Does size matter?

Hello and welcome to Post #2 for our new blog.

If anyone is ‘arriving’ new for the first time, may I suggest that you read the originating post as it gives some background, suggestions and guidelines. Thank you.

We are starting to have several readers/followers, so let’s get started with a new thread of discussion, shall we?

Tonight, Don and I had the pleasure of attending a performance of Godspell-Junior” at Theatre, etc. on Hillary Lane. We so enjoyed the wonderful and joyous efforts of a great group of young people. Many of the youth have been or are still a part of our church community; and many of the adults in the audience are congregants. It was a wonderful evening and I am thrilled that we have this creative theatrical venue for children in Chico.

As I sat in the theatre, I was ruminating on the fact that our church community once occupied this building for several years before buying and moving to Lakeside Pavilion.

The building on Hillary is certainly smaller and devoid of windows and light but it was a pleasant space with a nice front porch area and decent parking. I do understand the impulse to expand and to up-level our surroundings. And our facility at Lakeside is without a doubt one of the most beautiful locations you could desire for a Sunday gathering.

When buying or setting up a business, often heard is the familiar old adage that to be successful one need only consider one thing: Location, location, location.

And yet I also know that our current building has its drawbacks and liabilities that wrestle with its obvious assets; and I have heard from many people that they miss the intimacy they had when meeting at Hillary Lane. As we move forward with a new vision, what matters most?

So I ask, does the size of our church building matter? Does the size of our congregation matter? I am not advocating moving to a smaller building merely to achieve a cozier community; nor am I advocating that we stay at Lakeside because it has such glorious surroundings. I am seeking input as to what is important to each of us as to who we are and what we desire in our church space and place.

Please give this important topic some time and prayer and feel free to respond.





  1. Kathy Fernandes says

    Having been at the “old church,” it seemed very accessible, definitely had personality with metaphysical sayings or church community information on the walls, and pretty much had some kind of church activity or activities (multiple classrooms) happening almost every night. In this case, it’s not the “size” that mattered but it appeared that the church home was available for “dropping by” or attending whatever event was happening most nights.

    People size of the church does matter. A large congregation can lead to more “interest” groups or variety of services being offered. And it provides more diversity which I believe is a good thing. I think managing a larger church is different than managing a small church because a larger church may need more facilitation to cross-pollinate the membership to find those synergies of interests that connect people more intimately.

    Enough blog-thoughts for now!

  2. RPMazzucchi says

    The congregants are the priority in my mind and the facility we use would best be an outward expression of our desires and consciousness. That said, this thread is vital to help define our collective vision.

    As leader of the Living Green Team I must express my desire that our building be a manifestation of a green consciousness. This would infer that it include:

    1. simplicity and “right-sizing” to fit our actual needs (with provisions for expansion or contraction should these needs change if possible),

    2. energy efficient features with proper levels of insulation, daylighting, heat recovery, and natural cooling: as well as high efficacy and controllable artificial lighting,

    3. natural and renewable fair-labor materials and construction practices to the extent possible,

    4. low-maintenance features with options for natural landscaping and rainwater capture,

    5. semi-permiable parking and walking surfaces to limit run-off, or incorporate bio-swales,

    6. good acoustics, handicapped accessibilty, high indoor air quality, and effective HVAC.

    This is a tall order for existing structures so my preference would be to build a relatively small new facility with room for expansion as our future needs and committed financial support might justify.

    While the Lakeside Pavillion is a beautiful structure, it meets only a few of the requirement identified above and makes us vulnerable to the financial externalities associated with rental applications over which we have limited control. In addition it is difficult to tailor mixed-use facilities to congregational needs, limiting our ability to achieve many of the objectives identified above.

  3. RKK says

    Having also been at the “old church,” I am aware of the advantages of having our “own” building with offices, classrooms and a very spacious bookstore. AND, the primary reason (from my perspective) for the move was to expand our teaching into the community. To be visible and open and expansive (like the pavilion).
    Our vision began to morph as we took on a business partner whose needs were different than ours (keep the building un-adorned and non-churchy). We could be visible and expansive on Sunday.
    If we stay in this facility, I would love to see us proudly declare that we are The Chico New Thought Center for Spiritual Living.
    An interesting note: I “discovered” the Church of Religious Science when I attended a meeting at the Hillary location. The meeting was not church-related (the group rented the facility), and I had no trepidation about attending this meeting that was being housed in a “church,” despite the fact that I was not a church goer. When I happened to see a CRS newsletter (displayed in the facility), I realized this philosophy spoke to me. I began attending because of that passive marketing (and because the Universe orchestrated circumstances to draw me to what I needed, of course!).

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