“The best intentions of decision-makers and church leaders may not help them avoid the pitfalls of a new church-building project.”
The church is a living, breathing embodiment of your faith’s values and offers respite and support to faithful followers. The best intentions of decision-makers and church leaders may not help them avoid the pitfalls of a new church-building project.
Understand more about how to avoid excessive costs and common issues associated with a new church-construction projects with the following 15 church-construction project mistakes.
1. Forgetting the importance of prayer during a project.
Construction of a house for God can become an overwhelming project. It is easy to lose sight of the essential needs of your congregation as you balance construction needs, budgets, team members and builders. Put your faith in God and turn to him for direction and support.
2. Waiting until completion to involve the congregation.
Bring the faithful flock together to celebrate the many milestones along the journey to completion of your church-construction project. Allow your membership to invest their prayers and goodwill in the process including praying over the land, opening charettes to generate ideas and having members write their prayers on concrete floors or within walls.
3. Not recognizing the need for fellowship in project design.
The modern churchgoer needs to connect with others in the church community. Your church design can include expected larger spaces in communal areas or in the narthex for lounge areas, bookstores and cafés. Your congregation can grow in spirit and support each other and the church organization through use of well-designed fellowship space.
4. Coveting more than what is currently needed.
Church members and decision-makers may turn to other churches and facilities for inspiration. However, taking on excessively larger church-building projects and facilities than what is needed for your congregation can hurt attendance, as well as add unnecessary expense and time to the project.
5. Building all phases at once.
Spreading out the phases of a master plan allows you time to gather additional financial resources for other phases and standalone projects. Some churches plan site work and land expenses in the initial phase to allow following phases to be “pad ready.”
6. Not allowing ample time for the permitting and design phase.
Church design and permitting often takes a surprising amount of time to be completed. Take your general expectation of the time needed and triple it. Build your team early and create consensus to manage such issues.
7. Doing a capital campaign alone.
Outside professionals can increase the capital that you would have raised on your won by two to three times the amount. A generosity consultant can help churches increase the potential loan amount from a lender or decrease your loan interest rate. Generis is once such generosity consultant that can help.
8. Having church members participate in design and construction.
A church member that is interested in offering their skills to the project should have completed similar projects and be vetted by the builder and designer. It can be uncomfortable if a situation arises during the project and your member becomes an issue.
9. Not considering all the costs.
Over 40 years of both church construction and operation, the initial cost of design and construction will comprise less than 1 percent of the total cost. Builders should focus on providing the lowest initial cost but be mindful of material and component quality for a full life cycle.
10. Not providing a suitable children’s space.
It is important to bring the entire family into the fold. Creation of engaging spaces for children can include elements like three-story playgrounds and inviting murals, which keep children and their parents coming back.
11. Selecting a builder after the design.
Builders can inform the design process with real-time information on related costs, new trends and the submarket that can be used to finely tune the design process.
12. Not having enough consideration toward the land.
Many churches use the entire budget toward construction without thinking of the costs to set aside for the property. Roadways, utilities, site work and more should be factored into the total costs of the project from the beginning.
13. Not allotting enough budget for audiovisual and lighting (AVL).
Modern churchgoers desire a fully immersive worship experience using concert-hall sound, professional lighting and more to lead them into a reverent state of worship of the Lord. A recommendation for church construction is to budget up to 20 percent of total costs for AVL.
14. Designing solely for Sunday worship.
Consider the many ways that the facility will be used during the week, including seminars, mission bases, food banks, birthday parties and more. Make many spaces multipurpose that can be divided for small-group meetings.
15. Including too many members on the building committe.
Limiting committee membership to five individuals helps communication flow, speeds up processes and gets necessary consensus on important issues.
Churches by Daniels has been building churches and assisting churches with their design and construction projects for more than 30 years. For more information: ChurchesByDaniels.com