Architecture: Elements of Worship Series (Part 12)

The church is losing the significance of architecture.

The observations I’ve often made about the modern church in regards to its being enamored by entertainment are often generalizations.  I certainly understand that there are examples which are outside these trends, and I am grateful for many who think biblically and theologically before diving into the latest and greatest fads.

Another instance of an entertainment mindset is the nature of modern church architecture.   This area is not one most people would consider to be an “element” of worship.  Yet, if we desire for our worship to be holistic, we must also take into account the visual nature of our world and our understanding of how to redeem the visual.

In previous centuries the architecture of the church building was a message in itself, speaking the Gospel through its presence and design, as well as its decoration.  One can visit these structures and “see” the gospel in the artistic expressions of the stained glass, or the majesty of the spires.  Although the spoken word is silent from day to day, the “seen” word is proclaimed moment by moment.  (I explained this more thoroughly in the post titled, “Music and the Arts as Tools of Evangelism.”)

Yet, modern design is utilitarian.  The prevailing philosophy is one of high technology and practical spaces.  Buildings are designed for the best theatrical lighting and sound reinforcement.  The beauty of architecture and design is often foregone in order to spend money on “really important” aspects that are practical in nature – as well as to make attendees comfortable and at ease.  A practical building is important, but why must that be at the expense of beauty and message?  These buildings, as buildings, often say nothing of themselves.  We can have a worship service or a rock concert, a spiritual awakening or a sales meeting, because the space itself says nothing of its purpose or its message.  It is plain – and practical.

What can you do, even this week, to make your worship space more visually worshipful?

 

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Posted on May 12, 2015, in Architecture, Arts, Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, Leadership, theology, Worship Leader and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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