Chuck Swindoll said that there are four essentials of the church: learning, love, worship, and prayer. When you read Acts it doesn’t seem like a big multipurpose building with plenty of parking was one of the keys to establishing and growing the church.
Still, it would not be possible to learn, love, worship, and pray without being somewhere and wherever the place was it would have to be compatible with and support the four essentials. This brings up a good question. If we build a new building and we designed it to support the four essentials, what would it look like?
Here are a few ideas:
- I like the sanctuary now. It is comfortable, visually appealing, and has a feel of intimacy to it. I don’t think it works to do the same thing in a bigger space however. The sanctuary at one church is overwhelming with multiple monitors to see the pastor and stadium seating that can seat way more than I want to try to count. It felt like we were attending sporting event or a concert at the theatre and it does not feel like God is present. I think the architecture ought to be more traditional and create the feeling of awe and wonder and remind us that God is present.
- If learning is the deal I think that there should be many classrooms with good multimedia functionality that could also be useful for small group studies.
- It would really be good to have a library or study for people who would like to study on their own. Internet access with a subscription to some good on-line databases would be good too.
- For prayer I always liked the idea of a smaller chapel for people to have quiet time alone with God.
- It seems like there should be other places were two or three could gather for prayer in the church.
- I don’t know if love needs a place to be in the church building but I suppose that would be a fellowship hall of some sort. This place has to have a special design too. A military style chow hall will not do. We would be able to use this room for special dinners or events but that is also where we put the Starbucks coffee shop. We should have a number of stuffed chairs and high tables and chairs where group 4-6 could gather and talk. It needs to be comfortable and encourage intimacy.
- I think we might as well add that racquetball court for the pastor while we are at it.
An outside-the-box type plan would be to build only a sanctuary and fellowship area. We could set up places of prayer and study at various locations through out the city. We would have to lease the space or use public spaces and cover it with trained volunteers throughout the day. That would make the church available to people at a lot more time and places. It could be a good outreach thing too. People could come to Discovery for spiritual matters instead of the palm readers. We would actually be meeting people’s needs when and where they need it.