Five Questions With
Who is Sandy Gibbes?
Sandy Gibbes brings a unique skill set to our team, having served as a Student Pastor at one of the largest churches in America (NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC). While at NewSpring, he led Fuse, which has become one of the largest youth ministries in the country. After helping the staff design their “Fuse” building, he ventured back to architecture where he has helped nearly 100 churches through the process of facility design and construction. He has led the design process for churches like NewSpring Church (SC), Cross Point Church (TN), Athens Church (GA), Summit Church (NC) and Connexus Church in Toronto, Canada.
Sandy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Design from Clemson University in 2002, with an emphasis on Design and Business Practice. He also attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to acquire his professional degree in Architecture. Sandy joined Key Architecture in February of 2014, after spending nearly a decade leading the design process for the worship studio of LS3P Associates in Greenville, South Carolina.
While not working, Sandy enjoys spending time with his wife (Andrea) and kids (Sawyer, Alex and Mays). He also enjoys golf and anything sports related.
1. You served as a Student Pastor at NewSpring Church. How has that helped you in your career as a Church facility designer?
My time at NewSpring allowed me to experience similar things that our church partners face everyday: the ups and downs of ministry. Growth is something we were fortunate to experience and that allowed me to sit on the other side of the table and design an incredible facility for FUSE, the NewSpring Student Ministry. Having perspective from both sides allows us to manage more effectively the expectations of design and mission, not only for churches, but for any organization
2. You have worked with some great Churches all over the country. What are some common themes that you have seen among them?
I feel like the churches we’ve worked with –from NewSpring in South Carolina, to Cross Point in Nashville, to Riverbank in Vermont–have had similarities in that their projects start with a clear vision that is for the city and for the people of the city, not just the people in their church. That vision has given us freedom in design to create facilities that reflect that. Also, another common theme is that the lead teams have surrounded themselves with talented people to internally handle the project. This allows the staffs to focus on the ministry they have been called to do.
3. What are some trends in Church facilities you have observed during your career?
Well, one thing I can say immediately is adaptive re-use. We have seen a ton of churches be able to grow into a new facility by purchasing an abandoned warehouse or big box. So honestly the church should be writing thank-you notes to Walmart for literally paving the way. It’s such a great way for the church to accomplish their facility’s needs…and, from a stewardship stance, it’s usually about half the cost and half the time in construction.
4. Architecture is a profession that is largely based on creativity. What are some of your outlets for cultivating creativity?
Environment for me is huge. I came from a firm that was too quiet for me and didn’t, in my opinion, foster collaboration. Collaboration is what it’s all about; getting the ideas of everyone in order to create spaces that are engaging and convey mission. So the way we are structured at Equip allows you to work anywhere that will cultivate creativity. Fortunately, our office vibe is great for creativity: music playing when it needs to, doors open outside to hear the sounds of the city… we don’t have to go places to get creative. It happens right here. And, we have Legos…and Legos are awesome.
5. What is the one piece of advice that you would offer to anyone who is about to start a building project?
Honestly, I would tell them to approach their project like they approach their ministry: tons of prayer and tons of patience. Just as you would in ministry, you also assemble the right team from the beginning. Get everyone around the table so that you can communicate vision clearly and consistently. Our process has been developed around this concept and it’s continuing to pay off time and time again.
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