By Dave Milam & Nathan Elder
The start of every new year brings an avalanche of predictions about what the year will hold. This year is no exception. With COVID trailing behind like a dozen clanging cans tied behind a honeymooner’s car, this year’s church design trends forecast monumental change.
1. Healthy density in design
Have you ever noticed that car dealerships cluster together in the same part of town? You’d think the cut-throat nature of auto sales would force dealers to build far away from the competition. But dealers know a healthy density will bring people to their lot, and foot traffic sells cars. Build on an island, and they’d starve like a hungry castaway rubbing sticks together.Churches have discovered the large moat of land surrounding their property doesn't increase foot traffic on Sunday mornings. It's actually a barrier to growth. Click To Tweet
Church leaders are beginning to understand this principle. That’s why in 2022, you’ll see mixed-use developments immerging to help activate dormant church property while also increasing monthly revenue to the bottom line. Churches have discovered the large moat of land surrounding their property doesn’t increase foot traffic on Sunday mornings. It’s actually a barrier to growth.
2. Cater over kitchen
With the surge of convenient food delivery services combined with a flood of ever-expanding health code regulations, it’s time to reimagine hospitality within the church. The investment of installing a commercial kitchen can run well into the six figures. Once you add ongoing maintenance plus operational cost, the return on investment often isn’t worth the headache.With the surge of convenient food delivery services combined with a flood of ever-expanding health code regulations, it's time to reimagine hospitality within the church. Click To Tweet
On the other hand, food trucks and catered meals offer alternative food service options and take up a fraction of valuable real estate. So, unless you plan to feed the fish and bread to 5,000 people every week, the best bang for your buck is simply a click away.
3. Church on demand
From Instacart to instant coffee, the world is moving faster than ever, and the church has to keep up. So this year, churches will begin building permanent studio spaces to create content that can be delivered on-demand. With dedicated studio space, a church can film, record, and stream endless amounts of content from kid’s curriculum to leadership courses and broadcast it around the globe within minutes.
4. The great indoors
When the outside world blends with the interior landscape, it results in engaging environments where people feel comfortable and at home. These spaces promote a natural feeling of openness and a sense of community by seamlessly weaving the two worlds into one. In 2022, you’ll begin to see the lines between indoor and outdoor environments being blurred—especially in community spaces.You'll begin to see the lines between indoor and outdoor environments being blurred in church designs—especially in community spaces. Click To Tweet
5. We’re bringing techy back
In a world where products like Ring, Google, and Alexa connect us more than ever, churches are starting to assess and implement technology solutions within their building design. In 2022, you’ll begin to see churches push the tech boundaries with “smart” technology, remote child check-in, high-tech security systems, and LED everything.
6. Cyberspace and the workplace
COVID has officially ended the era of cubicles, executive office suites for every staff member, and forty hours sitting at a desk. Before the pandemic, the office served as a functional place to push papers and hold meetings. But these days, offices serve a different purpose—to create culture.Show me your church staff workspace, and I'll tell you about your church’s culture. Click To Tweet
In a season where people don’t “need” to come into work to get the job done, the workspace design is now taking a more attractional approach to entice employees to work onsite. As a result, the workspace now stands at the epicenter of a church’s culture. So show me your workspace, and I’ll tell you about your church’s culture.
7. The coming metaverse
There’s a shiny new object on the horizon: the “metaverse.” We’re standing at the dawn of a brand new age in technology—like AOL in the 1990s. The next 20 years will see an alternate reality where virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are married. If you don’t understand what it is, go ahead are rewatch the Matrix a couple of times. Believe it or not, that’s where we’re headed.
The futurists among us are beginning to gobble up real estate in the metaverse to develop virtual campuses with a price tag of anywhere from $10K-$300K (no kidding). As we barrel at break-neck speeds toward the inevitable new reality, “human experience design” will become the focus of the church design world—not just creating functional environments for people to do the work of the church but space where users can have a brand new, safe, intuitive, real-life experience.
8. Simple, clean, and spacious design
In 2022, you’ll continue to see a clean and straightforward design palette. Retail shops are reducing inventory, removing shelves, and expanding the size of the aisles. Americans are getting used to even more elbow room. As a result, in 2022, you’ll see an increase in the functional square footage requirement for community space—high volumes of open area have become the norm.
Dave is the vice president of strategic design at Visioneering Studios.
Nathan is the director of strategic design at Visioneering Studios.