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Did You Know Church Buildings Get Sick Too?

5. Flashback Syndrome.

The visual state of a room that induces instant flashbacks in a person who enters, usually to the 1970s or some other era, by the nature of the color scheme and patterns, such as shag carpet with harvest gold, or avocado green color schemes. Symptoms may also include floral wall paper, or garish plaids and mauve color schemes from the eighties, etc.

Communicates that the members are out of touch with the present, or simply do not think church is important enough to bother updating the environment.

6. Architectural Vertigo.

When a church facility has been designed with no sense of balance such as between the spaces allotted for areas such as building a huge worship center without regard for the space to balance it with children’s program space, or building without adequate parking.

The result is often the communication of an unintended message such as: Bible study is not important, or even that we don’t care about kids.

7. “Scatter brain” Syndrome (scatterus incognito).

A common ailment where the various age groups and programs are not arranged in any logical order and finding the appropriate room becomes extremely difficult for new or infrequent attendees.

8. Religious Edifice Confusionitis.

When a congregation builds using architectural styles or trappings from a different religion while declaring it to be “the way a church ought to look.” Greek and Roman temple forms used in 19th- and 20th-century church buildings are often confused as “Christian,” when actually they were created as tributes to ancient gods like Aphrodite and Zeus.

Makes people wonder if you know why the church even exists.

9. Pave-it-all Landscapeosis.

A disease often seen in churches that have taken the desire for a low-maintenance landscape plan to the ultimate level. Everything (except the cemetery) is paved. Asphalt has replaced the grass all the way up the building with no room for landscaping because, well, that’s the point: They don’t want to have to maintain a landscape.

It has an unattractive appearance, but at least they don’t have to do anything to take care of it.

Infected with one or more? The cure can be a lot of hard work, but so worth the effort to be free of such maladies and able to function as a church should. I recommend diagnosis by an expert in church architectural diseases and a possible design intervention by Visioneering Studios to prescribe a cure.  

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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.