Posted in From the Editor on October 2, 2014 10:18 am EDT

What Can a Pastor and Former NFL Player Teach You About Design?

This editor thinks he can help prime your mind for better 21st-century church space design. Here's why.

Pastor Miles McPherson of the Rock Church in San Diego speaks at WFX 2014 in Dallas.









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TAGS: architecture, business, community connection, design, philosophy,


By Carol Badaracco Padgett

Think about this: Sixty percent of the people in a convalescent home never get a visitor. This fact can absolutely help generate bright ideas for your next church design. Because when you create church space, you don't simply create a space for people to come in and worship together. You create a space for a church body to gather, to formulate a plan for taking the body of Christ out into the surrounding community, and then to walk out the doors and provide help and love to people. That's the church in action.

Keynote Address, Food for Community Thought

On Oct. 1, 2014, at WFX in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in downtown Dallas, Miles McPherson delivered the opening keynote address. McPherson is pastor at the Rock Church in San Diego -- and yes, a former NFL player, and a gifted speaker. But what McPherson really helped WFX attendee pastors and architects (albeit, understandably, mostly pastors in attendance at this event) wrap their heads around is that their facilities are there to help facilitate ministry. And oftentimes ministry is sending the church out to where people in need are living and working, because they're unlikely to come walking through the doors on their own, no matter how beautiful and community gathering-oriented the church design.

McPherson shared that his church has a portable kit they take with them out into the community, so they can set up a video screen and audio and stream in Rock Church's worship, sermon, and message into a strip club, for instance. Or a sports bar. Or an outdoor event. Or a local prison. Basically, anywhere they can obtain the necessary approval first.

So if a building were equipping church members to go out into the world and offer a helping hand and God's love to people, what components would it need? I kept wishing WFX would have an architect follow up McPherson's keynote with one defining what the whole concept of the keynote might look like in terms of modern church design.

Does Your Next Church Design Need a Mud Room?

Perhaps. I was also envisioning a load in and load out room with electronic gear, much like television studios had in the late 1980s when I worked there as a class intern while at the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo. You had to have a place to gear up, check out what cameras, lights, mics, etc., you were taking out into the field with you. Wouldn't you need something like this in a tech ministry if you were sending people out into the field of their community with a portable streaming church production rig?

And then what about when some of the people a church reaches out to in their communities DO start walking in through the church's doors. Some won't, but some invariably will. Where do they put their stuff? They might not walk in with simply a handbag or a diaper bag. They may come in with a shopping cart. You never know.

Design for community connection could get really messy. Or at least it could take some planning that moves beyond the typical church. Because what McPherson was calling on WFX pastors to do was to stretch themselves and their resources well beyond the typical church. "Here we are. Here's our pretty building. Come inside sometime and see how pretty this is and what we do in here."

What if a large part of "what we do in here" is get ready to go out there with God's message of love and hope? What would that building look like?



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