Millennials and Church Design

posted by Michael Raia

 

What aspects of a church environment compel Millennials, and what elements are attractive to those who do not currently attend church? A fascinating article on a study by Barna Group reveals some thought-provoking statistics on how Millennials react to church design. Some of my favorite quotes from Vice President of Research Clint Jenkin, Ph.D. are below:   

“It’s tempting to oversimplify the relationship between Millennials and sacred space, But the reality, like so much about this generation, is more complicated—refreshingly so. Most Millennials don’t look for a church facility that caters to the whims of pop culture. They want a community that calls them to deeper meaning.” 

“There are myriad ways to design sacred and communal spaces that call people of all ages to deeper relationships with God, self and others. No two churches will (or should) incorporate them all in the same way. There is no cookie-cutter, mass-production solution for welcoming Millennials to your space.”

The article concludes with suggesting questions your community can keep in mind as you build to include the whole church body:

  • How do our facilities present visual cues? Can people easily answer the questions “Where am I?” and “What’s expected of me?”
  • How do our facilities offer respite from the outside world? Can people find a place of peace that is accessible and comfortable?
  • How do our facilities connect to Christian history and traditions? What symbols or design elements evoke a sense of the sacred and tell the story of God’s actions in the world?
  • How do our facilities integrate elements of nature? How can we bring the outside in and take the inside out?

Barna Group is a research organization in Ventura, CA focused on the intersection of faith and culture. Barna.org offers additional reading and resources.