A vision for ministry is the starting point for so many elements that make a thriving church community. Not only will it help shape the kinds of ministries offered, it’s also key to making a church building that functions and supports that community, among other things. But we recognize that the idea of a church vision can be difficult to explain, and a concrete church vision can be challenging to pin down. Here are some questions to ask and ideas that can help church leaders determine your church vision, and whether your church building is helping or hindering that vision for ministry.

The First Question to Ask About Your Church Vision

The first, and most obvious, question to ask when defining your church vision is who you want to reach. To say you want to reach everyone is true for all of us, but go further and ask who are you best at reaching? For example, say you’re great at evangelism and feel God leading you to reach the unchurched, people who have no history of attending church in their life. Your church building is going to tell a story to everyone who enters. If you find a way to bring them in and what they see is old wood beams, pews, stained glass, and elegant floral arrangements displayed on old-fashioned, fragile furniture, they’ll probably not connect with those building features the same way someone who grew up going to church does. 

The Next Questions to Ask About Your Church Building

So, once you decide on who you want to reach, the next question is how to attract them. In the example above, what would be attractive to people that don’t attend church regularly? The old standards of pews and steeples aren’t going to matter to them. Instead, they could better appreciate a clean, contemporary feel, with solid furniture, a welcoming vibe, and amenities they can relate to—like a café with comfortable seating areas and perhaps a children’s play area close by.

As you walk around your church building, try to see it with the fresh eyes of a first-time attender. Would they know where to go for worship? If they went to a class, would they be directed to an attractive and welcoming classroom, or a cozy space with comfortable seating and good lighting? Or are those spaces reserved for the regular attendees, leaving the first-time attender to gather in a small, crowded room with old folding chairs? When they drop their kids off in the children’s area, will they be shown an outdated, poorly lit space, or a brightly colored, attractive children’s area with a security desk and clear safety signage?

The Best Questions to Ask About Your Church Design

As you can see, asking the right questions will help you develop the right vision for reaching people in your community. It’s also important that your church building tells its own story about your vision. Both must be in sync, or you will have to overcome the non-verbal messages your facility sends to attract the people you want. This is when it’s important to look at your church design and compare it with your priorities. Ask what you can afford and also what’s of greatest importance. We know that a new church building can be expensive. The good news is that you don’t have to start with a brand-new church design. Instead, you can remodel your existing church building to meet your current needs. We’ve got lots of experience in guiding church leaders, so feel free to ask for our help.

You can learn more about the right questions to ask—on many topics! — in our free i3 webinars. The first three in our 2021 webinar lineup are available for sign-up now!