I was speaking with a home/commercial builder from our church recently. He’s been very successful and is a smart businessman. He seems to be able to analyze and predict trends fairly well and had readjusted his business several years ago in preparation for the coming changes he saw in the market. He has been following the recent economy, mortgage crisis, and building trends and his assessment is that this period of time will change the landscape of the housing market for years to come; especially in terms of the size houses and design of houses people build and buy. For example, he doesn’t think the tall ceilings or roof lines will be as popular in homes in years to come and people will go back to more basic interior designs. People will be looking for practical over prestige. (I guess some of the same things are happening in the auto industry.)
None of this is “new”. The same morning I had breakfast with this builder I received my new copy of Business Week magazine and they had a similar article. It was interesting, however, to hear it from someone on the “ground floor” of this industry.
Anyway, as a church leader, I couldn’t help but wonder how all this will impact our “industry”. Will people want churches to be more “practical” in planning new facilities? Will less be more in terms of buildings or even programs? Do we need to rethink how we use our buildings and how we make them more available during the week, so they don’t sit empty as much? Some of this was already beginning to take shape prior to the recent economic news, but will this spur changes faster than we might have thought? And, finally, will the church today make changes in the way we operate quickly enough to react to the culture shifts?
Of course, one trend that may happen would be something we saw for hundreds of years around the world. People may change their mindset towards putting less money into their own houses and more money into church buildings. Ornamental and stain glass could be the “new” desire for churches. It will be interesting to watch all this unfold.
Ultimately I’m glad we serve a God who is never-changing. Our end goal will always remain the same. If, however, our goal is to help introduce people to the never-changing God then we must always be looking for the best methods to accomplish that goal.