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.
When COVID hit and churches had to lockdown earlier this year, pastors everywhere wondered what to do about their empty buildings and how to maximize their facilities once they're ready to regather in person. We worked hard to help guide you through uncertain times. As the pandemic continues, here are our most-read articles and resources to help you prepare for a strong start in 2021.
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
Recently, I spoke with Pastor Ricardo Smith, also known as Pastor Ricky, the founder of Classic City Conference, and Josh Gregoire, Aspen's Church Relations Coordinator, to discuss this sold-out in-person event, still open to virtual attendees. Designed to reach pastors, ministers, church leadership teams, and community leaders around the country, the Classic City Conference features top-level speakers that will challenge, encourage, and equip attendees.
At the beginning of the COVID experience, within the Aspen leadership team, we discussed the importance of pacing ourselves as leaders because we had a sense that the pandemic was going to be its own marathon. Perhaps this season has felt like that for you, too—a marathon with more miles than you ever anticipated.
Last week our team at Aspen Group hosted Design Week—a five-day focus on some of today’s most pressing challenges for churches and how design can provide solutions. It was an inspiring week! We discussed and provided resources about how the design of your church’s building and spaces (interior and exterior) can create culture and address—even solve—some of the most pressing issues facing churches today.
Churches that plan to offer in-person Christmas worship services this year may need to adapt their facility to mitigate the potential spread of COVID. Your church lobby serves as the first point of entry. It’s the initial space that greets newcomers and long-timers, and it’s the place where people will want to mingle most. But, how will it work in the midst of COVID?
Your church building is one tool of many to help you express your mission, accomplish ministry goals, and connect with people. When churches create ministry space, they do it to facilitate the programming they are currently providing—or hope to provide in the near future. The world, however, is changing more quickly all the time. Physical space that serves ministry purposes today may not provide the kinds of spaces we need next year, let alone for the next decade or more.
The digital age has been driving us to change our physical spaces. Because of COVID, churches are taking a closer look at how to adapt their physical ministry space to help serve both their physical and digital ministry needs. “During the last 20 years, there has been a tremendous shift in buildings, largely due to the fact that the digital age has been driving us to change our physical spaces," says Greg Snider, Aspen Group's Ministry Space Strategist. "We've been adapting spaces based on cultural changes in a digital world, but the shifts have not been with the mindset of digital-first.”
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: