An exerpt from my History of Christianity class:
The first era of church history took architecture from homes to elaborate Romanesque and Byzantine structures. These structures had thick walls to support the ceilings and small windows which let in little light even in the daytime. Because of this there was need for the extensive use of candles for lighting.
Through the Gothic style of buildings we saw bigger windows and more light, making it unnecessary to use as many candles to illuminate the sanctuary. The architecture used buttresses to support the ceilings allowing the walls to be thinner with larger openings in them for windows.
The modern era of church history has church as an auditorium more than church as a sanctuary. We can find churches meeting in schools, warehouses, movie theaters and a host of other buildings. Some churches out of need and inability to own their own building and some will design or buy buildings that may not appear like a traditional church building.
From my experience the type of building we meet in is not that important. I’ve enjoyed times of refreshing in the presence of God in a pew with a high ceiling and in a rented home on a leadership retreat. We’ve had a time of worship that I was a part of on the streets downtown in Longview and I’ve been able to lead worship in the gymnasium at our church building for a group that meets there.
The architecture of the church was mostly similar to what was around them at the time. We have churches that meet in buildings downtown and I think that is good. It is where the people are and it is the type of building that they are used to. I enjoy large, grand churches built of stone with pitched roofs, but I don’t think that they are the only way to build a church building.
What type of building does your church currently use?