Back in 2005 we worked on an addition for Trinity Lutheran Church, located in Crete, Illinois, and in 2021 they invited us back to refresh their lobby space. We were honored to be welcomed back a second time, to create a space that reflects the heart of the church and the people in the community.
Intentionally building a program for individuals with special needs provides your church an opportunity to share the Gospel with individuals of varying abilities and allows them to fully grow in their faith. It also lets the families of those with special needs feel supported, knowing their loved ones feel comfortable and confident in their environment, and are valued members of the church family. The following projects we worked on for Chapelstreet Church's Masterpiece Ministry and Parkview Community Church show how design can help support a special needs ministry:
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.
Proper signage and branding are critical to a positive experience at church, especially for newcomers or first-time visitors. Think about it. How could we possibly navigate a large airport or hospital without relying completely on the signs around us? It would be a terrible experience. With churches opening their doors again for in-person worship, your first-time or newer guests may need to re-learn how to navigate your building. Now is the time to look at your church's signage and wayfinding with fresh eyes! When we brought focus groups to the various churches as part of the Making Space for Millennials study, they said that when they entered each space, they instinctively wondered, Where am I? What am I supposed to do next? What’s expected of me? They were seeking visual clarity.
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.
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 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.
Just like your home decor gives people clues about who you are—your style and taste—so do church interiors. People can quickly identify who you are as a church, what you value, and who you're trying to reach based on the furnishings, finishes, and equipment you have throughout your building. While it's not practical to stay on-trend with every interior design fad, incorporating some current design details will help keep your building fresh and relevant. Here's a quick snapshot of five interior design trends we've been integrating into churches, which will stay fresh for some time to come:
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?
The primary purpose of a church building is to provide a place for two things to happen: an opportunity for people to encounter God, and the chance to build meaningful relationships with others. These two needs for reverent space and relational space can be met through the physical layout and design of the building. In this post, we'll look at how to maximize your lobby to create relational space.