Design a Church Refuge

Design a Church Refuge

For those that have their life filled with drama, going to church can be one place they can find rest and peace. As a church architect, one possible goal is to design a church refuge. This blog explores what a refuge is and how your church building could help provide places for people to relax and recuperate — design a church refuge.

Psalm 65:4 David’s Refuge

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You to dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. (NASB)

What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us inside your holy Temple. (NLT)

The author of these words, David’s life was not simple. Between when God anointed him to be king of Israel to when this occurred, David’s life was filled with about 15 years of running for his life from King Saul and the king’s army. When David did become king, the following years were filled with fighting with Israel’s neighbors. Then there was the Bathsheba incident. After that his son Absalom revolts and David has to fight to win back the throne. Then Sheba leads a small and short lived revolt and then there is a long three year famine. David’s words above likely came while in the middle of one of these high stress events. Yet, these words highlight how David finds refuge in the Temple.

Below are three design themes to make your church a refuge:

1. Bring Near To God: As much as possible, provide places for people to connect with God. This mostly happens in worship service. But are there other places people can connect with God? Prayer places, small group study places, and classes are the most common examples of places to connect. Make sure they function with this goal.

2. Blessed and Joy, Satisfied and Festive: Refuge places bring blessings to congregants, are joyful, satisfying, and are festive. Use angular or curves in your building or color and different materials to bring joy and a festive architecture. Use furniture and other small items to add joy filled options for people to relax. Unfortunately, the goal of some church projects is to spend the least amount of funds. They create boxes of boring architecture. This can be the opposite of places of joy.

3. Dwell and Live: The longer someone stays, dwells, or lives at your church, to more likely they will be refreshed and renewed. Make a dwelling place like church home where people want to hang out with friends and family. This concept can contradict many of the modern concepts of church where people are herded in and out as fast as efficiently as possible. Instead of efficiency consider the opposite, the journey. Life in Christ is about the journey. Consider the journey of your congregants, how they enter your building and stay in your building.

Design a Church Refuge Example

Kroc Corps Community Center Salem






Invigorate Blog, Robert Lee, June 3, 2014

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