Church Lessons from HGTV
What our design says about our values.

I was sick in bed, my poor wife by my side, during a class reunion weekend in South Carolina this past weekend. I usually make sure I get the remote control quickly in hand, so I can steer the programming toward the exercising of my mind: ESPN and Fox Sports are two of my top choices. But my wife beat me to the coveted piece of gadgetry in our hotel room. So I spent the day watching or hearing HGTV design shows. I had nausea when they started, but after awhile watching design shows, I told my wife it was getting worse.

Really I did like some of the shows, like Color Splash by this cool Asian guy with tats on his arm. But the take away after a saturation of design tips and styles were some thoughts on how design is a reflection of us, how we see ourselves, and who we want to become.

Have you ever wondered what your church space says about you and God? We often pick our cars based upon our personalities. (Is that why we get so offended when someone cuts us off? In the Middle East and Asia, this happens every two seconds. They don't seem to care.)

We can look at our homes and see what type of people we are by the way we arrange furniture, paint or don't paint walls, the type of art we have, what we use as our focal point for guests to see, the rooms that we care about usually get more resource dollars.

How about the church? The truth about design is that it reflects values, perspectives, priorities and beliefs. Design is also a good way to define the reality of your heart. When many of the early missional movements began, the focus was on resourcing the people in optimum settings of growth with tools to enable them. The focus in these movements isn't physical structures as much as it is human beings.

Again, questions may lead us to answers. Instead of just giving a few thoughts on what I believe about space perhaps some questions may guide us to a reality that we didn't know existed. It may be different depending upon the culture we live in. We may soon discover as we ponder these questions, termites have been quietly eating away the very values we said our buildings were built with and some fissures have appeared in that firm foundation.

Here are some questions that can help define reality:

? Do people mostly refer to your building as the "church?"

? What does the design of our space tell us about where and how we see the maximum growth happening?

? What does the allocation of the dollars you spend on your space indicate about your priorities? Is it where you want it to be? How does this jive with movements historically?

April 30, 2009

Displaying 1–3 of 3 comments


June 10, 2009  4:12pm

The color splash guy has some good designs but I don't think he's Asian.

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Steve Martin

April 30, 2009  10:31pm

I hate HGTV. But I like watching sports so I have to give a little to get a little. (a very un-Christian idea)

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April 30, 2009  1:56pm

So, Dave, could you give us your best answers to the questions? I'd love to hear how a real-life church actually tries to respond to these (very good) provocations.

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