The Life of JaWS

A blog by Jason Sansbury

Friday, March 09, 2007

Church builds...

Recently in the magazine Fortune, they ran an article that dealt in part with Apple, Inc. and their initial push into having their own retail stores. From the article, I found this passage particularly interesting:
"One of the best pieces of advice Mickey ever gave us was to go rent a warehouse and build a prototype of a store, and not, you know, just design it, go build 20 of them, then discover it didn't work," says Jobs. In other words, design it as you would a product. Apple Store Version 0.0 took shape in a warehouse near the Apple campus. "Ron and I had a store all designed," says Jobs, when they were stopped by an insight: The computer was evolving from a simple productivity tool to a "hub" for video, photography, music, information, and so forth. The sale, then, was less about the machine than what you could do with it. But looking at their store, they winced. The hardware was laid out by product category - in other words, by how the company was organized internally, not by how a customer might actually want to buy things. "We were like, 'Oh, God, we're screwed!'" says Jobs.

And I have to say, though I know it is almost entirely not possible, this is some advice that churches ought to consider before building new projects. In large part, churches try and take ideas from other churches, without understanding why they work. Now, I am a fan of church architecture and even what it says about our theology. However, I also think that at this point, function is more important than form.

I have said on occasion recently that if I were ever to start a new congregation, that a building wouldn't be on my radar. I would much rather buy a large old retail space and adapt it to our needs. Here is why I think it would work:
1.Large retails spaces have high ceilings and few walls. Which means in a given season of the life of the church you put up and take down walls with ease. A few pieces of lumber, some drywall and paint and you can adapt it as you need. And if you build and decide it isn't working, it is easy to fix.
2. You would have storage. Every church I have ever served in had a storage problem. Now, admittedly, some of that issue is because churches hold on to things but a large retail space would give you the flexibility to store a ton of stuff.
3. Parking...duh! Taken care of...
4. Community-wise, it takes a vacant building and renovates it and puts it to a good use. Retail stores are built in high traffic areas, so people will know where you are!
Just some thoughts...


At 2:28 AM , Blogger Mamakomeere said...

As usual, you're on to something here...imagine how many cots you could get in there when opening as an emergency shelter AND I always thought it would be great to have a deli handy - then the Baptists couldn't beat you to Sunday lunch!


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