Florence—Great pastors are usually good storytellers, but how many have stopped to think about what story the church building and grounds convey?
“During my 10 years at the Walt Disney Co., I learned that good storytellers can go beyond words to use images, aromas, textures, soundscapes and spaces to tell stories,” said Mel McGowan, co-founder and chief creative principal of PlainJoe Studios.
McGowan will be a keynote speaker at the Kentucky Baptist Pastors’ Conference Nov. 14 at Florence Baptist Church.
As a strong believer in Christ-centered communities, McGowan travels the world helping churches tell God’s story by re-imagining existing facilities as places where people live life together, a “third space” outside of the nuclear home and work.
“Throughout history, communities have always thrived around sacred spaces,” said McGowan. “What would it look like if we took the time to intentionally design them?”
Last year, McGowan worked with Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, to develop a master plan for creating spaces that are inviting and conducive to sharing the gospel with the community.
“It’s all about what you can do to better engage your community,” said Severns Valley Senior Pastor Bill Langley, who urges Kentucky Baptist pastors to look at their facilities from the eyes of the unchurched.
Langley said one of the future developments in the Severns Valley masterplan will meet his community’s need for a 300- to 400-seat chapel for weddings and funerals. To use the stand-alone chapel, Langley said couples would first be ministered to through pre-marital counseling.
Other outside-the-box plans include a walking trail circling the church, a coffee shop and acres of usable green space. The ideas of a disc golf course or an outside movie theater to show weekly family-friendly films have also been bounced around.
“Our facilities are our tools. We should use them in the best way possible to accommodate worship, evangelism, discipleship and fellowship,” Langley said.
Others scheduled to speak at the Pastors’ Conference include:
– Eric Geiger, vice president of Lifeway Christian Resources;
– David Nasser, evangelist and vice president of Spiritual Development at Liberty University;
– Kenny Rager, pastor of Life Community Church in Owensboro;
– Curtis Woods, associate executive director for convention relations at the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Attendees at the November conference will elect a president for the 2018 Pastors’ Conference. Mark Shelton, pastor of Burkesville Baptist Church, will preside over the 2017 conference.
For more information, visit www.kybaptist.org/pastors. (KBC)