The Embedded Church Podcast

Commercial Enterprises as a Church

Episode Summary

How does a church engage in vital ministry in the context of commercial buildings? In Episode 8 we return to Richmond, VA, to talk with Chris Barras who is the Pastor of Area 10 Faith Community in a thriving and diverse part of Richmond known as Area 10. Chris's church meets in the historic Byrd Theater and has started a couple commercial enterprises in the district.

Episode Notes

In this episode Chris Barras, the Lead Pastor of Area 10 Faith Community shares about the entrepreneurial heart and spirit that drives how his church has taken shape in their neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia. Coming from a background in management at Starbucks, Chris has an ethos for developing "third places," a term coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg to refer to the places you spend time outside of your home and your work. In other words, the place where you meet with friends and neighbors.

The church meets at the Byrd Theater, a historic theater in the heart of the neighborhood. Renting this space for their main worship service has both freed and forced the church to be creative in the ways they find and use ancillary space for church ministry and needs. With a need for Sunday nursery space, but not wanting to have an empty storefront for the rest of the week, the church opened Coffee & Cartwheels, a combination coffee shop and indoor playspace that both adults and kids can enjoy.

Additionally, the church has now opened 2810, a community gathering space that houses church offices and places for their small groups to meet, but operates as a public event and meeting rental space throughout most of the week. Chris also shares about some of the general business mechanics of starting LLCs and managing these spaces.

The episode wraps up with a discussion of the loneliness that Chris encounters in Richmond and a call for churches to develop places for people in their communities to connect and talk with one another.

Access more Show Notes with pictures and resources related to this episode.

More information about this podcast and helpful church and urbanism resources can be found on The Embedded Church website.

Related Resources

Cities of God by Rodney Stark

The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg

Home from Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler

Sidewalks in the Kingdom by Eric O. Jacobsen

Suburban Nation by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck

Find these Key Terms on The Embedded Church website:

- Infill Development

- Third Place

- Walk Score

Show Credits

Hosted and Produced by Eric O. Jacobsen and Sara Joy Proppe

Edited by Adam Higgins | Odd Dad Out Voice Productions

Theme Music by Jacob Shaffer

Artwork by Lance Kagey | Rotator Creative