As the country began to shut down last year because of COVID, Pastor Taylor Burgess and his leadership team at Cross Community Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, made an important decision. As a church, they would not lie down and die. They committed to facing the future with courage. Cross Community has been working on transitioning from a portable to permanent space, plus navigating a capital campaign, all amid the pandemic. I spoke with Taylor, who serves as lead pastor, to see what advice he would offer other churches in the midst of a building project or other major change.
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.
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.
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:
Church building projects are exciting—and daunting. Visioning, funding, planning, implementation, and project management are all critical aspects of a design-build project. With all these variables, how do you ensure that the right people are involved from the start to provide input to each other, to collaborate throughout the project, and to communicate with the church?
What do you need to recognize about shifts in culture now that will affect your church in the coming year? How can you find unity within your church? How can you keep running the race? These are questions we explored in a recent conversation with Karl Vaters, one of the leading voices for equipping leaders of small churches. Karl is the Teaching Pastor at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship and author of several books including, The Church Recovery Guide: How Your Congregation Can Adapt and Thrive after a Crisis, which was released this summer.
This month, we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with Monty Kelso, President and CEO of Slingshot Group, a team that helps churches and nonprofits hire well and coach existing leaders. The topic was timely because October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. Whether you’re a pastor or a church member, Monty shared tips on helping pastors maintain their resiliency, fight off discouragement, and stay focused in this age of COVID.
During our Equipping Frontline Leaders series, I connected with Aspen Group’s Ministry Space Strategist Greg Snider and Church Multiplication Specialist Jeff Beachum from Portable Church Industries to discuss how ministries could multiply faster and more affordably by integrating the strengths of permanent and portable church solutions.