John Cissel of Visioneering Studios talks about new uses of church property. This involves churches doing joint ventures with developers for impacting a church’s local community. The issue is how to build church facilities in expensive urban areas and have a meaningful impact in and with the local community. With extensive experience in Boston with the Salvation Army and in New York with Tim Keller, John says:
“Globally, we’ve got to realize that by 2050, some demographers say that we will have seventy percent of the world living in urban centers. Some people use a statistic of about five million people a month are moving toward urban from suburbia or, in the case of the world out in more rural areas, farming areas. So there is a very large trend where we’re seeing the suburban concept or even readapting suburbia to more of an urban development density. And what an amazing opportunity for the church to be ahead of that curve by engaging in ‘what does it mean for the church.’
So, instead of selling a church property, what would it mean if you did a joint venture with a developer. What if you integrated into this urban fabric in a way that would create what Mel McGowan would call a “post-modern Jacob Well opportunity?” This is a third place, meaning spaces that could be used during the weekday to really reach people in that urban setting. It is to be there as light and salt with the Gospel and the mission—unabashedly—as a part of the development. The global trend here is really amazing and it’s impacting almost all of the American cities.”
Listen to the podcast or read more of the transcript here.