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I’ll Take a Number 7!

I’ll Take a Number 7!

An essay by church designer Lisa Masteller

How many times have you sat down with a group of girls (sorry guys, being very gender-specific) only to order the exact dish as the person before you? In fact, the whole party usually has a variation of the same theme.

Now is there anything wrong with ordering the same thing? Not particularly, but when initiating a design direction for a new worship facility, you need to be honest with who you are, where you're from, and who your congregation is as a whole.

“Like McDonald's proves, popular doesn’t necessarily mean good. I’m not particularly interested in what's popular; I’m much more interested in what’s good,” says, Kris Sowersby, on design.

I may get some feedback for this, but hear me out.

As church planting has taken root within the past several years, there have been more start up churches and pastors who have gone from conference to conference, looking and listening to the ones who have gone before them. Gleaning inspiration from the “tried and true.”

Looking up to a megachurch for inspiration, as you start your group of 30, just doesn't translate the same, nor should it.

Though megachurches are there to serve as a springboard for direction and inspiration, I urge you to not let this be your ONLY source of diet when establishing your "visual" connection to your community.

Presently, most conversations cover the following item: website, logo, printed material, T-shirts, hospitality, "coffee or no coffee," kids area and set design.

Since coming from a retail background, I personally don’t look at churches as my main inspiration. I do, however, tend to absorb what’s happening around me.

Take your local shopping mall, for instance. They are intentionally hitting you with design in high volumes. Being exposed to these types of spaces gives you the current color trends, forecasting of new materials and textures, as well as signage, utilizing both font placement and visual slang.

The challenge is resolving to still be resourceful and fresh.

Everything you consider can still have an intentional look, yet still remain honest. People are wanting more than a relevant churchthey are desiring the simple and hard truth, which is the Word of God and a sense of community back in their lives. This doesn’t mean design doesn’t have its place. It most certainly does; it just needs to be done well, and appropriate. In other words, having its "place within the space."

As one who looks at the world through the lens of design, I too have a laundry list of wants and desires, that someday I dream come to fruition.

In due time, God will grow [a church's] congregation and provide the perfect timing for you and your team to design or redesign the next phase in the life of the church.

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