Whether downtown n or in master-planned communities,
successful churches are exploring new lifestyle settings.
A primary objective is to create a unique environment to attract
and nurture a community of believers whose spiritual-growth needs
may not have been met in traditional church settings. A key concept
is to present the "church experience" in a way that
relates to peoples' real lives. This implies a need for facilities
that are not only conducive to social interaction, but also offer
a diversity of activities.
In an effort to touch the lives of young people, churches are
often creating less structured environments. In these areas, young
people can "hang" with friends and interact in a safe
and appealing setting.
East Central Indiana, First Church of God has created just such
an environment. Called "The Living Room,"it provides
live music, great food, gourmet coffee, and a smoke-free and alcohol?free
atmosphere for 18 years and older. The Living Room operates in
a converted second?floor space located in an early 19th Century,
commercial building in the heart of downtown Muncie next to Ball
State University. In this warm and welcoming environment, young
adults can form engaging relationships with mentors as well as
In Glendale, Arizona, on the Community of joy campus, an experienced
church staff is developing successful programs serving the youth
of the Northwest Valley. Facility plans are underway to develop
"The Crossing" -- a multidimensional community youth
center containing a sports and fitness center, classrooms and
lounges, arts and learning center, a youth cafe and nightclub
-? and more. It is a place where young people can become involved
in media productions, new technology, youth crisis counseling,
a youth hot?line, and support groups. According to Pastor Paul
Sorenson, "The Crossing provides an exciting, appealing environment
intended to stir a passionate response in young people."
Both The Living Room and The Crossing serve as lifestyle models
for meeting the needs of young people. One does so through the
doors of recycled commercial space; the other casts a vision built
upon the success of its existing programs. In both places, a warm
and caring environment is creating a new reality to reach young
people with Jesus' unlimited love.
ChurchWorks is a design firm that designs church buildings
that embrace creative ideas for expanded mission and foster friendlier
and more inviting environments. If you have any ideas or questions
you wish addressed in this column, contact David Price at (714)
832-1722, by fax at (714) 832-0738, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.