A previous post on church building trends today discussed how many church leaders are finding that “smaller is better.” When it comes to the worship center church design, there are some more trends worth covering. You might be surprised, and hopefully inspired, with what we’re seeing happen with church building design today.

Creating Intimacy through Worship Center Church Design

Perhaps because of everyone’s experience of getting “up close and personal” on Zoom during the pandemic, there’s a focus on creating intimacy in worship center design today. One key advantage of limiting seating capacity is proximity to the speaker.

As we noted before, the sweet spot now for worship center seating is for 1200 to 1500 people. While a 1500-seat auditorium may still seem sizable, creative church design can still keep the seats toward the back of the room feeling close enough to the action up front.

Notice, in this worship center schematic, that the pie-shaped seating design allows everyone to be within 80 feet of the speaker, even in the back rows. Installing a lower platform with an extension in the front also helps get the speaker out among the people.

Designing Dedicated Worship Space in Your Church Building

Along with the sense of intimacy, we’re seeing a trend toward having a dedicated worship center in a church building. This might seem to contradict our earlier article on the trend in multi-ministry church design, but they aren’t mutually exclusive. Church leaders might choose to make the foyer or classroom areas into multi-ministry centers rather than the worship space.

Some church leaders are making a conscious decision to have a dedicated worship space because the church’s philosophy is to focus on weekend worship and teaching. Others see an opportunity to go out into the community in more visible ways with small group meetings in a coffee shop, or an evening event at the local YMCA. (We will discuss this “third-place” church design trend in more detail in a future post.)

Returning to Traditional Worship Center Church Design

Another trend we’re seeing today is a return to traditional church design for worship centers. This is happening for various reasons. Some church leaders seek to meet the needs of older generations through this emphasis on traditional church design. In other cases, leaders are seeing that unchurched millennials are looking for a sense of history and a connection to the past. This image shows an example:  a return to wood floors, built-in pews, and a traditional central focus area are blended with bright modern lighting and light colors that help make the worship space feel expansive and welcoming.

This information on current church trends was shared in one of our recent i3 webinars. We offer these free webinars to help church leaders keep up with current trends and see what’s possible for your church building. We will be unveiling our 2023 webinar lineup shortly. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our next article in this series on church design trends.