As an old year ends and a new one begins, it’s common to both reminisce and look forward. It’s a good time to think about trends, how things have changed and what’s in fashion now. This holds true for church design and building as well, so over the next several articles, we’ll take a look at what’s trending in our world to help you plan in yours.

Caveats as We Begin

Before we start, it’s important to note a few disclaimers about what we share. It’s never a good idea to simply copy what other churches are doing. The trends we share occur because churches are paying attention to what is specific and even unique about their situation. They’re considering their vision and the specific ministries they want to bring to their communities.

America is also a big country, with a lot of very different communities. For this reason, what’s trendy in one place could be considered out-of-date in another—and cutting edge or even heretical in yet another part of the country. So, a church building should be designed with attention to its context of Vision for ministering. Still, there is value in looking at what other churches are doing. Church design trends can expose you to ideas you might not have considered, or even affirm the desire to head in a different direction.

The Rapid Pace of Change in Church Design

This is an exciting time to be constructing church buildings. If you think back over time, you’ll realize that churches looked pretty much the same for over 150 years, leading up to the end of the 20th century. Most churches were brick gable buildings with long, narrow sanctuaries filled with pews. However, over the past 20–30 years, church design has diversified and become extremely customized. Some church buildings retain a traditional feel – others have taken on a very contemporary look. The shift in church design can be overwhelming when it’s time to construct a new church building, so we hope this overview of current trends will help.

Trend #1: Designing for Ministries

The first trend we’ll look at is a “big picture” one. But, it’s a critical starting point for all successful church design projects. If you don’t have a clear sense of your church’s vision, and know what ministries you want your church building to support, then you’re not yet ready to start a successful church building process.

All Church’s have the great commission as our Mission.  Vision is God inspired and directs each church in how they will carry out the Mission.  Out of Vision then specific ministries can be developed to achieve the Vision.

Questions that can help are clarify the Vision are:

  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • How do we reach them?
  • Does your ministry reflect your vision?

Your church building is a tool to help you achieve your vision for ministry. If your church design doesn’t help do effective ministry, then your money and time will be wasted. A good church design should fit your concept and your community, which is why, even today, some designs are very traditional while others are very contemporary.

We will discuss more trends in future articles. Meanwhile, if you haven’t done so, please go to our homepage and sign up for our upcoming i3 webinars. These free webinars provide additional information to help church leaders develop the best possible church design for their individual circumstances.