For the last 24 hours I’ve been in Atlanta with a “think” tank group sponsored by the Cornerstone Knowledge Network. It is a pretty impressive group of people that they have pulled together to talk about what church facilities will look like in the future. When we started yesterday, they presented us with the following basic problem:
We have seen an increase in spending on church facilities in the last 15 years without a corresponding impact. In 1992 the church spent $3.5 billion on facilities and last year the church spent $9.5 billion while the average number of people in church has decreased! I’m not sure we have figured out the solution, but there are a number of important thoughts that have surfaced:
- All facilities make a theological statement.
- We need church facilities that thrill the community…not fight against the community! We need to build facilities that people really want in thier neighborhood and that city of officials will embrace because they are obviously good for the community.
- There is an abundance of wealth creation. There is money to do whatever you want!
- We have a whole bank of introverts that the church has not honored by forcing them into spaces that manipulate how they connect with people.
- We need facilities that draw the creative class (leaders / artists). To attract artists we need to create spaces that are “leading tones” and not “resolution”. A “leading tone” is musical score that is incomplete and it draws you in and causes you to respond by finishing the “score” yourself. A “resolution” is the ending of a musical score, it is complete and finished.
- “We shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us.” There are all sorts of unintended consequences that occur when you move into a facility and in particular your first facility.
I’m still in the meeting for the rest of today as a part of this discussion. What do you think church facilities will be like in the future?