One reason for church leaders to attend our free i3 webinars is to learn about and keep up with church building trends. Each year we cover the topic at least once because trends, by definition, change and develop over time.  

Over the next series of posts, we’ll highlight some of the design and construction trends that we see happening today. Some of these church building trends are new, and some you may recognize, as they have become more established over time. We will share both, because it’s important to note how established trends evolve and are impacted by new church design principles.

Understanding Models vs. Principles for Church Design

These principles should not be confused with models. There’s a difference in church design. A model is an imitation of a concept that has worked in a specific situation, a one-to-one replication. Copying an architectural element, a complete church design, or even a ministry program are all examples of modeling.

A church design principle is much broader. It’s meant to be something that any church could emulate in their own church building, in their own way. Principles apply universally, whether a church is located in the snowy north or the desert south, whether inner-city, or rural. As we talk about church design and building trends, we will focus on principles, not models, so that the information can be relevant to church leaders throughout the country.

A Key Foundational Church Building Principle

There is one principle that almost every church should employ: design your church building with mission in mind. We’ve talked frequently about the need to have a church vision for mission, and to let that vision guide you in making decisions and choices about the look and functionality of your church building. A church building should be a tool to help you achieve your God-given mission.

At one time, church design was basically the same. For example, in the 1950s and 60s most churches had a sanctuary on the top or primary floor, with pews on each side and an aisle down the middle. Children’s classrooms were downstairs and arranged on both sides of a central hallway. During that era, the design was replicated literally thousands of times in churches across the United States.

In contrast, today’s church design is much more varied. This is because church leaders have begun to realize the need for a church building that supported their vision for ministry.

In upcoming posts, we will look at specific church design principles which are trending today. Meanwhile, sign up today to learn the latest about church building and design in our remaining free i3 webinars for this year.