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Did You Know Church Buildings Get Sick Too?

Below are nine “diseases” that many church facilities suffer from. Gary Nicholson, one of Visioneering’s studio directors and lead architects, developed this list and thought you would enjoy playing doctor to diagnose if your facilities suffer from any of these ailments.

Enjoy (and thanks Gary, good stuff).

Diseases of the church facility:

Just as our bodies contract diseases that can lead to problems and cause pain and discomfort, many diseases can infect church facilities so that the church can experience functional problems and great discomfort. Rarely are these merely cosmetic, but are often outward signs of much more deep seeded problems.

Examples include:

1. Growing Pains.

Consistently filling of a space or spaces in the church to beyond 80 percent, often a positive sign of growing numbers in a church. If not addressed, can become a limitation and lead to stunted growth.

The remedy is not always to build new space, but to examine the possibilities of: a.) Redistributing the people into underutilized areas, b.) Utilizing the space in an additional session at a different hour or time slot, or c.) Considering adding space that allows for future growth.

2. Bumpus Maximus.

When too many people are in your church foyer or lobby. Occurs primarily between services and Bible study sessions. Made worse when the preacher doesn’t stop preaching on time and people are waiting in the foyer to get into the next service when the previous service is not yet over, so that people are exiting the worship center at the same time others are trying to enter (can be made even worse when the entire congregation ate nothing but beans the night before at the annual world hunger banquet).

3. Circulatory Disease.

When hallways and corridors are clogged or jammed full of people so that movement becomes difficult. Worst in cases where multiple services are occurring so that there is traffic both coming and going in the halls at the same time.

Easily rectified by a good church squabble to thin the flock and reduce the numbers, leaving only the few who will not leave regardless of the dysfunction in the fellowship.

4. Architectural Senility.

A rather sad state whereby antiquated facilities relate to the past much more than the present. Can take on many forms. One often cited example is extremely small rooms designed for adult Bible study groups of six to eight people instead of today’s larger groups, or built for activities that never materialize, like a recreation facility that no one uses.

Another example is a very small platform with room for piano and organ and no other instruments because that was the way church was done in the 1950s.

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Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company dedicated to Facility Stewardship and Project Facilitation for church development projects nationwide.