GOING FORWARD CHANGE is the trend and FLEXIBLITY is the goal!
This post is offered to bring attention to the impact the pandemic of 2020 is having on The Church, and the decisions Church leaders are making in response. Specifically, the response they are making about buildings, building processes, and the economic hardships that can accompany them.
The undisputed #1 trend for 2021 is CHANGE!
Because of recent events, change is not only expected but embrace by church leaders and followers alike.
Most leaders have re-evaluated their mission, methodologies, and resources. Strategic leaders are addressing changes to finances, facilities, and functionality. Many have concluded they got caught flat footed and feel exposed in at least one of these areas.
The #2 trend is FLEXABILITY!
The pandemic has accelerated and exasperated everything in the Church. Strategic leaders responded with innovative thinking. Thus, one could say that The Churches response has been nothing short of amazing!
The mission is still the mission! It will not change! But the methodologies will and must change. Going forward Flex will be a verb of the church! Churches that consistently innovate to new and effective methods will sustain advancements on mission.
Budgets and Buildings must be positioned for leadership to flex to new effective methods with as little constraint as possible. But how does a building become a flexible tool? Strategic leaders are demanding their facilities be as “innovatable” as the methods they envision in the future!
In 2020 the church attendance pendulum has swung from almost exclusively in-person meeting to almost exclusively digital meeting. In 2021, the pendulum will settle nicely. Strategic leaders will identify the most Kingdom-advancing practices of both and embrace them. As Cary Nieuwhof says, “the era of set it and forget it strategy are over! Agility is far less exhausting than decline is.”
Here are 8 ways church facilities can flex to your newest and most effective methods:
Flex #1 – Be Transformed
Imagine how effective a church could be if they magically transformed any space into multiple uses – day to day, week to week, season to season, year to year!
The Transformers (toys and movie characters) for example made instant changes to be most effective where they are right now. At one point they are robots and at another point they are a car, plane, gun, or animal. They became whatever was necessary to win a new way.
Think worship center, to ESL classrooms to coffee house to business incubators…whatever your space needs to be to advance mission.
Flex #2 – Rightsizing Facilities
Imagine designing a smaller facility – having less or no debt, less maintenance expenses, but more uses!
In one form of rightsizing, large regional churches are trying to figure out what to do with space left vacant by new ministry models that attracted people to more and smaller community-centric facilities. In another form of rightsizing, church architects and designers have learned the lessons and are designing spaces that are appropriately sized using extreme functionality. More churches over build than under build – yet more square feet do not equal more ministry capacity.
Flex #3 – Save Money Now
Imagine redirecting scarce resources to mission rather than a building campaign!
The math gets easy now – smaller facilities are a lot less expensive to build, buildout or renovate. Which means less capital funding up front, less leadership capital spent, and less lead time to launch. Reaching the community quicker.
Flex #4 – Save money Later
Imagine the exponential savings in maintenance costs that could be made with a smaller, more effective facility over the course of the next 40+ years!
Tim Cool of Smart Church Solutions shares that, because of ongoing maintenance expense, the real cost of a facility usually will cost about 4x the amount it took build it. Smaller FlexSpace facilities are the gift that keeps on giving. A smaller footprint with simpler infrastructure will keep ongoing maintenance expenses lower for decades into the future.
Flex #5 – Trend Resistant
Imagine seeing a community need you can meet and being able to respond quickly, effectively, and with few speed bumps!
A Strategically led church is likely not doing ministry today the way they did 10, 5, or even just 3 years ago – pandemic or not! Do not let your future ministry innovation be held captive by the facility you have designed.
Flex #6 – Take it to the people!
Imagine being able to take the power of your worship room to an adjacent space, or outside, or across town. We’re talking speakers, video, LED wall, control center, etc.
The days of “build it and they will come” are history (if it was ever true). FlexSpace Design allows a room outfitted with great AVL gear for worship to be pulled and taken off-site into the community. The same thing goes for Hospitality and children’s ministry gear – perfect tools to be used across town or in the next room.
Flex #7 – Engage more and different people
Imagine creating spaces that attract people of different cultures, different interests, or having different needs!
Think of the different people-groups within 10 minutes of your facility: Cultures with unique meeting needs, athletes, schools, civic interests, etc. When a church facility is designed (to flex to your community) with a community centric focus in mind, you expand your capacity to be all things to all people so that by all means (or uses) you might save some.
Flex #8 – Show me the money!
Imagine adding another 10-20% on to your budget simply by making your facility available for outside groups!
Even the church needs revenue. FlexSpace Designs in a church allow you to transform all spaces making them available for revenue generating purposes.
Is the buildout of that new commercial space going to flex to your ministry methods for the next 20-40 years? Consider FlexSpace – the intersection of a permanent facility with portable flexibility!