The church building and religious-use facility industry is being dramatically and permanently altered by factors that began emerging at the dawn of the 21st century.
In 1989, popular author Ken Follett wrote a riveting best-selling novel, Pillars of the Earth, about the factors that influenced the building of cathedrals in the Middle Ages. Those factors influenced church construction and facility use for nearly a millennium.
Today, there are new factors that are dramatically shifting the way we build and utilize church facilities.
Factor 1: The Technological Revolution.
When I came to my church in Colorado in 1991, the latest technology was the overhead projector. Today, we have personal computers, digital video, wifi, smartphones, cloud computing, social media and Internet campuses. Typically, the first impression people have of a church is a virtual one on Facebook, a website or online campus.
During the Middle Ages, church leaders taught the illiterate masses biblical content through images made of colored stained glass in the church windows. Now, we teach biblical content with images on video screens. We used to go to a church building to worship and hear a message or get a cassette or cd. Today, all we need is a phone to experience worship and download a message.
This technological revolution is making the ministry of a local church less facility-centric. While the primary ministry of a church is still local, it doesn’t have to be limited to a geographical location or tied to a facility. Cloud computing makes the mystical universal church more universal. Any local congregation can deliver their message anytime, anywhere on the planet.
Shift: The tech revolution extended church impact beyond the walls of a building and geographic location.