As I’ve participated in the Church Renewal Lab as a student intern, I’ve been excited to discover stories of creativity from multiple congregations. Growing up, all churches seemed similar. They varied in style of worship, preaching, and dress code of course. But other than those distinctions, churches seemed about the same. They had the same general structure for worship, and they had many of the same programs. Occasionally I’d hear of a new program or ministry approach but this was the exception, not the rule.
As my exposure to congregations has increased, I’ve discovered greater creativity than I anticipated. For example, take a look at the articles churches have shared on The Network with the Church Renewal Lab. These stories are filled with creativity. They excite me about the direction of the church. Let me share another story about a creative approach to “doing” church.
In Niagara Falls, Ontario there is a missional community called The HUB that I had the privilege of connecting with this past summer. Here is how The HUB describes their ministry:
“The HUB is an inclusive, welcoming, communal space for people of all ages that is available to organizations, businesses, local groups for endeavours that seek to foster a healthier community and city.”
What caught my attention is the willingness of The HUB to use their space for the community. In conversations with people from the neighborhood, The HUB discovered there were multiple artists in the area, but nowhere for those artists to display their art. So The HUB became an art studio. Additionally, the congregation discovered they were in a food desert so they brought a farmers market to the building. They have offered their facility for anything that can serve the community.
This desire to have a church facility serve as a key space for community activity was new to me. Church facilities are known as spaces used one day a week and remaining empty for the majority of the week. The HUB, on the other hand, has offered their space for use on every day of the week. In doing so they’ve had the unique opportunity of getting to know and serve their near-neighbors. They have been building relationships and have become good neighbors.
I wonder if there are other creative ways church buildings could be used to serve the communities in which we live.