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Capturing Godís Vision for the Church
By: Michael D. Barnes

"Vision Casting" is a term for a process that is of particular interest to business clients as well as to church clients. Both communicating your design and casting your vision are very important. Churches and pastors alike are visionaries and see their future "in faith." Yet bankers, investors, and congregations often need direction and the opportunity to "see" before they believe and embrace.

By using 3D computer modeling as an important and essential tool in the communication process, a church architect can employ virtual reality animations to enable a project to visually come alive.

Regarding religious projects, the architect should combine PowerPoint presentations, 3D renderings, computer models, and computer animations to cast the vision.

Biblical Model
Based on the biblical examples of building projects (namely Noah and his ark, Moses and the tabernacle and David's design of Solomon's Temple), you can find a pattern of God regarding construction and design. In each example, God imparts specific direction and vision to leadership regarding their building projects.

A church architect can use these Old Testament models to develop a specialized systematic design approach. Through proper education, the architect can utilize a "Vision Casting" service, which includes a thorough impartation of these truths to the congregation during the presentation of the architectural design.

Real World Results
A major role in vision casting is to come alongside the church's leadership and understand the vision that God has imparted to them. The design for the church's physical facility is translated from those needs and goals that are derived from the church's vision.

 This vision is then communicated back to the congregation using computer-generated building renderings and computer-generated animations, resulting in a clear and understandable design solution most always warmly embraced by the entire congregation.

The Vision Quest
The initial step in this "Vision Casting" process is the Vision Quest. This is where the church architect searches out the vision that the client, whether a church or a business, has for their future growth.

Before designing anything, the architect must know the needs, the goals, the capabilities, and the desires of the client. The vision can be translated into something tangible once the vision has been grasped.

The Vision in Focus
The translation process begins in step two, known as the Vision Focus. To focus the vision, you must establish the design goals and complete an analysis of the spaces required.

A successful building is like a skin that expresses physically what is already true of the owner's activities inside.

Functions such as administrative needs, restrooms, kitchens, gathering spaces, entries, and storage must be identified and have their optimum size established. Additional characteristics relating to budget and site must also be clearly identified.

The Vision Formed
The translation is completed in step 3, known as the Vision Formed. This is where all of the gathered data is put in the hands of a design team and floor plans are developed.  The look and feel of the building is established and a design concept is formed.

Typically floor plans, building elevations, and 3D building sketches are generated for the client to see. Once the design concept has been accepted by the client, the drawings are put into a final presentation format. This often includes 3D digital renderings of the building, as well as a short movie, called an "animation," that powerfully conveys the completed design.

The Vision Told
The final step, the Vision Told, is communicating the final visual product back to those involved. The finished design concept is represented by the floor plans and realistic 3D renderings. If the design is being presented to a congregation, an animation of the building enables individuals to experience the building as if they were visiting it for the first time.

This presentation event, often referred to as a Vision Casting Service, can take any form that is desirable. Successful examples range from a Sunday morning service, a Sunday evening service, or to a separate dinner event held during the week or on a Saturday evening.

Michael D. Barnes, A.I.A., N.C.A.R.B, is chief executive officer of Barnes Design Group, www.BarnesDesignGroup.com.

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Religious Product News