The majority of churches don’t target just a single demographic. Instead, most of them seek to welcome one and all to their flock, from newborns and toddlers to college students and the elderly.
However, meeting the needs of every generation in a single building can be a challenge. There are, of course, details you can change in your sermons, activities, and communications, but another answer can be found in the construction of the building.
With the right space planning and design features, you can easily appeal to every generation. You might want to renovate an existing structure or modify your planning for the construction of a new church. Most structures for worship lack sufficient space or funds to incorporate every one of these ideas into their building, but surely you can use some.
Here are just a few suggestions to choose from.
1. Build a Nursery for the Babies
Nothing appeals more to parents with young children than being guaranteed at least an hour of uninterrupted worship while their children play in a well-supervised room. According to fire codes and square-footage rules for day care, you’ll typically need 35 square feet per child.
So if you have a 350-square-foot room, you have enough space for 10 children. If you’re a smaller church, a 10-kid space should be perfectly adequate. If you’re worried about attracting more children than the space can hold, you might administer an age limit to increase the turnover.
For example, set the entrance age of 18 months and state that children will “graduate” to an older classroom when they turn four. Whatever you choose to do, you can’t go wrong with a children’s space to keep the kids occupied and the parents happy.
2. Send the Older Kids to a Primary Room
When the kids are too big for a nursery, advance them to a primary class where they can learn the basics of your ministry and experience a more structured gospel educational system. Because this room will be more of a classroom than a daycare, you can manage with a smaller space.
Again, applying an age limit for the room will satisfy fire code and keep the occupancy rate at a reasonable level. For example, you might say that children can attend the primary class from the age of four to 12 before they must move on.
3. Create a Youth Retreat
The average teenager does not regard being forced to sit in a hard pew for an hour as a good time. This practice can too easily lead to your young members losing faith once they leave the nest. It’s wise to provide a retreat where they can learn about your faith while at the same time enjoy the companionship of churchgoers close to their age.
Make your church more youth-friendly by designing a youth area that’s big enough for both classroom learning on Sundays and recreation during weekday meetings. Most churches have a youth group that meets once a week to discuss the gospel and bond. You might include special alcoves for study as well as open spaces for meetings and games on weekday assemblies.
4. Provide Technology to Keep Young Adults at Church
The millennial generation, those between the ages of 18 and 35, is more connected to technology than any other. You might start using technology for your sermons and Sunday school lessons in order to keep them engaged. Installing WiFi is also a great idea for keeping young adults connected. It will make accessing online resources for your lessons easier.
You’ll need to consider a couple of renovations. First, a projector screen that can retract into the ceiling when not in use is convenient. A special closet in which to store your Internet router and other tech gadgets or accessories may be necessary. Both are simple renovations for the right contractor.
5. Install a Coffee Bar for Young Married Couples
Your young married couples — people who have been married only a few years at most and don’t have children — will appreciate opportunities for socializing with others in their position. A coffee bar is the ideal place for that kind of communion.
Construct such a bar in the foyer or a room just off the main chapel. It should include an industrial coffee maker, refrigerator, and storage shelves to keep the fixings. Make enough space for mingling comfortably. This may require an extension of your current lobby, but it will be well worth the remodel.
6. Have a Refuge for Parents
A place for parents of all ages is a must. When the kids are being cared for elsewhere, parents need a place to sit, visit, and meditate on the day’s sermon. Of course, they can be invited to participate in the mingling at the coffee bar, but they might also want something for a more mature group.
An extra room off the lobby, for example, could afford an excellent space for relaxation and meditation. Extend your current foyer to include this area, and furnish it with soft lighting and comfortable chairs and sofas. This will be the grownups’ place to escape from the noise of the coffee bar, children, and the rest of the world.
7. Construct Classrooms for the Elderly
Baby Boomers in particular put a strong emphasis on education. Aside from the worship chapel, they may also appreciate a series of classrooms where they can address their faith in a discussion-friendly setting, whether as Bible study or a Sunday school.
In the effort to include more young people in your ministry, don’t neglect the elderly. Renovating your church building to include classrooms is a great way to extend your ministry to suit their needs. It provides a more open environment for spiritual education and fulfillment, something the older generation tends to value.
8. Erect an Outdoor Pavilion for All
Finally, provide a space that pleases everyone in the shape of an outdoor pavilion and recreation area. When the weather is particularly nice outdoors, you can move the congregation there so children can play and adults can chat under cover from rain and hot sunshine.
Perhaps you’ll include a garden area. The great outdoors is one place where all generations can come together to experience joy.
Complete Your Renovations With Churches by Daniels
If you’re looking to include a few of these features in your existing church, or build a new structure from scratch that includes these elements, Churches by Daniels is your one-stop shop. We’ve been building churches since 1980, and our ultimate goal is to design a space for you that will further your ministry.
For more information about our craftsmanship, commitment, and amazing customer service, contact us today!