by Jim Hundt, Foresight Architects
Foresight Architects has been creating master plans since our founding in 1993. Since that time, we have completed over 70 master plans for churches around the country – most of which have since been implemented. We felt then as we do today that it’s not good enough for us to simply guide churches through a successful building project. We want churches to be successful overall—to have spaces that truly impact ministry and inspire change so the church can grow instead of just exist.
One of my colleagues has been looking for themes in the churches that were flourishing in numbers and in transformative life change. As they looked across denominations, church sizes, and regions, one common thread ran through them all—they were aligned in four specific areas:
Churches that understand the times–the culture in which we live–stay relevant and can adapt to changing needs. Aligned churches understand their mission field and who they are called to serve. They also know, in specific terms, how they plan to address those needs.
Aligned churches have a leadership team that is in sync, not only around their mission, vision, and values, but also around their church’s calling to reach and serve the community. This is key. Churches that are focused on being in and for the community build a leadership team to support strategic outreach.
Ministry includes all of the things churches do to accomplish their mission. Churches that are aligned on ministry objectives are pulling in the same direction. Churches that are focused on making an impact and gaining influence in their communities align ministry initiatives and programming around their goals to reach into the community.
Aligning…your facility with the culture, leadership, and ministry creates a frictionless way to ensure that every key aspect of your church is telling the same story.
Aligning your facility means creating space that enhances your ministry impact. Churches that are focused on being in and for the community will reflect this mission and value in the ministry space they create. You can say you’re a church that’s in and for the community, but if your church building says otherwise and shows no evidence of this value, this misalignment will hinder your growth.
A Time of Renewal
Having Gloria Dei’s church facilities send a message that is consistent with your church’s values has been a focal point of the master planning process. While the process started as a way to accommodate a new musical instrument, it has grown into an opportunity for realignment. While change is never easy, our experience has shown that change that is motivated by a desire to transform the lives of each other and our community brings about a kind of rebirth in the church. To once again quote from ELCA’s Principles of Worship, “the renewal of space for worship is an opportunity for the renewal of a worshipping community”. What a wonderful opportunity it has been for me to be part of this process at Gloria Dei. I am eager to share our work with you at the meeting on May 19th!
 Snider, Greg (2019, Feb. 20) “Building a Church In and For The Community”, https://www.aspengroup.com/blog/building-a-church-in-and-for-the-community