By Joy Allmond
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — LifeWay Architecture begins 2018 working toward the next 100 years of serving the church, having marked its centennial anniversary in 2017.
“This is an important milestone in the history of LifeWay,” said Eric Geiger, LifeWay’s senior vice president and chief business officer. “Those who cast the vision for LifeWay Architecture were out-of-the-box thinkers who helped create environments conducive to group discipleship, and came alongside the local church to do the work with them instead of for them. And that’s who we aim to be, even 100 years later.”
Since 2013, LifeWay has partnered with Visioneering Studios—a nationwide faith-based, design-build firm with multi-disciplinary studios and national architecture and construction licensure.
Severns Valley Baptist Church, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is one of Visioneering Studios’ most significant projects to date. The 1,400-person worship center currently under construction will replace the multipurpose gym—where they have gathered for more than 10 years. The worship center will be joined to the existing building by a grand hall, which will look out onto what they have named the “Grand Lawn”—an outdoor space where the congregation hopes to engage the community.
The Severns Valley Church project is scheduled to be complete by Christmas 2018.
“As we continue to serve the local church in all aspects of design and construction, Visioneering Studios is honored to continue the legacy LifeWay Architecture began a century ago,” said John Parker, Visioneering Studios president.
“Our Nashville Studio is currently working with Southern Baptist churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas, prayerfully transforming facilities to serve future generations,” Parker said. “We hope to forge ahead into the future while honoring their legacy just as we honor the LifeWay visionaries who preceded us.”
In 1917, after spending several years advising churches on their new buildings, restructuring their existing facilities, and maximizing space for multi-purpose use, the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) established a church architecture department with Prince E. Burroughs as its department leader. He believed one of the keys to making disciples was creating environments specifically for discipleship and learning.
LifeWay Architecture hired its first architect in 1922, survived the Great Depression, and grew to more than 60 employees by the post-World War II era.
By the 1990s, LifeWay Architecture had added master planning and interior design services, and had developed into a full architectural studio that assisted churches as small as 100 and as large as 4,000 members across the United States.
Beyond architecture, interior design and master planning, LifeWay partner Visioneering Studios offers construction, real estate and development advisory services nationally. Through these services, Visioneering has become a trusted steward of story and space, focused on creating a seamless journey to the cutting-edge worship environments churches are seeking in the 21st century.
“The creation of a department to pioneer new ways to design church space and steward physical resources 100 years ago is a reminder of the many ways LifeWay has contributed to the fabric of church life through the years,” said Gary Nicholson, who formerly served as director of LifeWay Architecture and as studio director of Visioneering Studios.
“Because of LifeWay’s investment in this service, billions of dollars have been better spent on facilities, and churches have avoided untold numbers of problems and enabled more and better ministry through efficient, attractive and innovative designs.”
For more information on Visioneering Studios, visit their website at visioneeringstudios.com, email contact@visioneering studios.com, or call 888-539-1957.
Joy Allmond is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.