Design matters…Size doesn’t
I have just celebrated my 6 month anniversary as a Visioneer with Visioneering Studios. I am having the time of my life…back in my sweet spot…partnering with churches to navigate the potentially stormy (or at least uncertain) waters of a church development project. I have spent more time in the air…thank you Delta…in the past 6 months than I have over the past 3 years. The upside is that I have been able to serve churches across the country…and even the globe…that are looking to be intentional with the development, design, redemptive engineering, facility stewardship and every aspect in the life cycle of a ministry facility. How COOL (pun intended) is that?!?!?
There is, however, one thing that has gnawed at me recently. It is not about who Visioneering is or the incredible services we provide. It is not related to the churches we are blessed to serve or the remarkably talented personnel on the team. No, it is about some misperceptions in the market place about who we are…what we do…and more critical, who we can serve.
A couple months ago I wrote a blog that addressed the “Who” and “What” questions entitled Developer vs. Design/Builder – 10 Attributes of Success. I shared the idea of a facility “developer”…a firm that was more holistic and inclusive in its approach to the entire process and not just focused on design or construction or some other component of the project.
The topic for today is more about the “Who” (For my ALV, tech and music friends, I am not referring to the 1970’s rock band from England). Let me share some comments I have heard the past several months:
You all only work on the west coast.
Visioneering only works with big churches on big projects.
Visioneering can only help contemporary churches.
Visioneering only does new construction projects…from the ground up.
I must admit that some of those comments were things I had questioned prior to joining the team. At the same time, I have personally lived a very different paradigm than this when I worked with Mel McGowan , Jody Forehand and David Dial on the renovation of the old K-Mart for Elevation Church. That was an east coast project and was a Redemptive Engineering project of old retail space.
Let me shed some light on the above and see if it helps clears up these misconceptions:
1. Visioneering Studios has regional studios in Irvine, CA >>> Denver, CO>>> Charlotte, NC. Each office is staffed with designers, architects, interior designers, and construction professionals. In addition, we have satellite offices in Phoenix, Austin, and Illinois. Our workload is well distributed across each studio with projects spanning from coast to coast…and even globally in Australia and Jerusalem. We actually hold more architectural and construction licenses east of Texas than we do west. Who knew?
2. Visioneering has been incredibly blessed to work with some of the largest, fastest-growing, and influential churches in America. Our resume includes churches such as:
- Saddleback Church
- Mariners Church
- Elevation Church
- Mountain Lake Church
- Scottsdale Bible Church
- Celebration Church, Austin
- Granger Community
- Central Christian Church, Las Vegas
- National Community Church, DC
- Southeast Christian Church, Louisville
But that is only part of our story. In the same way that megachurches make up a very small percentage of all the churches in America, these high-profile ministries only comprise a fraction of the hundreds of ministries we have successfully served. In fact, we are currently working with churches whose average weekly attendance range from about 250 to over 10,000…with project scopes in the $500,000 to $20M range. We even have a couple of projects whose scope is less than $100,000 to provide a Design Intervention of a lobby or platform to add congruency to their story. Within that range, the majority of our projects fall in the lower 2/3 of the range. So…size is not the driving factor…but rather, if the church is intentional about having their facility tell the story of their ministry and desire to become the center of culture in their community. Those are more important to us than size.
3. I would estimate that the majority of Visioneers at Visioneering attend a church that favors a contemporary style of worship. That is a personal preference per individual. I believe the fact that we serve so many contemporary-style congregations is more about the growth trend with those churches than our own personal preferences. The fact is, we have served many churches that prefer a blended or even traditional style of worship. We even know how to design a steeple (LOL). Again, it is less about our personal preference but what is right for the churches that desire to partner with us. Here is another thought for you to ponder…it is more about serving a church that is contextual (being relevant and intentional about reaching their “target market”) regardless of worship style. The style in which a church has elected to worship is not the motivating criteria for us. However, what is the driving alignment factor is vision and mission. Is the church intentional about their vision and mission…and if so…then how do we partner with them to provide a tool (buildings are ONLY a tool) to help them convey their story and accomplish the vision and mission. Period.
4. I recently was doing some analysis of the types of projects our team is working on. I looked at the 50+ projects that we have in some phase of planning, design or construction. I then looked at several categories ranging from new site development to tenant improvement of commercial structures. Here is my finding:
- New Site Development (virgin sites…no buildings or site improvements) – 25%
- Renovation/Extreme Makeover of Existing Campuses – 17%
- Additions to Existing Campuses – 33%
- Tenant Improvement to Commercial/Industrial/Retail Facilities (owned or leased) – 20%
- Extreme Makeover of Other Ministry Facilities Recently Bought or Inherited by a Church – 15%
It is clear that our scope and type of projects is diverse and fairly evenly spread out….much like the church at large.
So, if your church has a well-defined Vision and Mission…and you are intentional about telling that story and want your facility to be an integral part of conveying that story, then give us a call and let's explore how we can partner together to further the Kingdom.