In this episode of the 5 Leadership Questions podcast, Todd Adkins and Chandler Vannoy are joined by Dave Milam who serves as the Vice President of Strategic Design at Visioneering Studios. With over 20 years of experience serving churches as well as non-profits, Dave brings a vast level of experience when it comes to helping people create places that not only look visually appealing design-wise but also educates on how your building can communicate your unique vision and story. They also discuss the unique challenges facing churches today when it comes to utilizing their meeting spaces and Dave shares how church leaders can take their space from where they are to where they want to be.
“You should be able to look at a church and tell what they value. But you can also look at the building and know what they’re trying to value.” – Dave Milam
“I think the things that the American church values right now is very different than what we valued 20 years ago. The buildings we’re living in right now were created 20 years ago. There is this tension that we’re wrestling with where 20 years ago, we valued the Sunday morning experience where everybody came in and the building was designed to flip services so seats would be opened back up and parking spaces would free up as well.” – Dave Milam
“We’re great at saying stuff. But eventually you have to deliver on the dream that you just presented. It’s great to say this is our value, but how does that value live itself out in the environment and the hallways?” – Dave Milam
“A lot of churches are being very intentional about meeting places for conversation to take place. They usually have space for kids, they have the space for seating in the auditorium, but where are the people going to pause and have a 15-minute conversation? We want those to happen because if they can have those conversations, they are more likely to connect to a small group or go grab lunch with somebody. At that point, they are engaging with the church.” – Dave Milam
“If you look at the most engaging environments in your community, a lot of times they have great engaging outdoor spaces. Whether it’s the restaurants with the outdoor porch or the coffee shop, they are intentional about what’s happening between the parking lot and the building. Those spaces, believe it or not, per square foot amount of money it takes to build those spaces are super small compared to the cost of building a new building. Double your lobby by being intentional about outdoor spaces.” – Dave Milam
“One of the critical mistakes that we see lots of churches across the country making is that they have their building, and they’re like, there’s no possible way that this building could be cool or functional. So, their initial gut reaction is to build new, start over, and trash the whole thing. My favorite projects are the ones where we have limitations, and we get to create great space out of current constraints. Those end up being the coolest and most unique places.” – Dave Milam