A: Many churches are facing a new realization: their building isn’t designed with spaces to accommodate groups of 10 to 50, the range for church gathering sizes in the initial reopening phase for many states.
Churches with large sanctuaries or multipurpose rooms that are designed to seat 200 or more can be used for a gathering of 10 to 50. But hosting 50 or fewer in a room designed for hundreds affects the group’s social interaction and impressions of intimacy, warmth, and safety in the space.
The relational dynamic in groups of 20 to 50 is different from groups of 100-plus. It allows people to connect more broadly than in personal space, but also more deeply than in public space.
Here are some potentials ways you may be able to gain medium-sized gathering space for your ministries to meet in:
Sharing Space: Some churches might consider teaming up to co-lease spaces, like at a retail strip center, and meet at different times in the week. A larger church may even purchase a space like this and lease it out to smaller congregations. Some churches may choose to continue live-streaming Sunday morning, but offer medium-sized gatherings for ministry use for their congregation throughout the week. Collaborative churches can share spaces in new ways and refresh their spaces with innovative ideas that match the creative potential of their new ministry approach.
Shape the Community: Consider leasing and outfitting medium-sized retail spaces to expand the footprint of the church and help communities. Even as the church thinks creatively about medium-sized spaces, we may simultaneously have the opportunity to help the community renew the thousands of retail spaces that will become available in the economic aftermath of this year.
Outdoor and Temporary Spaces: Churches often overlook the property available to them outside their church building. Outdoor spaces, such as parking lots or green space that surrounds the church building, may provide a high-impact, low-cost opportunity to expand available space and spread people out.
Read more about how to adapt your church facility for phased-in gathering sizes here.