We are resistant to change.
The longer we do anything a certain way, the harder it will be to both explore and enact new ways of being.
Visit many churches today and you’ll notice two dates engraved into brick and stone on their outside: The first date, usually before 1920, commemorating the original church structure of the sanctuary and fellowship hall underneath. The second date, ranging somewhere in the 1950s, to celebrate the addition to the original build—filled with classrooms and offices, open spaces, perhaps even a chapel or a gym, and almost always a really big kitchen.
There was a time when a church was a vital part of a neighborhood’s ecosystem. Gatherings of all shapes and sizes and throughout the entire week was commonplace. Potlucks on Saturday mornings. Bible studies throughout the week. Weddings and funerals. Athletic ministries and knitting clubs. The church was a hub, beyond just spiritually, a value-add to most communities and its residents.
I’m afraid those days are long-gone (but not lost forever). Active church buildings serving as vibrant community hubs are practically extinct (or most certainly on the endangered species list.) And the longer we have settled into a Sunday-morning-centric modus operandi, the more stuck we have become and the harder it has proven to imagine renewed ways of being.
In our hopes to partner alongside churches well, we believe one of the strongest services we provide is creativity. We aren’t boxed in by Sunday morning. Our focus hasn’t turned inward. And we aren’t strained by the realities of aging demographics, declining attendance or dwindling generosity and tithe.
While we believe we offer some innovative solutions and frameworks for churches to reengage their neighborhoods and reactivate their spaces for community good, what we’re really doing is echoing voices of yesteryear—remembering days from decade’s past when our buildings were intentionally positioned as neighborhood assets.
The inertia is strong, but nothing that a strong dose of creativity can’t overcome. We believe as we dream and scheme beyond our boundaries and borders, flourishing awaits us all.