What if I told you that the average unchurched person would be more likely to walk into a cathedral than any contemporary facility when looking for a church? It’s true! When unchurched people were shown four pics that included two
contemporary church designs, a church with a steeple and a cathedral
the unchurched said they preferred the look of a cathedral by 2:1 over
any other option. So, what is your reaction?
I have agreed to be a thought leader for the Cornerstone Knowledge Network and they are partnering with Community on some key initiatives
for the future. So on Monday I was in Indianapolis to do a workshop and a main sessionCKN. While I was there I spent as much time as I could with Ed Bahler who is a driving force behind CKN and one of the leading thinkers in the country on facilities and the future of the church. for the (Ed also has a good article in Ministry Today titled, Starting From Scratch) We were discussing some of CKN’s latest research regarding what kind of facilities that are most appealing to the unchurched. The most fascinating discovery is that when they showed unchurched people four photos that included two contemporary church designs, a church with a steeple and a cathedral the unchurched said they preferred the look of a cathedral by 2:1 over any other option. Joe Myer was also in on this conversation and Joe jumped in and said, “but if you put people in any of those pictures, people would choose the facility with people in it.” I have a hunch he is right. This led into an extended conversation about the 3200 churches that will close in the United States in the coming year. Most of those churches (although not cathedrals) are more traditional looking. And if we could “resurrect” and bring back to life those church facilities with new church bodies through multi-site or church planting we might have not only a great combination for reaching the unchurched but also a great use of old facilities. What do you think? Ed has some more thoughts on this topic in this post Church Planting & Multi-Site.
Here were some more of the questions and top answers that CKN got while surveying unchurched people in regards to facilities. The answers do not equal 100% because I only listed the top answers and the survey allowed the respondents to give multiple answers:
- In what setting other than a home would you be most likely to interact with a friend?
- 47% – “Sit-down” restaurant
- 15% – Bar or night club
- 13% – Coffee shop
- In what settings do you feel close to God?
- 41% – “no where”
- 40% – References to nature
- 14% – Anywhere, everywhere
- 10% – Church, cathedral, synagogue
- If you were to design and build a church building, what adjectives would best describe it?
- 43% – Open
- 38% – Beautiful
- 36% – Bright
- 35% – Simple
- 24% – Reverent