustration, especially in this season of COVID. In the following post, Aspen architects Craig Dobyns, César Espinoza, and Rosie Mitchell share design ideas for ways you can create spaces of rest and respite in your church setting.
What will it take for the church to regain its place in the center of our culture? I posed this question in a panel discussion with three visionary leaders: Tom Elenbaas, Harbor Churches; Mark Jobe, New Life Community Church; and Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church. (You can see the full conversation here.)
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.
The first person I ever heard talk about culture was Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosiac Church in Southern California. Erwin describes culture as spontaneous and repeated patterns of behavior. Brian Zehr, Co-founder and Leadership Architect at Intentional Impact, teaches that there are three things that make up culture: values, narrative, and behavior.
In 2004, religious facility construction was an $8 billion a year industry in the U.S. That's a lot of church buildings. At the same time, other research was emerging that indicated that church attendance and growth had plateaued or was declining. We saw a massive stewardship issue—how could so many churches be renovating and building new facilities and yet not experiencing growth, either in attendance or in spiritual maturity?