It doesn’t matter if you’re an architect or someone who struggled to follow the instructions on your LEGO box, it’s always quite enjoyable to see something built from the ground up. Even if you’re just passing by, it’s always exciting to see a building become bigger and bigger with each new step.
It’s even more exciting if you are a part of that building process. Many churches around the country go through these steps every year. Whether it is building their first building, moving to a new location or adding on a key wing is always a big and exciting time.
As anyone who has ever built or helped build a church, it is never an easy process. There are tons of steps to undertake before you can lay the first stone and finally push open the doors to your sanctuary. Below are the five most essential things to consider.
Form a Building Committee
Frequent church-goers will know that churches are filled with all kinds of committees and groups. It’s a way to keep the congregation involved. There’s always a committee for VBS in the summer, missions and Sunday School. Without committees and plenty of volunteer work, a church would struggle to run on a daily basis.
That’s why your church needs to form a building committee ASAP. What’s highly recommended, but not required, is to have someone on the building committee who has some experience in construction or building. They will serve as a liaison between the building company and church.
Not everyone will understand, “there were structural integrity issues not foreseen in the development plan” and it pays to have someone to translate this jargon for the rest of the committee and the church body.
Be Upfront About Fundraising
Every church does it different, but eventually those offering baskets will be passed row to row before being presented at the front of the church.
When it comes to fundraising, be upfront about what the financial goals are and what the money’s going towards. Most churches hold meetings every quarter or six months to go over the business side of things. Unlike your personal finances, it’s time to be an open book.
Let the congregation know how much is being raised, how much needs to be raised and any other outstanding goals. Not everyone is going to come to those meetings, so you can print the figures in the bulletin every Sunday and give a brief announcement about the progress. People like to be kept in the loop.
Listen but Don’t Feel Pressure
Everyone is going to have their own ideas about what the church should look like.
“I think this Gothic style cathedral is beautiful. We should do that.”
“Make sure and have the bathrooms far away from the sanctuary.”
“We should make sure and have a playground for the children.”
Just know those on the building committee are going to receive a lot of suggestions. People are just trying to do help and feel like they’re part of it. You likely already have the planning part figured out but take note if you start to hear the suggestion over and over again. At the end of the day, this is going to be their building too.
Checking Out Property
While you’re in your current location or a temporary one, the church should start looking at property as soon as they can. Unfortunately, there’s not always a huge surplus of land just lying around ready for church development.
Think about your congregation and where the majority of them come from. Many church-goers factor in location with their church choice as they want to be a part of a community.
Be Patient and Manage Expectations
Although everyone knows it’s a virtue, having patience can be one of the most difficult challenges of the entire process. People will form a line to ask you how the progress of the church is coming every Sunday (and potentially Wednesdays). Your answers may be the same for weeks on end.
You may also have a vision for being the most beautiful church around, but know that you may have to build in stages before the vision is complete. Many churches have to opt for using their fellowship hall before they can move into a sanctuary. Just keep your vision in front of you and know you’re playing the long game.