by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 4/25/16.
One of the most cost-effective yet efficient tactics to reach multiple cultures is to offer multiple worship expressions within the same church facility. But unfortunately, most churches are built to hold only one worship celebration at a time. We should learn from movie theaters, who long ago abandoned the one-theater/one-screen to embrace the multiple screen approach (see the interesting history of movie mulitplex here). This allows them to reach out to multiple movie-going cultures at the same time.
I’ve posted elsewhere on this wiki- a leadership exercise to help leaders visualize multiple venue and multiple culture church designs. The attached map is a church in Southern California that is reaching out with multiple worship services at the same time. Here is the description a friend gave when he visited.
“A few years ago I visited and was blown away by the number of services they offered, and the way they truly embraced the southern California culture. Honestly, I felt dressed up and I was wearing pants, nice shirt (untucked), and sandals. Anyway, regarding their campus layout they have a service for everyone. Their worship center hosted their main service, where the pastor taught, and the worship was very similar that you would find in most modern churches – mix of acoustic guitar, keyboard, drums, etc.. Outside the worship center, people were seated on the pavilion. Here people could casually check out the service, while enjoying the beauty of southern California. Other areas of their campus had different styles of worship, but they all showed the pastor’s message, except the youth service, which had their own message. The “Plaza Room” and “Terrace Cafe” had a traditional feel where people sang hymns before the message. Tent 2 was rockin! Worship is this tent was alternative. They labeled it by saying it had a ‘Vineyard feel.’ Since I work at a Vineyard Church, I chuckled at this because the worship consisted of some screaming guitar, and people don’t like the screaming guitar when we have it on a Sunday morning. Tent 3 was a Spanish service. Tent 1 – I don’t know what was in tent 1. However, there was a wide range of opportunities for people to check out, and I found it to be very non-threatening. Also, because the parking was so far away, there was little congestion. Overall, it was a great experience, and I was amazed at all the different venues they had on one campus.”
Any idea which church this might be and who might be the pastor. The pastor and I earned our Doctor of Ministry degrees at Fuller Seminary in the same program. As a result he wrote a book about what he learned (any idea about the name of that book?).
Granted, this floor-plan is from sunny So Cal, but couldn’t this be adapted to more northern climes with a covered mall-type roof over the common areas? The average church couldn’t do this of course, but a mega-church could learn much from this design. And, since some of my readers will be leading (or advising) a mega church one day, I wanted them to be familiar with this design.
For more ideas about multiple venues see these wiki- articles: