As work continues on the former St. Vincent’s Church on Shelby & Oak, it’s hard to contain my excitement for this new facility, which will become our Midtown Campus gathering place later this year. This past week, the Sojourn Midtown staff and I walked through the building and inspected all the progress made so far. To your right, you’ll see a photo I took from my phone, looking out the third story window on our neighborhood.
In a class I took 12 years ago, Dr. Hershael York challenged his students to imagine our dream location. I imagined restoring a cathedral, and described walking into that place. Now when I walk into St. Vincent’s, it’s like I’m living out that dream. Hundreds and even thousands of families will worship there, grow deeper in their understanding and desire for Christ there, and become bonded together as God’s family there. The way we design this space is important, because it can’t help but have some effect on the people who will gather there.
As I think on these things, it deepens my understanding of space. The church is not a building, but the buildings we make impact how we do church.
Kevin DeYoung wrote a post on church architecture, lamenting the fact that “we don’t have a good book that can help churches think theologically about the building they have and the building they want to have.”.
Yet resources are out there, and the opportunity exists for each of us to think theologically about this topic. This year I hope to deepen my understanding of space. I hope you’d like to deepen your understanding, too. Over the next few weeks I’ll write one post a week on a theology of space, and I hope you’ll join in with your comments and questions.
For now, consider this quote from John D. Witvliet, Professor of Worship at Calvin College:
“Worship spaces quietly, but persistently, form us in certain habits of heart, mind, and body— the difference between houses in the city with front porches and houses in the suburbs with fenced in back yards.”
- What do you think? Consider different church buildings you’ve visited or attended in your life. Does space matter?