One of the biggest of the top five latest church design and construction trends has been around for almost 40 years but has greatly evolved. We’re talking about multi-use facility design. We like to refer to the space as “Multi-ministry” since it is a room that you can do many different ministries in.  Here are some of the creative multi-ministry designs we’re seeing today. And if you haven’t read our prior post, on the difference between church building models and principles in church design, be sure to check it out first.

Why Multi-Ministry Church Design?

Here’s why multi-ministry church design has proven to be such a popular and enduring trend: it’s good financial stewardship to be able to use each of your church building spaces for more hours over the course of the week. Building a church complex with dedicated spaces is great if the funds are available. The fact is most churches do not have the funds to build single use spaces for every ministry function.  Also, a larger church building is more expensive to heat, cool, and maintain.

This principle of good church building stewardship is why, back in the 1980s, church design began incorporating multi-ministry worship centers that could double as athletic spaces during the week. These auditoriums had flat floors and movable chairs, so that youth could make use of the space outside of worship.  Many churches built gyms that they worshiped in. The key to a good multi-ministry auditorium at the trend’s start was to build a worship space that you could do athletics in.

More recently, church leaders are looking beyond athletics when thinking about how their church building can be a multi-ministry magnet. We are designing church spaces today that can be used for fellowship, dining, and training events. We are also seeing theatrical performances and musical events taking advantage of the platforms, movable risers, lighting, and sound systems built into so many worship spaces today.

Thinking Beyond Worship Spaces with Multi-Ministry Opportunities

Of course, there are some limitations to how much a worship center can be transformed. For example, many larger worship centers have either a sloped or stepped floor, which makes a dining or classroom setup with tables more challenging. We’ve found that flat-floored rooms max out at about 1,000 – 1,200 people before blocked sight lines become an obstacle to both safety and ease of use.

This is why we are now seeing a trend where church leaders implement multi-ministry in other areas of their church design. For example, multi-ministry foyers can accommodate wedding receptions and dining. Smaller chapels designed for children’s worship are also doubling for weddings and funerals. Weekend adult education spaces can become children’s classrooms in a daycare center during the week.

The possibilities for multi-ministry spaces in various parts of any church design are only limited by one’s imagination. We love supporting this kind of creativity with innovative church designs. We also enjoy sharing examples of such creativity, which we will do in our next post in this series. Meanwhile, for more information about what else is happening in church design, sign up today for our next i3 webinar.