I love a good church tour. Usually, when going to a conference or something, I set aside a little time to visit a local church I’ve heard about either to meet with leaders or see the facility. Last November I was in the DFW area for the Orange Tour and I was super excited to visit Cross Timber’s brand new Kids space. This tour was a little more meaningful for me as I was on staff at this campus of Cross Timbers for nearly two years. I remember pouring over drawings and dreaming with staff about what could be done. The kid’s space was less than inviting. At times I might have even used the word, dumpy. I was so pleased to hear that they had plans for a significant remodel and to know that my friends at Worlds of Wow had been hired to create the transformation, how exciting!
My good friends Jenn Day (Global Kid’s Pastor) and Miguel Tovar (Kid’s Pastor at the Denton Campus), who both used to be on my team, took me on the tour. All I can say is WOW! What a transformation. If anyone tells you that environment doesn’t matter, they haven’t truly seen a facility transformation. There were multiple times where I’d ask, “Okay, I forgot what was here. Was it that ugly hallway? Was it that weird office space?” They literally gutted the building and upon entering, you’d never know that the building had a different layout before.
Here are the features I loved the most:
They designed their check-in space to be beautiful and stupid clear. Sometimes we can design space that is beautiful, but it lacks clarity. A person walks in saying, “wow, this is beautiful… now where am I supposed to go?” Not in the new check-in space. In as big of letters as you could imagine, they indicate where visitors go and where self check-in is located. It’s a beautiful space for sure!
Vision in The Environment
This is actually been thinking about a lot lately. When designing space, how important it is to create beautiful environments, but if your environment can cast vision, even better. I loved how the wide hallways in the CT Kids space SHOUTED what they value. Phrases like “Wisdom is worth searching for” and “I should treat others the way I want to be treated” catch your attention. I imagine that if my kids walked these hallways week after week, they’d begin to catch something leaders say from the stage that kids are less likely to pick up.
Fun and Clear Signage
Jenn was telling me that they still had more signage to install. I can’t exactly recall, but I don’t remember it being that intuitive on where to go. However, room signage and bathroom signs were fun and clear. They divided their age groups into the Littles (nursery), the Middles (preschool) and Kids (Elementary). I think that’s right. How fun is that. So rooms weren’t necessarily themed, but communicated simple age divisions like “Littles – Infants” or “Middles – Threes.” Again – beauty, clarity and simplicity rules in their design.
Large Group Space
Lastly, I loved their large group space for Elementary. They have two HUGE rooms with powerful sound, lights and video abilities. They have so much room to create amazing experiences. They put in some fun furniture/couches for the older elementary that make the space a little more fun for those older kids. The only thing missing was great small group space, but they’ll have to make do like most of us do putting lots of small groups in big rooms.
We ran out of time and I didn’t get to see the technology running behind the scenes. Miguel was excited to show me this, so I sad I didn’t get to experience it. They have a computer/IT room where several Mac Minis are literally connected to every screen in the new facility. Meaning that they can walk around with and iPad and put just about any content on any screen. That’s so cool. It was actually seeing this that allowed me to make slight modifications to a small lobby remodel I did at Gateway that allows us to do some cool stuff on our screens in our lobby and such.
All I have to say is “Way to Go CT Kids!” I know you had kidmin in portables for over a year and endured challenging situations. I imagine that your pain is paying off now as word is spreading about the environment you’ve created for kids. WAY TO GO!
Worlds of Wow has been a friend to me and this blog for several years and I’m glad to be partnered with them because of what they’ve done for CT Kids. They truly understand the WOW factor and they’re helping churches around the country creatively reach their communities through engaging environments. If you’re thinking about re-imagining your environments, you really should reach out to the people at WOW!
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