Design & Construction

We Have A Really Ugly Church Building

Photo Credit: FCC Hopkington, MA
Faith Community Church in Hopkinton, Massachusetts is transforming their facility by designing good people flow, themed ministry areas, an enlarged worship center with new technology, and attractive “living room” type commons areas to reach New Englanders.

A perspective on important considerations when selecting a building project partner.

George Cladis  ·  October 5, 2017

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“WE” are Faith Community Church in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.

A friend of mine in Nashville, Eric Eitel, CEO of MediaShout, said, “George! You always seem to work in towns I can’t pronounce!”

Before Hopkinton – pronounced HOP-kinton it was Worcester. That’s Woos-ter, not Wor-ces-ter. The town of Hopkinton is the starting line for the Boston Marathon.

Thousands of marathoners race past our property, but fortunately the building is partially hidden from the road – that is a blessing. New England is a region of scenic hamlets with quaint center-of-town churches forming picture-postcard scenes – but not our church. It’s a very big, stark white box.

“Pure, Puritan drab,” quipped my colleague, Jocelyn Pierce. 95,000 square feet of ugly! And the inside is worse. Pastor Mike Laurence tells me the local bank was afraid to finance the church building twenty years ago, unless it could be sold and made into something useful; you know, like a nursing home or school.

So the inside is a labyrinth of classrooms with plastic tables and chairs punctuated with oddly shaped bland multi-use spaces. First time I toured it, I thought the bank must have been thinking “prison” for one of its possible uses — should the church fail. In fact, it’s a testimony to a gracious God that the church has grown and thrived at all.

Our worship and our people have provided the color and enthusiasm the building itself works so hard to dissuade. We might have been able to just grin and bear it, confident that a building doesn’t make a church, except that we grew to have great ambitions for reaching unchurched New England with a whole new ministry model.

Pastor Mike, realizing our ministry style had reached its peak, pulled together a group of our leaders and pastors to think and pray strategically about how to reach the unchurched.

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