Here in the Southeast, it sometimes seems like there’s a church on nearly every corner. They don’t call this region of the country the Bible Belt for nothing! But here’s a more sobering statistic – the majority of churches in America aren’t growing. And while Protestant churches tend to be the largest, a 2019 study indicates that a surprising 61% of Protestant churches are either plateaued or declining in attendance. The exact causes for this trend aren’t always simple to pinpoint in any one given locality. Many agree that a major contributing factor is that most churches aren’t seen to be engaging and investing in their surrounding communities in ways that are perceived to make a real difference.
What about your church or house of worship? If you’re ready to become more intentional about growing a healthy church that attracts families, adding, some commercial playground equipment would be a wise move. An outdoor playground is a great feature for your church family to use and enjoy, but it also does much more than that. The presence of a fun, safe playground on your property also sends a positive message to your community that your church is serious about valuing the families and children who live in your extended neighborhood!
Churches have traditionally been viewed as pillars of the community, and many church members are still very committed to their places of worship. But unless you want your church to become an inward-focused place that stops growing, it’s time to start thinking outside your four walls. Most congregants want to believe that their church is a friendly place where families can come to worship, learn, fellowship, and grow together. Adding a playground is a great way to put some real feet on that belief and desire. In fact, installing a commercial playground can provide many benefits for your congregation and your greater community.
If your playground is visible from the street – even if only partially – it will send a positive announcement to your community. It lets folks know that your church is serious about families, that you care about children, and that you also know how to play and have a little fun. These are all powerful messages that make your church that much more inviting to those outside your fold.
Study after study points to the positive benefits of outdoor playtime for children. They do better in school, have better attention spans, and also tend to experience less stress. Offering children a fun, safe place to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine is good for them, and it also encourages their families to enjoy a more active lifestyle.
One thing that nearly all of us have in common these days – both children and adults alike – is our collective addiction to our screens. Interested in helping your church members and the residents of your community to “break the habit”? Put up a church playground, and give people something to do besides staring at their smartphones, computers, and TV screens! When families come to your playground, they’ll have an opportunity to interact with their children (and with each other!) on a more personal, face-to-face level.
When children interact at a church playground, they can learn teamwork, empathy and make new friends. Deciding who gets to go first on a popular piece of play equipment can also help children develop valuable social skills. These skills will continue to serve these children well in their adult lives, too!
The ability to attract young families is an important challenge that EVERY church in America faces right now. If you’re serious about attracting families with children to your church, then installing a new playground is really a great move. Also, be aware that if your church is interested in developing its own daycare or preschool, then having a playground onsite is more than just optional; in fact, it’s legally required!
With a church playground in place, your community outreach programs and efforts will also have more impact. This will be especially true if your church is located in a space where other community parks and playgrounds aren’t easily accessible or available. A well-equipped church playground is really an incredible asset for engaging your community!
A church playground is a fantastic facility for children, and it can also end up as a great unofficial place for parents and other adults to gather and connect. What makes for the best church playground design? Here are a few important elements to keep in mind:
The right church playground will be both safe and fun for all ages. Church attendants can represent a variety of backgrounds and generations. The teenagers will appreciate adult-sized swings and sturdy jungle gyms, while your youngest attendees will be happy with spinners, bouncy rides, and sandboxes. It’s smart to design a playground for your church, which will accommodate the widest possible range of ages and bodies.
If you really want to serve all of your congregation and all of your community, then you’ll want to make plans to include those with physical or developmental handicaps. And if your church already has a traditional playground in place, you’re already in a great position to upgrade your existing equipment & design to allow those with limited mobility to be able to join in on the fun.
You can choose to build in play elements that have the ability to include spiritual applications. Use your church playground to apply Scripture and help bring faith to life for your Sunday School class or Bible study group! A church playground can turn spiritual learning into a tangible, tactile experience for children and adults alike.
Wherever children play, parents and other adults can benefit from having a shaded place to sit and gather. Consider adding some benches, other seating, or even a nearby picnic shelter. These are obviously great for church picnics, but they’re also useful for other church recreation and fellowship events. For example, a covered shelter makes a fantastic facility for outdoor worship events, Easter sunrise services, etc.
An ideal church playground can also be designed to mesh with the land’s natural shape, available lot space, and the church building itself. You can tuck your playground into the crook of an L-shaped church or have it sprawl over a nearby open field if you prefer. For example, a running track can be included for active children (or adults). You can also design your playground to flow smoothly right up to the door of your nursery or other dedicated child centers.
Carolina Recreation & Design is here to handle all your church playground equipment and shelter needs in NC, SC, and VA. And we don’t just provide excellent play equipment, covered outdoor structures, and site amenities – we also offer full-service installation services, from site preparation to permitting, to electrical, water, & sewer, to fencing and landscaping. In other words, we offer complete turnkey solutions for churches and faith centers and schools, daycares, parks, HOA developments, and other organizations!
Ready to help your church grow by adding some real value to your community? Reach out to Carolina Recreation & Design today. We’re here to help!
Carolina Recreation & Design is a full-service general contracting company offering turnkey installation of recreational products for parks, schools, churches, clubs, daycares and amusement parks. We offer premium-quality commercial products that are safe, fun, and built to last.