SERVICES: Master Planning, Architecture, Interior Design, & Construction
Last year we were honored to receive the Solomon Award in Best Church Design for Youth and Children’s Spaces with the second phase of construction with Centerpoint Church in Murrieta, California. Pastor John Hansen and his team invited us to envision a property where families, high schoolers, and junior high schoolers could gather and have a sense of belonging, as a tribe of their own.
The result was a state-of-the-art, 750-seat worship center, and a 15,000 square foot youth and administration venue, housing youth activities, after-school programs, and an indoor/outdoor cafe. We were able to take Pastor John’s concept for the space, and bring it to the next level of purpose, all while working within Centerpoint’s budget.
We have a place now that we are able to use for a dynamic explosion of ministry that’s fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit.
–Pastor John Hansen
At Visioneering Studios, we can’t wait to see how Centerpoint’s campus continues to evolve into a safe and welcoming place for families in the Temescal Valley. Take a further look below Behind the Build of Centerpoint Church:
When does a building become more than a pretty facade?
Note from the editor: Drew is the new Youth Pastor at my church, Mountain View Church, in San Juan Capistrano, CA. When I read this from him this past weekend, I felt that it needed to be shared beyond our church’s email list. His heart for the new facility is exactly the reason why Visioneering Studios does what it does. It is not just about the building — it’s about what Jesus is doing inside the building, in the community, and in the lives of the people who attend a service or an event. Although we may not be doing the work for this new facility, we are fans and celebrate the work being done by MVC. These are the types of servant leaders we love to work with.
What is impressive about a cup? It’s a cylinder with the top-end open and the bottom closed. Sure, one can be styled to look ornate, perhaps even to attract some praise. But no matter how beautiful it is, a bottomless one is of little value — a cup exists to hold something. A house is the same. There are certainly incredible mansions and beautiful dwellings, but if one sits empty, is it truly meeting its intended potential? Its purpose, first and foremost, is to serve as a container for what is inside. When a cup is best fulfilling its purpose, it is an afterthought to what it contains.
At one time, I was part of a church with a beautiful campus (that’s right, not a building — a campus). In fact, I am not sure I’ve seen one more incredible. Often people visiting would comment, “Oh, what we could do with a campus like this!” or, “If we could just have a building like this one…” I wasn’t always sure why, but often these comments would rub me the wrong way. It wasn’t that they were completely off-base. It was an incredible space that I often took for granted, but somehow, I knew that they were missing it.
What was special about that place had never been its outside shell (as incredible as it was). Rather, it was the space it created. Space where people walked me through the best and worst moments of my life (and everything inbetween). Space that fostered a community that produced my best friends, my pastors, my mentors, and my wife. Space where we all worshiped Jesus together. Space that allowed me to cry with, shout at, and be transformed by Him. It was a space where I grew, ministered, experienced breakthrough, experienced freedom, was baptized, was married, where my brother and I baptized my dad, and mourned the loss of my dad. I know that those buildings were made most beautiful by the stories played out inside of them.
The Purpose Of Our New Container
As I thought about our new building and the kind of space I desire it to be, I reached a realization.
A building that finds its greatest honor in itself, is an empty cup searching for purpose.
It is a house that has never been a home. Instead, a building, like all other containers, is meant to find fulfillment in what it holds. Don’t hear me wrong — this building and its design are of the utmost importance. We need a place that is designed with community in mind and Christ at the heart. A space that communicates God’s embrace of the wandering and the weary. A container to hold a community of people striving to love God and love others well. We want it to be a place where we feel comfortable to laugh with friends, cry with family, pray for the hurting, welcome the lost, and worship the Lord our God.
I pray that this container is God’s pouring-out-point for his Spirit on every kind of person. A place where our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young people will see visions, our elderly will dream dreams. May it be a cup that does its job so well that it is merely the backdrop to the incredible work that God will do in it. Not just on Sundays, but every day, in new and creative ways.
And like no other cup, the contents of this container are intended to overflow. We pray that God will send the love incubated here out across all of our cities. That the freedom found here be sent like shockwaves throughout our lives and the lives of those we encounter. And that His kingdom come and will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
A Beautiful Humble Purpose
My hope in communicating the humble purpose of our new space is not to devalue it at all! Rather, I hope that in this we can value it all the more. That we would see beyond the external beauty that it will undoubtedly have, and look more to the internal beauty that it will undoubtedly hold.
So as we approach the excitement of our new building, I hope this will shape our enthusiasm and vision for the future. I envision a space that will be the stage for Jesus to declare good news to the poor, deliverance for the captive, sight to the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. I pray for a cup that overflows with the beauty of God’s Church. It is in this that we will find that our new house has become our home.
Drew Tilton is the Youth Pastor at Mountain View Church in South Orange County, CA. Drew has his Masters degree from Talbot School of Theology and has many years experience in youth ministry. He and his wife Marissa enjoy hanging with good friends, sports, and street dance battles. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org
On this week’s Influence Podcast, Influence Magazine Senior Editor John Davidson talks with our VP of Development Advisory Services about maximizing your church’s space.
WHY IS THE CHURCH SPACE SO IMPORTANT?
WHAT IS THE LANDSCAPE OF CHURCH ARCHITECTURE TODAY?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST WAYS A CHURCH CAN MAXIMIZE ITS CURRENT SPACE?
These are just a few of the questions John Davidson of Influence Magazine presented to our own Randall Coy this week.
From wells and cathedrals, Development Advisory Services, what environments communicate, and how your neighbors view your church, Randall offers critical advice for any ministry leader considering a church design-build.
Services: Master Planning, Architecture, Interior Design, Construction
In January of 2016, The Father’s House in Northern California celebrated the Grand Opening of Phase 1 of our partnership, which included a brand new auditorium and children’s building. Over the last 19 years, this powerful community has grown from just a few people in a living room to now three campuses, including Napa, East Bay, and the newest — Vacaville.
Pastor Dave Patterson had a vision for the Vacaville location to take people on a mindful journey of God’s presence, no matter where they went on campus. “When we started this project, we had a verse in Exodus 33 that says, ‘God don’t lead us up from here without Your presence.’ Visioneering took that verse from Exodus and created a storyboard that took us from the Wilderness, right into the Promised Land, through the Red Sea with a Cloud of Glory — all of which was represented architecturally. It was quite enjoyable watching that process come to fruition.”
From the flaming “Pillars of Light” to the Children’s Ministry area called “The Passage,” every detail incorporated into the design and architecture of The Father’s House helps tell the story of God leading His people out of Egypt from a life of slavery to a life of freedom. It’s Pastor Dave’s desire that every person stepping on campus would feel the same hope of God’s chosen people in that story of Exodus.
Additionally, for the first time ever in TFH’s 19-year history they have a campus that’s publicly exposed — allowing them not only to thrive and grow in the area, but further their vision of reaching more people who are far from God.
“Since we’ve been in this new auditorium, we’ve seen close to 1,000 people added to this location. We’ve had people come who have never attended church, and we’ve been able to do some nights of worship and events at a brand new level.”
At Visioneering, we can’t wait to continue our partnership with Pastor Dave’s team into Phase 2 of the Vacaville campus, and keep revealing the God-story their community has to offer. Take a further look below Behind the Build of The Father’s House:
What if I told you that a leader should never say thank you to his team? You probably wouldn’t believe me, would you?
Even if you grew up with deadbeat parents, you were probably taught to parrot the words “thank you” every time somebody did something nice for you. Every kind word and every Christmas gift required a gracious “thank you” as payment for services rendered. After a while, those words become a part of our regular, mindless vernacular.
But have you ever stopped to think about what the words “thank you” imply? Think about it. In the most subtle way, “thank you” suggests that I appreciate what you just did for me. “Thank you” infers that you just did me a favor.
So, I guess “thanks” is perfect if you someone gift-wraps a new sweater for you. But if you’re a church leader, do you really want your team to believe that they’re doing you a favor by volunteering– that their service was for you? Wouldn’t you rather have your team serving God and be driven by the mission of the church than helpingyou do your stuff?
Look how Paul shows his appreciation for his team in Romans 1:8 when he says:
“I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you.”
In other words, “God has done me a favor by putting you in my life.” Or maybe, “I am so grateful that God has put you on my team; I’m so blessed to be serving with you.” Paul’s language is so inclusive.
So next time, instead of saying “thanks,” use language that conveys gratitude for the gift of serving or working beside exceptional people. Your volunteers are not doing you a favor. And they’re not serving you.
Put your outdoor work in orderand get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Proverbs 24:27 (NIV)
I spent 2 years of my life traveling and interviewing the top churches in the country about what kind of building we should build. We finally designed it, had an architect draw it, and created our master plan for all of our property. The only thing was, I never felt a peace about building this thing.
My wife and I planted Coastal Church in Daphne, Alabama 4 years earlier and it had taken off like a rocket. We had three Sunday services running over 1000 people every weekend, and looking to add a fourth service to handle the growth. Everything in my head said that a building was the next thing, but I just couldn’t get it in my heart. I prayed and fasted for 2 years for direction, but I had no clear direction from the Holy Spirit to proceed.
Then one day, while sitting in my recliner, a thought entered my mind: “What if we built all of our toys first?” What if we build something that celebrates the beautiful Gulf Coast and invites the community to come and do life together with us? When I said that, the direction from God that I sought for 2 years came and creativity began to flow. My wife loved the idea (always ask your wife — she will tell you if your idea is idiotic). Our trustees loved it, and our lenders actually said to me, “Chad, if you guys do this, it will change the way people build churches everywhere.”
As Pastors, we are taught in seminary and Bible college to build our sanctuary first. It went against all of my training to build a mile-long walking trail, a baseball field, 2 basketball courts, 2 playgrounds, a 5,800 square foot coffee house, and a splash pad first! Before I presented this to everyone, I asked for a scripture that I could stand on and God, who is rich in mercy, provided.
“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). Upon reading this, I laughed and whispered through my tears, “Yes sir, Jesus!”
Not only were we able to build all of this by God’s grace, we now have 5 campuses with over 2,000 people attending each weekend. We are still packed and adding services again very soon, but the same God who led us here will show us the next step to take, and the next seed to sow for our future. In the meantime, we are having the time of our lives!
The built environment of our cities are not simply neutral containers in which people live. They communicate much. How do you exegete your city to find out?
Many of us have been mystified by the observational prowess of Sherlock Holmes. We all have our favorite actors who played this legendary character, from Robert Downey Jr. in the movies to Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC television series. What is it that captivates us about Sherlock Holmes? It is his innate ability to deduce and unpack so much meaning by simply observing.
At the beginning of every semester, I tell students in my classes that studying and understanding cities is “first of all a visual sport,” as urban historian Sam Bass Warner notes in American Urban Form. Whether we’re talking about the Pre-Columbian city of Cahokia, or walking along the heavily gentrified neighborhood abutting North Williams Avenue in Portland, we can learn to apply our Sherlock Holmes powers of observation. You see, everything around us is communicating a value system. We simply need to pause, take a mental note, and discern not only what values are being communicated, but what they mean.
Throughout the semester, we map different neighborhoods as well station ourselves at various intersections, counting not only how many people we see on bicycles or pedestrians, but other things like ethnicity, gender, if they’re wearing helmets or not, and so on. We then debrief the data. What does this mean? What does it communicate about this neighborhood?
In their book, Planning to Stay, Morrish and Brown note, “Physical features are the tangible resources that expresses a neighborhood identity
influence its values, and shape its social and economic structures.” In other words, neighborhoods are not neutral in their communication of values — what one observes reveals much.
Listed below are 10 easy ways for you to exegete your city (or neighborhood), guided by questions:
What value system does the built environment communicate? Are the buildings deteriorating? Mixed-use? Set back from the road? Do the buildings cater towards a specific demographic, socio-economic grouping, or ethnicity?
How does the built environment shape the way people live in the neighborhood? Cities are the containers that influence the life and culture of the people, and shape the urban experience.
How old are the buildings? When was the neighborhood built? One can learn to discern communities built before the car, during the streetcar era, or with cars in mind.
Walk into a few of the stores and businesses. Who are they marketing their products to? For example, what does the presence of a Whole Foods communicate when it is placed in a gentrifying neighborhood, where before it was classified as a “food desert”?
Who do you see out walking? What is the observable demographic breakdown? If you were to return in the evening, is it the same or different? This is often more helpful than formal demographic reports.
How are people getting around? On foot? Cars? Bicycles? Public transit? This could reveal the innate walkability of a neighborhood or its car-dependency.
Where do people cluster together? What draws them there? Can you identify a natural gathering place, whether a park, plaza, business, or street?
What drew people to this neighborhood? This moves beyond simply observing, but is discovered through conversations with homeowners, business owners, and renters. Often times, people move into neighborhoods based on cultural affinity, shared values, and even political affiliation.
Where do you observe hope? Conversely, where do you observe brokenness? How are those revealed in urban form? Like a fever is a symptom of an internal illness, what we see can reveal what is both helpful or hurting in a community. This could be a new community center in a low-income neighborhood, or a burned-out and neglected building that attracts criminal activity.
Where does the church need to get involved? This could range from a tactical urbanism intervention project, a church opening up their parking lot to host food carts, planting an urban garden to provide fresh vegetables for the neighborhood, advocating safe routes to school so children can bike and walk safely, and much more.
The point of these questions is to (a) learn to be even more observant of your neighborhood, and (b) to ultimately spur you into some kind of action. The rest is up to you.
——————————————- Sean Benesh is a church planting strategist for TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission).For further reading, you can pick up Sean’s book, Exegeting the City: What You Need to Know About Church Planting in the City Today.
This Four Seasons framework serves as a map for those who dare to follow their transformative journeys.
Life is a collection of transformative journeys.
When I reflect on my own transformative journeys, I notice that there is a seasonality to each one. From personal endeavors to entrepreneurial ventures, each journey could fall under what I call “The Four Seasons.” Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, I created “The Four Seasons” framework to serve as a trail map for myself and others who are daring to answer their calls to adventure, or their journeys of transformation.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to serve as a guide for a number of artists, non-profit leaders, educators, entrepreneurs, and others through these Four Seasons. Through this framework, we bring clarity, enable courage, develop grit, and instill the generosity needed for their journey ahead. Each season, as shown below, is marked by a question to help move you through the cycle realizing, answering, and returning to your calling. Let’s take a deeper look.
WINTER: The Call
The transformative journey begins here in the world of the ordinary, the status quo. Then, in a single moment, you are disrupted by a call. This call might be an idea that illuminates new possibilities, or an experience that stirs the heart’s desire for change, or a still, small voice calling you forth. Sometimes, this call is born out of tragedy, loss, or a void. Regardless of its nature, the call will not go away. It will continue to gnaw at you until you stop what you are doing and give it the attention it requires of you.
As you explore this call, you arrive at the threshold from the old to the new. You may choose to step forth, but sometimes you are pushed across.
THE QUESTION: Will you answer the call?
SPRING: The Crisis
You step into this new and extraordinary world. Yet quickly, your anticipation and excitement are attacked by what Steven Pressfield calls, “The Resistance.” The Resistance is very strategic — It knows that we are our own worst enemy, so it attacks our identity. The Resistance is also brutally efficient. It simply sparks the fuel of doubt and allows our own voices to tend the fire of insecurity and uncertainty.
“Who do I think I am?”
“Am I an imposter? What if they find out?”
“Am I a leader? A creative? Qualified? Smart? Beautiful? Charismatic?”
This is when we rise up to the challenge. We clear the clutter and remove the noise. We choose to become the person we need to be.
THE QUESTION: “Am I?”
SUMMER: The Craft
In this season, you step into the “cave.” This is when the work intensifies and confidence grows. With each step deeper into this cave, you begin to identify the capabilities necessary to continue on this journey.
The mystery and uncertainty of the cave darkens your vision and path, so you learn to navigate, climb, and travel in darkness. With each step, your understanding of the nuances deepens. You read books, listen to podcasts, find a mentor, and attend trainings. You learn to innovate, inspire, write, lead, and build. And you discover that the best learning comes from trying. You add to your toolbox of skills.
However, the backpack you carry is preventing you to navigate through the narrows, so you meticulously remove the items that are not essential. You say “no” to unnecessary things in order to say “yes” to the journey.
THE QUESTION: “What are the capabilities and capacity I need?”
FALL: The Return
You battled your way through the cave. You may have slain a dragon or barely survived. You started a movement, wrote your first book, led a team through a project, became debt free, or maybe you discovered what not to do. Regardless of the situation, you discovered that the treasure is not the outcome. The true treasure is your transformation. You leveled up.
With a renewed strength of identity, capabilities, and capacities, you are a new you. You can now give this gift to the world. You bring a greater presence and value to every relationship, service and community. You deepen the meaning you bring to the work you, instead of extracting meaning from the work. Your ordinary world is transformed. It is now the new status quo, until you are disrupted once again by a call to another adventure.
THE QUESTION: “Now what?
“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself,
and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself,
I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and
I could indeed have changed the world.
– unknown monk”
Have you ever wondered if you're a "creative type"? Here are 5 ways that you can shift your thinking and channel your inner Creator.
I was recently talking to a good friend when he stated very matter-of-factly, “I wish I was creative, but I just don’t have a single ounce of creativity in my whole body.” It really bothered me to hear him say that, and as I thought about it a bit more, I realized that a lot of people I know have made similar statements. After awhile, I understood why it bothered me so much – because it’s not true.
I strongly believe that every one of us is creative, and to prove the point I’m going to take us back to the beginning…the very beginning, as in Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Let’s focus on the first five words: “In the beginning, God created…” The first thing we learn about God is that He is creative– not just creative in the sense of painting pretty pictures, but creative in the sense of designing perfection and delicate balances of life. Shortly after in Verse 27, the Bible states, “So God created man in his own image…”
This is a huge statement. Have you ever really thought about what that means? For this conversation, the takeaway is this:
GOD IS CREATIVE = WE ARE CREATIVE
What exactly is Creativity? This is not a simple question to answer by saying creativity is A, B, and C. To truly understand what it is, we have to understand what it’s not.
CREATIVITY IS NOT APOLOGETIC. Here’s a great quote from a gentleman named Marty Neumeier: “Great ideas are never polite. They never say they’re sorry.” If we’re worried about what other people think or what they’re going to say, we’re building limits to our creativity before we even begin. We can’t be truly creative while trapped inside a box with a lid. Remove those limits, give all ideas generated a voice, and see where they take you.
CREATIVITY IS NOT SAFE. The status quo, typical, same-old approach is safe, but when has truly inspired creativity come from the status quo and doing the same thing over again? Creativity doesn’t always play by the rules. We need to understand this and be willing to take a risk. Set aside your fear and step up to be creatively rebellious. This is the path to new ideas.
CREATIVITY IS NOT EASY. It takes a lot of effort and at times several failures to resolve a creative task. Have you seen the scenes in a movie when a writer keeps ripping the page off his notepad and tossing it into the trash? Eventually, the trashcan is overflowing and there is crumpled-up sheets of paper all over the floor. That, at times, is a good picture of the Creative Process. Do not be discouraged, and keep charging ahead with new ideas. Eventually, one will surface that will move things forward.
CREATIVITY IS NOT FOR A SELECT FEW. I believe everyone is born creative. When a child learns to form sentences, the child is being creative. Have you ever met a child that didn’t like to color? Yes, some don’t color within the lines, but I doubt Jackson Pollack or Picasso did either. Think of creativity as a muscle. Every single human on the planet has muscles – some more than others. Why? They exercise their muscles and develop them. Creativity is the same way. The more we exercise our creative muscles, the more creative we can become, but keep in mind there will always be others that are “stronger” than you are.
CREATIVITY LOOKS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE. I think we tend to believe we’re not creative if we can’t paint a masterpiece, draw a building, sketch a portrait, or write a song. Yes, those things require creativity, but those aren’t the only creative avenues. I can’t tell you what your creativity looks like, but I’m pretty sure all of you reading this can write down an idea that popped into your head. At its most basic, creativity is giving an idea a voice. Writing something down to remember later on is a creative act.
If you bought into the lie that you have no creativity whatsoever and you’re creativity is “out of shape,” the following are some steps you can take to start developing those muscles again. You can start by hanging out with people you find to be creative. Talk with them; pick their brain. Read more. Write more. Carry a sketchbook and draw. It doesn’t matter if you’re drawing stick people. Drawing helps us to see the details that are all around us and will help you to intentionally start to view the world differently. Be sure to notice the green of a mallard’s head. Start seeing the rabbit-shaped clouds again. Hear the ballads of the birds outside your window in the morning. This is how it begins, and it won’t be long until you find creativity’s fuel.
Once found, there’s no wrong answer on how you use it. Just know that God put it there for a reason, and take action. That action of giving your idea/inspiration a voice is one avenue of your creativity. Own it.
A fully-equipped mental base camp is stocked with these five Vision Frame elements, and one irreducible question of leadership for each.
Recently, I talked with 5 different ministries in pursuit of vision clarity. At one point, Tim, with the E4 Project, started sharing the benefit of Auxano’s vision clarity process as we were refining their Vision Frame — a litmus test of clarity for the ministries we serve. I love the imagery he used: “It’s giving me a mental base camp as a leader.”
Bam! That’s it. Another brilliant picture of the power of clarity.
What is a “base camp?”
“A center of operations, organization, or supply. A camp from which expeditions or other activities see out or from which they can be carried out. A main encampment providing supplies, shelter, and communications for persons engaged in wide-ranging activities, such as exploring, reconnaissance, hunting or mountain climbing.”
These definitions highlight three different aspects of the power of clarity, and why every leader needs a mental base camp:
It creates a center of visionary operations of how we think.
It defines the place from which every idea, conversation, decision and action initiates. Everything sets out from a prior understanding of our “base” identity and baseline mission.
It supplies, protects and communicates essentials so that people can be involved in a very broad range of activities and pursuits.
A fully-equipped mental base camp is stocked with these five Vision Frame elements, and one irreducible question of leadership for each:
MISSION as a Missional Mandate:What are we doing?
The missional mandate is a clear and concise statement describing what your church is ultimately supposed to be doing.
VALUES as Missional Motives: Why are we doing it?
Missional motives are shared convictions that guide the actions and reveal the strengths of your church.
STRATEGY as a Missional Map: How are we doing it?
The missional map is the process or picture that demonstrates how your church will accomplish its mandate on the broadest level.
MEASURES as Missional Life Marks: When are we successful?
Missional life marks are a set of attributes in an individual’s life that define or reflect the accomplishment of the church’s missional mandate.
VISION PROPER as Missional Mountaintop + Milestones:Where is God taking us?
Vision Proper is the living language that anticipates and illustrates God’s better future.
The trip to any base camp begins with a Trailhead. To get started on your base camp journey, download Auxano’s Vision Trailhead Tool for your team today.
In the end, where there is no base camp, there is no common gathering point and no great summit experience.
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, his latest personal-clarity company, Younique, and is the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.