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As campus designer for Ginghamsburg Church, in Tipp City, Ohio, Kim Miller has observed that when a church gets serious about Jesus' call, there is always a design element to be addressed. Kim asserts that physical space transformation is simply a backdrop for authentic people transformation. Change the space and the opportunity and environment to change the world emerges. This comes as a fresh challenge for churches and ministries struggling to present a new look to match their relevant message. An emphasis on ...
As campus designer for Ginghamsburg Church, in Tipp City, Ohio, Kim Miller has observed that when a church gets serious about Jesus' call, there is always a design element to be addressed. Kim asserts that physical space transformation is simply a backdrop for authentic people transformation. Change the space and the opportunity and environment to change the world emerges. This comes as a fresh challenge for churches and ministries struggling to present a new look to match their relevant message. An emphasis on spatial design is an incarnation of Jesus' call for new wineskins and is emerging as a key means to create community and the opportunity for transformation for a creative generation. This book is a practical guide for church leaders to transform their physical space into a ministry asset. Filled with pictures, tutorials and stories of spaces and lives transformed, Divine Rooms offers close-up snapshots of design-on-a-dime style looks, providing readers with usable ideas and how-tos that are supported by stories of real-life change from Ginghamsburg's diverse community and the many congregations with which Kim consults.
God in the Details
The fact that we're bastions of boredom rather than bursting with creativity and the release of the arts is such an embarrassment. We should be the place that is known for creativity as we have a direct connection to the Creator.
Did you know that twelve of the forty chapters of Exodus are devoted to aesthetics, that is, to precise details about altars and oils and offerings and everything in between? God had a wildly creative and multisensory image of how it was to be there in the holy of holies, and—let's be clear—the details mattered:
Have them make an acacia-wood chest. It should be forty-five inches long, twenty-seven inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high. Cover it with pure gold, inside and out, and make a gold molding all around it. Cast four gold rings for it and put them on its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Make acacia-wood poles and cover them with gold. Then put the poles into the rings on the chest's sides and use them to carry the chest. The poles should stay in the chest's rings. They shouldn't be taken out of them. Put the covenant document that I will give you into the chest. (Exodus 25:10-16)
Some say that 1 percent of what we do makes 99 percent of the difference. Attention to detail is not a new thought. Artists of all disciplines have discovered the difference between mediocre and amazing:
To create something exceptional, your mind-set must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail. (Giorgio Armani, Italian-born fashion designer)
The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. (Charles R. Swindoll, educator and radio pastor)
God is in the details. (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German-born American architect)
And although attention to the details in design, architecture, and basic housekeeping is extremely important, it's really about the potential of what can happen within the walls of these intentionally crafted spaces. Great design—and our subsequent calling—is not to impress our guests with all our dazzling efforts but to prepare places where people can experience connection to God and community with others in the best way possible.
I'm happy that the church was expanded by its use of gymnasiums in the 1980s and '90s, but we lost something profound. We lost the sensuality of spirituality and replaced it with song after song in the key of C, metaphorically speaking. I love music, but we've underestimated the power of physical design. Environment is how we exist on the earth! Not my idea, but God's. You may not feel that you are "into design," but because we are humans created in God's image, design is wired into us.
Addressing engaging environments, Andy Stanley encourages church leaders to ask, "Is the setting appealing?" and challenges us not to discount the importance of paying close attention to aesthetics:
It could be argued that the very first thing God did in time was to create an appealing environment tailored for his prize creation, that portion of creation that would be fashioned in his image, the image of the one who created an irresistible environment. Essentially, that's the story of creation.(Deep & Wide [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012], pp. 164–65)
Even as I write this, the absurdity of attempting to convince readers of God's creativity gene is beyond humorous: "In the beginning, God created." Bam. Forming the land, sky, plant and animal life, and subsequently human beings was the first recorded act of love that God chose to extend. Our call as humans and Christians—as "little Christs"—is to carry on the legacy, to not allow our busy, linear, routine-driven little lives to edge out the open, expansive, imaginative, and soul-tending nature of God, and to share that beautiful, authentic, holy "spirit" with a weary world.
Excerpted from REdesigning churches by Kim Miller. Copyright © 2013 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Part I Divine Design.................... 1
Chapter 1: God in the Details.................... 3
Chapter 2: Jesus on Hospitality.................... 5
Chapter 3: A Ministry of Mud 'n Spit.................... 11
Part II Makeover Momentum: The Who, What, and How of Nine Makeover
Chapter 4: Ignite Your Community.................... 25
Chapter 5: Express Your Creativity.................... 33
Chapter 6: Execute Your Concept.................... 41
Part III Steeples to Starbucks: Reimagining Worship Spaces................ 49
Chapter 7: New Church Plants: Simply Welcoming Environments................ 51
Chapter 8: Traditional Church Transformations.................... 55
Chapter 9: Coffee-Shop Environments: Reimagining the Table of God.......... 61
Part IV Stage Design.................... 65
Chapter 10: Room with a View.................... 67
Chapter 11: Courage for the Mission: What Is in Your Hand?................. 79