Should Church Design Change To Meet A New Generation?
Churches have been staples of our communities for thousands of years. Often, the churches in areas such as the UK have been standing for longer than the houses around them. Even here in the U.S., buildings like The Jamestown Church in Virginia has been standing since 1647. And these buildings have barely changed. Why break what works so well? A design which lasts for that amount of time has got to be worth keeping. Hasn’t it?
Yes, and no. Churches are a staple part of many communities. And, it's heartwarming to think they'll still be in place for hundreds of years to come. Even non-religious individuals can appreciate the historical relevance of buildings like these.
But, all is not well on the church circuit, and it seems something needs to change. There’s no getting around the fact that we live in a culture where young people tend to avoid church religiously. This is no secret. In fact, studies show that one-third of millennials don't affiliate with any faith. That’s a 10% increase since similar statistics in 2007. At this rate, the buildings we’ve fought so hard to protect will become near enough obsolete.
Of course, churches themselves aren’t the issue. In reality, millennials are growing up in a world where science tops belief. But, increasing levels of crime and violence testify to the damage a lack of faith can do. After all, the best thing about belief are the calls to be good people.
But, churches aren’t entirely faultless, either. These dated buildings often struggle to appeal to a younger audience. So, many would argue it’s time to shake up tradition and design churches with a new generation in mind. But, what should a millennial church look like? Let’s take a look.
Subtlety is key
Church buildings shout loud. And, so they should. They’re beautiful. But, it isn’t ‘cool’ to love religion these days. Thus, a church which is clearly a church can be excluding. Few millennials would feel proud to enter. So, perhaps subtlety is best. By building churches which could be anything, more curious youngsters would feel able to attend.
A space to suit young needs
The limited activities available at church also exclude youngsters. They have enough of sit-down sermons while in school, after all. Instead, it may be worth building more churches like the Rhema Church Youth Building designed by the construction company, Churches by Daniels. With concert spaces and gaming areas, buildings like these could just provide religious interest for a millennial age.
A chance for self-expression
Millennials are a creative bunch, and the chance for self-expression is essential. But, the protected status of old churches makes this near enough impossible. In most cases, these buildings are listed and set in their ways. So, perhaps we should also build new churches which youngsters can paint and redesign as they wish. In many ways, allowing millennials to alter a space which suits them could be the best way to get them back on board with faith.