Learning That the Purpose of Church Buildings Will Change
by Nathan Artt, on June 2020
While our company builds many church buildings, very few of them actually look like churches. We specialize in helping churches develop properties open for community use during the week, which means their buildings create revenue streams to support them. We have an enormous conviction to see buildings fund ministries rather than the traditional model of seeing ministries fund buildings. There are many moving pieces in seeing a building fund its ministry successfully, but the churches we have helped have an annual revenue of $100,000 to upwards of $3M, which is enough to offset a mortgage payment or replace it completely.
Let’s briefly go back to the history and origin of church buildings. When the church became a building in the late third century, it was not only in the center of the community, but it was the center of community. It served as the gathering place for the entire community by remaining accessible to everyone and hosting the majority of community events. This continued through the Medieval Times, the Renaissance, and the birth of the American church. However, at some point in our history, we decided that we needed to buy land fifteen minutes away from the people we serve in order to afford large buildings that no one uses during the week. We, as the Church, have spent millions and millions of dollars on buildings that get used once per week. For the attractional church model, we have even firmly stated and coached our churches not to meet in groups at our facilities but in their respective homes.
Relevance lives at the intersection of purpose and practice. It’s the place where our why meets our how. In this next iteration of church buildings, it is my hope that we will design and plan for buildings to be as relevant as they are reverent. While we spend millions of dollars constructing buildings for our purposes, we neglect the countless businesses and community needs that fit similar program requirements. Yet, we have the opportunity to maximize both our facilities and our impact during the week to fund our buildings and to reach people who may not otherwise come on campus. We can, once again, be the center of community by being in the center of the community.
Don’t miss the launch of our new eBook: Gutenberg, Amazon, and the Evolution of the Modern Church in July 2020. In the meantime, check out some of Nathan’s most recent posts.