Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What will your ideal church building looks like?

Leadership Journal, Summer 2008

What the Unchurched See in a Building
New research says people are looking for "sacred" buildings.
by Matt Branaugh

Does "sacred" space appeal to or repel the unchurched? A recent survey probed 1,700 unchurched American adults, putting photos of four different church exteriors in front of them. Respondents indicated their preferences by allocating 100 points across the four images, based on the appeal of the appearance.

"Buildings without relationships have no meaning," he (Jim Couchenour, director of marketing and ministry services at Cogun Inc., a church building design firm that co-founded Cornerstone with Aspen Group)says. "The vast majority of people will go to church based on an invitation from a friend or family member. A small minority of people will make a decision based on the way the building looks. If it were aesthetics alone, we'd have a lot of beautiful buildings in inner cities that are full. That's just not the case."

"The style is not as important as the integrity of the design," Couchenour says. Integrity starts with the church realizing what God has called it to be, what ministry needs it can meet, and how a building can help meet those needs. "People—churched or unchurched—can tell if it has integrity, if it feels right."

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I will say 'amen' to that and respectfully ask all church leaders and building committees to review their priorities.

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