As we look to design spaces that help churches address needs for things like respite and personal connection, the interplay between the indoors and the outdoors and art and architecture can offer creative and unique solutions, and result in emotionally and mentally supportive environments. One goal of good design is to incorporate a sense of ease and emotional well-being into a space. We move beyond the purpose of simple function to create a more personal interaction and meaningful experience for the user.
We had a blast celebrating Aspen’s second annual Design Week! We focused on five unique projects our team has worked on in different regions around the country. If you missed it, not to worry—here’s a quick recap:
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
When it comes to children’s ministry, Orange is known for its curriculum that emphasizes the importance of combining the influence of both home and church to teach children the Gospel. Orange also thinks broadly about how children and families experience church as a whole. As a Design-Build-Furnish firm, we value collaboration and learning, so recently I attended the local Orange Tour stop with fellow Aspen interior designer, Kristen Freeman, where we learned more about how design can help support children’s ministry.
Waypoint Church in St. Charles, Missouri, has a mission of "Worship. Love. Go." This thriving community of faith wanted to adapt their church building to create a cohesive, effective, and engaging ministry space that would allow their congregation to experience a deep and intimate connection with God and others. We partnered with Waypoint on an addition and renovation aligning with these core values of relationships and missional living. Here are five ways we intentionally designed the space to foster discipleship:
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.
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?
The prevalence of mental and emotional health issues is growing. According to Barna, people are experiencing extreme anxiety, and there is an epidemic of loneliness in our country, cutting across every age group. Nearly 60 percent of adults say at least one relational or emotional health issue affects their most important relationships. One-third indicated that loneliness impacts their closest relationships. We know people are struggling and the Church is a source of ever-present hope. At Aspen Group, we believe good design can create culture and solve problems, including providing places for respite and personal connection. Aspen Architectural Designer Andrea Burks shares creative tips on how churches can work toward creating environments that support emotional and mental wellbeing.
Even as the new year starts, churches across America are facing ongoing challenges brought on by the pandemic. Added to the effects of COVID are tectonic shifts in culture that are changing the way churches will reach people with the hope of the gospel. Aspen has been partnering for years with Barna to explore how to leverage data and design to build a better future for the Church.
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?