I read Tim Cool’s book Why Church Buildings Matter: The Story of Your Space.  I picked it up due to a great podcast interview he had with Rainer on Leadership.  While the book was helpful and asked some good questions and contained some good ideas, the most helpful insights that a church can use instantaneously were contained within the podcast.  The book is composed of 31 short chapters.

Favorite Quotes

  1. Caution: Your virtual place cannot represent something totally incongruent to your built place (11).
  2. What we think is cool, relevant, and cutting edge can be just as generic as the coat and tie, white columns, red brick, and steeple (26).
  3. What messages are we sending to new people when we do things with less than excellence (30)?
  4. The concept is that we need to look for opportunities to develop wells on our campuses and within our communities and not just temples (43).
  5. As regular attenders of our churches, we tend to overlook certain items (54).
  6. Organizations suffer from a lack of vision clarity either because the leader fails to communicate it effectively or people simply don’t trust the leader enough (69).
  7. The building itself should enhance the vision of the church (78).
  8. Creativity is not more expensive (87).
  9. Facilities are merely tools to assist a church or ministry to fulfill its vision (104).
  10. It does not matter if your guests received a personal invitation to attend your church or they drove by it, all of them will go to one place first: the Internet.  They will seek to learn as much as possible before they commit to attending the first time (108).
  11. The space between buildings can be an amazing environment (116).
  12. Clear signage is a necessity, especially for people finding their way in a large facility for the first time (131).
  13. In short, environmental graphics address the visual aspects of way-finding, communicating identity and brands, information descriptors, and shaping a sense of place (134).
  14. The longer you live in a space, the less you see the obvious (142).

Book Overview

The church campus tells a story. Stories are all around us, in virtually every aspect of our daily experiences, which means that our church and ministry facilities also tell a story. Tim Cool offers a unique perspective on the importance of church buildings. These buildings are vastly more important than most understand. The church campus and the story of the people in the church go hand-in-hand and are interwoven into each other. We cannot neglect the power of story and how our church facilities communicate a story. In this book, several key questions about church facilities are answered: How does church space support the story of the people? How does the church space prime the heart, minds, and emotions of your guests? How does your facility bring people into the story of the church? Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.