Scalability and extensibility for churches

Two definitions, grabbed from Wikipedia today (because of its liberal license):

In telecommunications and software engineering, scalability is a desirable property of a system, a network, or a process, which indicates its ability to either handle growing amounts of work in a graceful manner, or to be readily enlarged.

In software engineering, extensibility (sometimes confused with forward compatibility) is a system design principle where the implementation takes into consideration future growth. It is a systemic measure of the ability to extend a system and the level of effort required to implement the extension. Extensions can be through the addition of new functionality or through modification of existing functionality. The central theme is to provide for change while minimizing impact to existing system functions.

I think these also would be two desirable characteristics of  new and growing churches. Churches should be designed for the capacity to grow and adapt.

Comments?

Author: Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

2 thoughts on “Scalability and extensibility for churches”

  1. Yes, yes! I love and use these concepts when designing or redesigning websites. I hadn’t thought of them for churches, but you’re right. I saw York Minster recently, and can’t resist the temptation to contrast it to my church. For example, parking is perceived as limiting factor for my church’s size (reasonably so, given public transportation in Nashville). So what does it mean that easy parking is little short of impossible in York? Then there is the layout, which is chunked in helpful ways. While we heard Evensong in the mid-sized Quire, the main portion can be used for their enormous Christmas and Easter services. The present structure dates back to 1472 and was under construction for about 250 years before that. Somehow I think in the 13th century or so, the Minster leadership had both scalability and extensibility down cold.

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