The mall at the top is pretty much just like the mall I grew up going to. At this mall you park as close to the entrance as you can, then go inside to find the store you are looking for and maybe stroll up and down the covered atrium. All of your favorite stores are facing and found inside. This particular mall has an Apple Store, but you have to know that ahead of time.
The shopping mall on the bottom is reflective of the new breed of malls that cropped up. In fact, they are not even called shopping malls anymore – they are “Lifestyle Centers.” The major difference here is that you park near the store you are going to, and maybe stroll up and down an outdoor promenade. All of the stores are facing outside. This mall has a PF Changs, it’s easily seen from the street.
Which of these two malls would you rather visit?
Which shopping experience is more engaging as you pass?
Does exterior presence (and life) really matter if the content is the same inside?
Actually, these two photos are of the same shopping mall in Akron, OH. Three to four years ago the mall developer added the exterior-focused retail stores to the front. In my estimation, as an attempt to draw more shoppers and respond to our experienced-based culture. Developers know this: people respond to the experience that appears to be more pleasant.
Many churches are more like the “other side” of the mall, a great experience inside, hidden by the lack of life outside.
What if the church turned the ministries inside out?
How could an engaging worship experience be seen from the street, if not literally?
Could an incredible Kid’s Ministry be known in the community, before anyone steps through the door?
What kind of movement and life can churches present, maybe even just by moving the greeting time outside?
What can you do THIS Sunday to bring the inside-out at your church?