The changing face of church design

Times have changed for modern churches. While the typical 20th century church buildings look very much like they always have, many new 21st century churches are very different.

Traditional design and ornate architecture are expensive and labour intensive, which is why church architecture has become much simpler over the last 20 years. Constrained budgets have led to the use of the same building for many different functions.

These rooms aren’t just for worship anymore – they can be a space for indoor recreational activities, concerts or even classrooms.

The new multi-purpose nature of these buildings is having a clear impact on how some churches look. The large, open look that some churches have today from the outside is partly the result of the trend toward multi-purpose spaces.

Traditional choir lofts, for example, are giving way to the large multi-purpose staging.

Will these trends continue to change church buildings? Unistage, which has been providing staging for churches for 10 years, say that the firm has seen a rise in demand for multi-functional worship areas.

Stephen Huckle, Managing Director of Unistage, said: “Worship spaces are becoming more like a theatre with staging and tiered seating rather than pew seating.

“In some churches, the chancel and choir loft have become more like a performing arts stage.”

Other multi-use spaces serve many different purposes, including being used as gyms as well as public meetings and meals. In some cases Sunday Schools are also becoming multi-purpose too.

“These spaces often have their own stages with elaborate sound and lighting systems,” adds Stephen.

“They are being centred on large performance spaces with stages and flexible seating.”

Many modern churches have come to terms with the fact that the 21st century calls for more flexible worship spaces. New churches now have facilities to help meet members’ spiritual and physical needs.

If churches wish to attract modern worshippers, they should consider following this trend.