Family Life Centers and Congregations

Center for Congregations, 2017. Accessed June 21, 2017.

In planning for a Family Life Center congregations may envision a bustling facility that not only brings the congregational family together, but openly welcomes the community for youth sporting events, cultural activities, recreational pursuits and outreach interests. Some Family Life Centers, with various names, buzz with activity all week long, while others sit empty. To better understand those differences, the Center for Congregations interviewed six Indiana congregations with Family Life Centers, as well as three individuals with expertise in congregational building projects. One key characteristic of successful projects is the degree of careful discernment and planning on the front end. Pitfalls include too narrow a focus on one activity or age group, overbuilding, failure to plan and budget for maintenance and programming in the new facility, and building without knowing exactly what is needed and wanted. This article offers insight and guidance to congregations contemplating building a Family Life Center, as well as those seeking more effective use of one they have. A list of helpful resource books is included.