With this post, we continue focusing on transformations we have brought to existing church buildings. There are many reasons why a congregation might consider a new church design for its existing property. In this case it was the building itself that forced the change.

Reason to Transition: Unsafe Historic Church Building

Wayne Street UMC 1

Wayne Street United Methodist Church – Before

The Wayne Street United Methodist Church in St. Marys, Ohio, worshipped in a historic church building that was over 100 years old. Unfortunately, the church building developed structural issues, to the point where members couldn’t use their sanctuary for worship any longer. In fact, it was going to cost them over half a million dollars to fix the sanctuary’s issues and make it safe enough to support worship.

Wayne Street UMC 2

Wayne Street United Methodist Church – After

As good stewards, Wayne Street’s church leaders started wondering what else they could get for that amount of money, and they asked us for help. When we visited their property, we saw that there was an open, grassy field right next to their parking lot. Working with them, we created a new church design that used both the field and the space formerly occupied by the old sanctuary.

A Strong and Stable New Church

Wayne Street UMC 3

Wayne Street United Methodist Church Sanctuary

As you can see in the picture, the expanded footprint allowed for a spacious, 400-seat, multi-ministry worship center, along with accessible new restrooms and some needed storage. By using a mix of pews and chairs, they were able to retain some sense of the historic nature of the church while still providing flexibility in the use of the space. We brought in some of the old stained-glass windows for the same reason.

We also created a highly visible entry area, making it easy for guests to find their way into the church building. The worship center is modern enough to attract new members while also being flexible enough to allow both traditional and contemporary worship to take place in the same space.

Transforming an Outdated Fellowship Hall

The creation of a new worship space also provided the opportunity to take a good look at the rest of Wayne Street’s complex. For example, the church had an old, antiquated fellowship hall. It functioned fine, but it was clearly dated.

Wayne Street United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

Wayne Street United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

So we incorporated it into our church design as a bright, modern foyer that also accommodates fellowship, thus meeting multiple needs in this church’s vision. We opened up the wall between the fellowship hall and an adjacent hallway (that led to the old sanctuary, so it was no longer needed) to create an open, brighter space, and added a café in one section. A second entrance into the worship space ties the two together, while new flooring, bright lighting, and a new ceiling give it a very different feel.

All this goes to show that even if a church might feel forced into making changes, those alterations can be for the better, especially if you’re open to how God might be working to improve your church in the process.

To learn more about church design and how The McKnight Group can transform your church, visit our website. There, you can also sign up for our informative (and free) i3 webinar series.