Churches of all sizes are finding ways to create space for community and personal connection. Here are six ways to create community space.
Legitimate Interior Design
The majority of churches today employ welcome centers, and at times, even multiple welcome centers. This is a new trend but a rather necessary one. These centers provide information on different church programs and events. For the community's convenience, these stations provide an avenue for church goers to connect with various church programs, volunteer opportunities, and outreach events. Some churches have even created self-help centers for their congregants.
A lobby acts as a hub for a variety of spaces. It's a place where you can come in to and connect to other areas of the church. This "hub" is also kind of a third place now because people meet there. Care needs to be taken with the church design because the lobby is not built for the purpose of community.
Besides home and work our society as a whole visits grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops and occasionally, someone's front porch. Have you ever thought of a place that you could meet apart from these places? Third place is a very important element and architects should design rooms in churches—not too fancy and big—but normal spaces with a comfortable environment where people can meet to talk.
Churches now have book stores located in their building. Along with printed material these stores may also carry DVDs and CDs. Some churches use their bookstores as a venue to host artists' events to attract the community. These present a great opportunity to connect people in a positive way. Even smaller churches can incorporate book stores—they help in creating interpersonal connections between people.
Churches now are turning into gathering places. The interior design plays an important role in people's interest in spending time with the community. If the design is attractive, people would love to come in and enjoy their time there.
Food courts and cafes have become an integral part of the church. Linoleum-tiled basements with folding tables and chairs were once the popular gathering spot where food was served. Today, it's not uncommon to see a full-service café or restaurant with permanent tables and seating. These dedicated areas are built to encourage people to stop in, socialize and spend time in the church.