Standing in the middle of a movie theater lobby is usually no big deal (and certainly not a spiritual moment), unless it is the first Sunday morning of Promiseland, a new ministry to children in the early days of Willow Creek Community Church. Launching a ministry to kids in an out-of-the-box, rapidly-growing, already-influential congregation was a big deal; even bigger than I realized at the time, Willow Creek church in South Barrington, IL, about to surpass the 2,000 milestone in its third year, presented a brand new approach to “church” with fresh thinking from top to bottom – except when it came to children.
Church leaders are turning back to inner cities and building urban churches with missional zeal.
Churches have something in common with the amusement industry: Both are relentless in the search for ways to attract people. Amusement parks do it to make money while the church does it to build its ministry and spread its teachings.
Day care or child care facilities are a mainstay of many churches and church-supported schools. The benefits of these facilities to parents are innumerable, including the assurance that their children are in a safe, nurturing environment under the care of supportive, qualified adults.
Inspiration for innovation can come from unexpected places. For a South Korean congregation, the spark for innovation was fueled by leading American churches’ missional architecture.
How important is youth programming for teens in today’s churches? The youth are the church of tomorrow, right? Having a successful youth program will add excitement to any church. Unfortunately, often funding for students is not a high enough priority in a building project or the overall church budget.
t’s called The Refinery, for the young lives it is intended to mold and refine, who use its facilities. Saddleback Church’s youth center that opened more than a year ago is as much a community center too, providing a venue for events, weddings and sports.
Blondy Church of God in Hohenwald, TN, opened its newly built Family Life Center in the spring of 2008 for social and sports activities. The center serves as a gathering place and draws a steady stream of people.
Church is no longer just a place to gather and worship. It seems an increasing number of churches are finding new ways to involve young adults, teens and children in the church community. To accomplish this, some churches are sponsoring “extreme” sports activities by taking church groups to facilities that offer inline skating, BMX biking, skateboarding, rock climbing, paintball and more.