Baptists worship Jesus as the son of God and believe that faith in Christ alone saves a person. The Bible, music, baptism and the Lord's Supper, or communion, are central elements of their services. Designing a Baptist church involves many of the same principles as any building for Christian worship. The architect must pay attention to distinctive elements of Baptist denominations, however.
Plan the size and shape of the sanctuary, the largest and most important part of a Baptist church.
Design the layout of other rooms. These vary from church to church, but they include practical considerations found in all community buildings, such as restrooms and foyers. Other important rooms include Sunday school rooms, a hall or function room and kitchen for social gatherings, and offices and vestries for staff, such as pastors and elders, and the choir.
Add the pulpit to the sanctuary. You should place this somewhere visible to the entire congregation, as Bible teaching and preaching take a central role in Baptist worship.
Add the baptistry. In Baptist churches, only believers receive baptism. The baptistry takes the form of a pool large enough for one or more people to baptize another by full immersion. Designers often conceal this below a stage or platform, and near the pulpit, where the congregation can see what takes place there.
Add space and facilities for music. Music plays a large part in Baptist worship, but needs may vary. A traditional Baptist church may have an organ, which requires space for the console and pipes, and a choir, requiring stalls, a seating area or a platform. More contemporary churches need space for instrumentalists, such as guitarists and keyboard players.
Add seating. Traditional layouts have pews (benches) or chairs in rows, facing the pulpit. More modern sanctuaries may have seats in a circular or semi-circular pattern, encouraging a sense of community and participatioin.
Add decoration and design features. Common features in a Baptist church sanctuary include a large, empty cross, stained glass windows with Bible-related illustrations, and a table near the pulpit for bread and wine--the elements of the Lord's Supper.
Add features to the outside of the building. Most Baptist churches have a steeple with a cross mounted at the top to identify it as a Christian church. As Baptists value evangelism, a sign for Bible verses, announcements and service times often sits near the street. A parking lot is also essential.
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