The function of the church building has been one of the biggest ministry shifts over the past decade. Church leaders are starting to think about their campuses as 'wells' for people in the community to gather, rather than 'temples' that sit empty six and a half days a week.
While this paradigm shift is a step in the right direction for churches, it has also forced church leaders to start answering tough questions when it comes to their facilities.
How can we optimize our environment to make first-time guests feel comfortable?
What can we do to create natural opportunities for people to form relationships and cultivate community?
Are we creating a space that invites people to engage in stories that are bigger than themselves?
These are all important things for church leaders to consider as we try to cultivate community and reach new people. While many church leaders spend a lot of their time thinking about the form and functionality of their space when it comes to worship environment or child care, we shouldn’t ignore the space within our walls for people to connect and grow in community.
3 keys to optimize your church’s connection space for community
When it comes to leveraging your church’s connection space for community, here are three things every church leader should remember:
- Break down walls.
Many unchurched people in your community are looking for a safe place to explore their faith. Your church can break down the walls they use to protect themselves when you create a connection space so compelling they can’t help but wonder why they feel so comfortable.
First and foremost, you want your connection space to be a place where someone who has never stepped inside a church building feels at home.
- Meet physical needs.
Another simple but critical aspect of optimizing your church’s connection space for community is to always meet their physical needs. Whenever you invite a guest over to your house for dinner, you work hard to make sure they don’t need a refill or more food. You know that when their physical needs aren’t being met, they’re distracted from truly engaging in conversation.
The same principle applies to your church. A simple way to improve your connection space is to make it easy for people to fulfill their physical needs so they can invest all of their focus in the conversations that are taking place.
- Invite people into a bigger story.
Your connection space is also an opportunity for you to encourage people to be part of the the larger community within your church. It could be something as simple as hanging pictures of the work your church is doing in your community or around the world. Maybe it’s a video that’s playing on repeat that showcases how volunteers in your church are engaging in ministry. While your connection space should always help lead people into deeper relationships, it can also challenge them to become part of the larger work your church is doing.
The changes happening in the area of facilities have caused a lot of church leaders to think differently about their campuses. More and more pastors have started to take an outward-focused perspective on the decisions they make about their facilities, rather than making decisions based on what some church members may want.
In the end, I think many of the changes that are happening are great for the future of the Kingdom if we’re intentional about how we use our space to draw people into community.
What is one way your church uses its connection space to draw people into community? What are some other churches that do a great job of implementing these three ideas?