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Parallel 6

Reinventing Missional Space of the Church


Dr. Benjamin Wai-Bun WONG


Theo Texture

As one of most densely populated cities in the world, Hong Kong has always faced an overwhelming demand of space. This research commences with the observation that space, being one of the greatest assets of the Protestant Church, has been considerably under-utilized particularly during weekdays in the city. This research examines the missional purpose of the church, and explores why and how certain local churches have reinvented their spaces, having shifted from a former inward-looking institutionalization toward a more outward-orientation in the spirit of the missional church.

Through qualitative research, ten churches / missional communities were selected for in-depth semi-structured interviews. The researcher employed the methodology of Constructivist Grounded Theory, coming in as an expert in church architecture and design, to co-construct with the interviewees. After going through three tiers of coding with the materials collected, the researcher builds a new theory called missional space. Missional space essentially opens up the local church and facilitates the church in realization of its mission. Missional space is well-designed, non- religious, highly accessible, sustainable, and is effective in building relationships with its users. Missional space engenders transformation of the congregation inside, impacts the local community outside of the church, and influences other churches and spiritual communities. Missional space is multipliable and expandable beyond the internal space of the local church, into the local community, the marketplace, people’s homes, as well as other realms of space.

In summary, this research endeavors to stimulate local churches in Hong Kong to rediscover their missio dei, and to transform the deeply-rooted culture of the church. This research inspires local churches to re-examine their God-given asset of space, to reinvent their existing under-utilized spaces into missional spaces, and to have greater effectiveness in realizing the mission of God, in response to the challenges of the Post-pandemic new normal.



Ben Wong, a graduate of architecture from Cornell University, struggled in the design industry for a number of years. During an economic downturn, he started his own firm and discovered a niche in designing churches. By the grace of God, he has participated in more than 300 church and related projects. He received the Ten Outstanding Designers’ Award in Hong Kong, and won over 70 international design awards. He has his Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University, and his doctorate degree from the Ray Bakke Centre for Urban Transformation. He is the author of Church . Space . Reinvention: Realization of 24 Innovative Missional Spaces, published in Hong Kong in 2022, and Missional Space: Reinventing Space Inside and Outside of the Church, published in the US in 2023. He continues to advocate his theory of missional space, and to advise churches and communities to transform their spaces into innovative missional spaces.


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