The word “unprecedented” has been used more in the past three to four months than perhaps it’s ever been used in modern history. A global pandemic. Cultural tension and a fight against systemic racism. Political and economic chaos. Fear.
There is no one way for churches to navigate the season we're in. No two communities are the same; no two scenarios alike. What’s achievable for one church may not be for another. What’s ideal isn’t necessarily attainable, and so churches, leadership teams, and pastors are finding themselves with an opportunity to “make lemonade out of lemons.”
The restrictions from the Coronavirus crisis have eased in many areas - while levels of discomfort and fear have not necessarily followed. Some church communities realigned their mission during this season of quarantine, refocusing their efforts and reexamining their priorities. Some completely pivoted and changed directions. Some went from a nearly non-existent online presence to a fully functional online church. We’ve seen some communities adapt quickly and focus more on hearing from God and loving their communities than on anything else. We saw this with stories like Jared Carlson and GracePoint in New Brighton, MN.
During these past few months, we’ve seen churches shift focus, create strategy on the fly, and build new ways of understanding, building, and supporting their community. We have discovered new - or at least expanded - definitions of words like worship, community, fellowship, and church.
As the COVID-19 conversation began to quell, a cultural crisis came. It ushered in an essential conversation for our communities about race relations. As the movement that started out of tragedy right here in our city of Minneapolis unfolded, we saw churches respond in a variety of ways. Community leaders, churches, and pastors made real-time decisions about how they’d engage their communities on these issues. They opened their doors, bridged gaps, and started having honest dialogue.
In the midst of each of these events, church leaders are continuing to move their communities toward their mission.
Whether your church’s doors have already opened up again or if you’re building up toward that goal…Whether you have been talking about race relations for years or are just beginning to examine the topic in your church…
Some of the questions you’re answering are incredibly practical: How is your lobby area or common meeting space welcoming to a diverse population? Are you reflecting physical distancing guidelines? How is your kids' program adjusting to new standards? What about foot traffic plans?
Other questions you're answering are much more philosophical: How will you address the topics that have come to the forefront of our culture…Not only for today, but for the foreseeable future? Regarding health, wellness, and safety? Regarding race? How are you engaging your community to help you solve the problems your specific community is facing? What needs to change in your own community’s culture?
Wherever you’re at as a church, Station 19 Architects of Minneapolis is your partner in making your vision come to life. We’re working with some churches to help them recalibrate their plans, shifting from either a major construction or remodel project to a more budget-conscious facility refresh project. We’re connecting church communities with resources and people that can help them be agile in challenging times.
If your church community needs expertise on leadership in facility planning, we are here to help. Wherever you’re at in the planning, fundraising, or designing process, we can help you take the right steps forward at the right time to create a hopeful future for God’s Kingdom.