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Projects | Planning to Grow

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In his most recent contribution to Faith & Form, Bailey Edward principal and leader in Faith Environment design, Robin Whitehurst, addresses the need for worship communities to develop a master plan in order to ensure "alignment between the facility and the goals of the ministry." Such a plan informs both growth and maintenance of the physical space to match the goals of growing the community.

Robin shares that a good master plan starts learning what the congregation wants and teasing out the future improvements they may need in the future. From here, the existing space is taken into consideration, outlining as Robin calls "…what spaces are available and what repairs, if any, are required to maintain the facilities' functional performance," including code and accessibility studies, as well as any historical elements in need of preservation or maintenance.

The recent master plan for the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago, led by Bailey Edward, is the perfect example of how such a plan can improve a Faith environment. The North Shore Baptist Church has been in Chicago for well over 100 years and caters to four multicultural congregations. And while all these groups share the same space, they each have their own needs and goals for growth, making a master plan all-the-more necessary.

Perhaps one of the most immediate issues of all four congregations was the need for additional fellowship space where the congregants can gather without interrupting the next service. Phase I of the plan involved expanding a small narthex off the main room and opening it up to create a bigger gather space with a folding glass partition that allows the area to be opened to the main congregation hall if more space is needed. Because Phase I of the plan has been so successful, the North Shore Baptist Church has been easily able to move on to Phase II: renovating the lower level and main area of worship, Howell Hall, to accommodate not only the diverse needs of the congregants, but also to provide a multipurpose community space for everybody.

You can read more about the importance of creating a master plan and how it has allowed North Shore Baptist Church continue to grow in Robin's full Faith & Form article here: Guiding Facility Growth with a Master Plan.