Expert perspectives on emerging trends, outdated
ones, and ministry-specific design movements
Dan J. McCormack: Power Access Corporation was founded in
1972 — 18 years prior to passage of the Americans with Disabilities
Act in 1990. We were among the first manufacturers of automatic door
openers and one of the few resources available to churches concerned
for their special needs members and visitors. We are grateful for the
opportunity to partner with thousands of faith-based communities. We
understand church budgets are stretched and recognize the greatest value
for church resources is gained through mission and ministry. We provide
a special church discount to make accessibility more cost-efficient.
Facility committees use member-volunteers to perform installation of
our door openers, supported by a 24/7 technical assistance resource. This
further facilitates the use of funds for each church’s mission.
David Strickland: Each faith-based facility is unique, which presents
exciting new challenges. But mostly, it’s the people. Church projects are
often led by volunteers investing their time, talents and earthly riches.
It’s inspiring to see and rewarding to be able to help them in the process.
Mark Allen: We feel that the Body of Christ provides the most
important service on Earth — helping people find and follow Jesus!
We’re honored that churches across the country have entrusted us to
be a part of their team. We’re passionate about the Church, and the
opportunity to express the creative gifts placed within us by God is
not only a thrill but also an opportunity to create environments that
honor God and inspire people!
As you look forward to 2020 and beyond, what design trends are you
expecting to ‘pick up steam’ in the house-of-worship market, and why?
Trung Doan, AIA
Owner, CEO and
Rodney C. James
Church Design &
AIA, LEED AP B+C
What’s especially appealing about working with churches?
Trung Doan: Churches are the hands and feet of faith, and we consider
it a privilege to equip churches to continue making a difference.
Rodney C. James: Mentoring, leading and helping pastors. Most
didn’t get a class in church design, construction or remodeling.
Kerry Jones: Pastors are visionaries with a passion to touch people and
build God’s kingdom. Churches are experts in building people, but often
not at building facilities. It’s our ministry calling to partner with pastors
and church leaders to provide expertise in facility expansion / renovation
in a way that keeps the church financially healthy and provides a means to
further advance both the Church’s mission and God’s kingdom.
Jones: For some time, new church designs have included a large
Commons area — typically around the size of the worship room seating
area. This multifunction space is used for people connection, small groups
and fellowship. We see this trend gaining momentum with AVL and other
ministry components to accommodate special services, such as baptism
Security is another area to which churches are devoting significant
resources. Secure children’s ministry areas have long been a high priority,
and that continues. We’re also seeing a trend to enhance building security
with the ability to quickly shut down areas of the building in the event of
a shooter or other emergency.
The lowering cost of LED video components is making them very
popular. So, they’re included in most new construction and renovations.
McCormack: Churches are increasingly incorporating accessibility
on their campuses — and keeping members, and even their local
communities, engaged in the process. It’s common practice among
our church partners to use charitable contributions specifically for
accessibility projects, including the installation of automatic door openers.
Strickland: Adaptive reuse — many churches are repurposing their
old buildings and finding old shopping centers or office buildings to
convert into places of worship. This is an economical approach since the
building envelope is generally the most costly part of a facility.
Technology is another trend we don’t expect to slow down. Churches are
postponing additions of large worship centers and instead simulcasting
services across their campus or to satellites. These are smart trends that
allow churches to serve more members in ways that weren’t possible
before, while simultaneously saving on costs.
Allen: Church design is as diverse as your home is from mine. We never
think in terms of “design trends,” as they have an expiration date. Instead,
through a detailed programming session and ongoing communication, we
determine “what church type” we’re designing for and “what specifically”
their ministry goals are. In great church design, the design team should
often challenge previous notions of building design for more satisfying
and effective ministry spaces.
C H U R C H S E C U R I T Y & S U R V E I L L A N C E • CHURCH EXECUTIVE