How many times have you driven by a church building during the week and seen the parking lot empty? I’m sure the answer is more often than not, especially if you drive by Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Why? Because this is when people are working, and they can’t gather to worship all the time might be what you are thinking. Or maybe you think the parking lot is empty during these times because there are enough schools in your area and this church didn’t want to start a school. What if I said to you that every time I drive by an empty church parking lot during the week it breaks my heart?
One of the greatest assets that churches have today for their communities is their real estate. Don’t get me wrong; the greatest asset is the gospel, but after that, I would put their buildings in the top three. The church building is an incredible place where we gather, whether large or small, and worship, socialize, learn, and even have some fried chicken every now and then. Or at least that is what happened when I was growing up. What if we could add one more thing to that list? What if we could say that the church building is also where entrepreneurs, business leaders, city officials and others meet and work on a frequent basis?
Some of you think that I just described money changers in the temple and might even fear Jesus coming back to turn over some tables like the story found in the Bible in all four of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There are two main differences in what I am proposing here. First, Jesus was upset because the people selling animals in the temple for sacrifice were ripping people off in the name of religion. Second, our church buildings have a lot of non-sanctuary space that is under utilized.
Even if we saw eye to eye and you said, “I think this is a great idea,” then we would still have hurdles that we must get over. There are three things that I believe people in today’s world and economy need for great co-working space. They need a caring community manager, great coffee, and fast WiFi. You might be thinking, “What about the space?” Some of the busiest, most successful co-working spaces in the world are not great spaces. They are great communities. I would argue that churches should be the best community for their zip codes—better than any other place.
So what if there was a new company that existed to help churches use their space as co-working space? They helped them find great coffee, set up fast, secure WiFi that is cloud based, and even had training for community managers. What if that company was putting together a global network of churches that business leaders knew they could get work done in? Would you be interested? Guess what? There is. This company is called Open 29/7, and it launches this fall. If you are interested, you can contact them by clicking here.
Here is a Prezi that they put together to tell you more as well: http://prezi.com/l5cpcepfikao/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy
(This post I first wrote here)