Taking on a church construction can be a daunting task, whether you’re starting from scratch or expanding your current facilities. To help church leaders decide if they should renovate or build something completely new, they should consider several practical factors.
It starts by thinking beyond the next few years and articulating a vision for your building over the next several decades. Remember to factor in infrastructure needs as well as the building itself.
Current space constraints
First, nail down the limitations of your current space, including the building site and infrastructure. Do you need a brand-new sanctuary or is it possible that making some renovations could help with the lack of space? If you do decide to build a brand-new sanctuary, will you renovate the old one for another ministry? What about your current property? Will it work for this construction project or is the church congregation considering moving locations? Getting really specific about the issues with the current facility and then discussing that with a contractor can help you decide what kind of construction project is best.
Budget is almost always at the top of mind when considering a construction project. What can your church actually afford? Look at the head count. How many people are actually attending and will contribute to this building project? The condition of the church’s infrastructure will also play into budget. If HVAC units, for example, need to replaced, don’t forget to factor that into the budget. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of any technology updates, which may be needed as a result of a major renovation.
Facility age and infrastructure
As with any other construction project, the age of the building is an important factor to consider and will make a difference in whether renovation would be cost-effective. Can the current infrastructure on the property accommodate a large facility? Building a much larger facility may mean more power and sewage needs. If your church was built before 1970, it may have toxic materials that need to be contained. Is the church’s design reflective of its age? If you believe the church’s architecture is holding back your church’s growth, it may be time for a change. On the other hand, if the current design can be tweaked and save your congregation money, that may be the best option.
"Getting really specific about the issues with the current facility and then discussing
that with a contractor can help you decide what kind of construction project is best."
What kind of building design and layout do the members of your church want? This will determine how much more space you’ll require. Perhaps your preferred design can be achieved in your current facility.
If your budget is tight, that might be the way to go. If you have a larger budget and have major space needs, new construction may be the answer.
Finally, what is your congregation’s calling? Do you hope to have a thriving children’s ministry? Make dedicated facilities a top priority in your construction project. Do you hope to reach a large number of people? Perhaps a new sanctuary is the answer. Again, reflecting on the vision of your church over the course of several decades can help you decide what is really the priority.
Making the final decisions
When it comes to church construction, the congregation’s calling as well as practical principles can help your church leaders decide the next steps. Once your church leaders have worked through these major decisions, they’ll be more prepared to talk with a church construction company. A construction company that specializes in church building projects can help the church leaders navigate these complex decisions. By looking at the reality of your church’s needs and wants as well as its vision for the future, your church can move seamlessly from vision to reality.
Article author, Jimmy Hawkins is president of Leon Williams Contractors, an experienced commercial design-build firm with decades of experience in renovating and building worship facilities. The firm offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area.