church life question and response transforming the community

Church Building Usage?

Scott and his wife went to see Falsettos at the Jewish Community Center recently. This raised some questions for them about what are the appropriate uses of the physical space of a congregation. I am not able respond fully to the question for the Jewish Community Center, but would like to respond from what I know at Resurrection.

At Resurrection, we hope to be a place that is welcoming to the community. This is played out in many different ways including hosting: the Kansas City Symphony Pops Series, Bible Study Fellowship, an annual event for teachers in the Blue Valley School District. Hosting outside events is part of our vision of transforming the community. It also creates an opportunity for those who might not otherwise ever experience the hospitality of the people at Resurrection to have a taste of some of what it means to live in community as a part of the congregation.

What events would we not host? I am less clear of that list and know that the team of Executive Staff have the opportunity for final approval for any outside event. Like all that we do here, their decisions are based on our purpose of building a Christian community where non and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.

Scott, thanks for the question and hope that you enjoy this response. If you have a question to which you would like to hear my response or a topic which you would be interested in reading my thoughts – send me an email or ask when you see me.

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

6 replies on “Church Building Usage?”

Personally, I think that the nave should be kept sacred. I’m partial to no chit chat in there before or after service. If extra things are hosted in a separate area, like a gym or something other than the nave, then I think that would be just fine, because you’re not imposing on sacred space. But, that’s just my little opinion 🙂

mommablogger – I think that you make a great point. There is something to be said about keeping the space of worship sacred. Do you think that the primary space for worship should only be used for worship? What about a space for teaching or larger gatherings?

At Resurrection, the Wesley Covenant Chapel was the original structure of the church and is now used primarily for weddings and funerals and one service on the weekend. It is also a great space for large group teaching – accessible, media friendly. It is used from time to time for this purpose, particularly on Sunday mornings. However, there has been some thought about what is the right time or content for which to utilize this space.

Thanks for your comment, you are helping think more about this topic.

Andrew, your question is an interesting one. Prior to my time actually managing a church facility (Resurrection West), I probably would have had much more of an “open door” mindset for outside activities in the church facility. While I still believe this mindset is overall a good thing, here is a bit of the counter argument. If/when you tie up the facility with an event (especially if it is ongoing), it decreases your ability to schedule ministry activity in that space when a need comes up. If you fill the schedule for your building up so that there is always activity going on (church related or otherwise), you now create lots of issues when you try to plan anything ad-hoc. Right now every night of the week except Friday has an activity going on here at RezWest. You are now stuck in a tough spot if an immidiate need comes up for a missions project, a seasonal activity, or other engagement that you feel the congregation needs. Overall, my point is that I believe you should always be running a bit under capacity on your facility (even if it means turning some things down) in order to maintain the flexibility to handle unexpected needs that are directly related to the church’s mission.

I think sometimes there is a difference between what is preferential and what is reality. Some churches, especially those in older buildings, don’t always have the space for holding events in other areas. Our church is actually a prime example of that. We do however attempt to segregate things like church related teachings and sessions, and other things that while enriching may be less appropriate in a sanctuary setting. Thankfully we do have an area that, while small, does have a kitchen and eating area where we can hold some of the smaller events. We are growing so quickly lately though, that it will be interesting to see what happens when we start running out of usable room.

We’ve also worked towards having certain types of media items that allow for some flexibility. In part because of the age and size/layout of our building, but also because we do occasionally have the need to move things around to accommodate different events. For us, this has been a great blessing in several situations.

Travis – Thanks for adding your comment. I think that you are right on here, but the need for flexibility in scheduling was not something which I had considered. There is a balance here…

mommablogger – Thanks for the follow up and response. The kitchen or availability of food of some sort does make a big difference on the types of events that may be held. For big events this is usually catering at Resurrection – at times this is good and at times not so good.

I can’t imagine trying to cater a large church. Almost everything we do is along the lines of potluck, which is fun because there are a lot of people with very different tastes. I imagine if we keep growing the way we have been though, we may need to start doing something along those lines. Although, I’d probably still be crazy enough to offer to cook for some of the bigger events 🙂

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