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018. Warehouse Church: The Future and Purpose of Worship Spaces (Andrew Von Maur)

If buildings could talk, what would they say? On this episode of Advent Next, we’re continuing our conversation with professor Andrew Von Maur, asking questions regarding modern religious trends. Warehouse churches have grown in popularity over the years, and on this podcast, we discuss how this style of worship came to be as well as what the future of worship design might hold.  

“We have the capacity in the way we build our communities, in the way we build our buildings that have shared value, to communicate what we believe and to have those buildings reflect our values.” 

As we look back on ancient civilizations, “Architecture is proof of the majesty and authority of an empire.” The pyramids of Giza or the Acropolis of Athens, “those buildings express something about the power of that civilization and their ideas.” From ancient days architecture has been used to speak the ideas and values of a community. As we invest less and less in communal spaces, a movement towards the mundane might cause us to miss out on the valuable opportunity to speak through the design of our worship spaces.

“Architecture is often on our money in that it somehow represents ideas. Like the Lincoln memorial, represents Lincoln and the Gettysburg address…Those colossal scaled columns say something about the authority that that idea has.”

Thinking intentionally about worship spaces means more than simply thinking of a person’s comfort and aesthetic surroundings. We must think in terms of mission. Thinking missionally means we must ask ourselves the question, “Are we trying to use the building to further our mission, or are we trying to use it to evoke certain memories?” Have we placed too much nostalgic emphasis on cultural icons that signal religious values like the authoritative religious signaling of Gothic architecture, or are we truly thinking of the best way to accomplish a defined mission?