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Master Planning is About Today’s Vision and the Future

Master Planning is About Today’s Vision and the Future

Where do you want your vision to take you?

You can learn more from R. Carson Durham, AIA with BLDD Architects, who will teach on this topic at WFX REACH 2015 Chicago, May 28-29th. Visit WFX REACH for more information or to register.

Managing ministries within a growing and changing church requires a clear vision for the future. Bringing your facilities in alignment with your ministry goals can be a daunting and time consuming task. A comprehensive master plan is the best tool to ensure that you will have facilities that reflect your values, support your vision, and ensure the best use of your resources for your ministry.

Nearly twenty years ago, Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois, had a growing attendance of 1,500 each Sunday. They purchased a 95-acre site with a vision to build a facility to house 7,500 attendees. With the future in mind and a goal to make an even larger impact on their community, they developed not only a building to meet their current needs, but also a long-term master plan for expansion. 

"Master planning is about the church's vision for today and the future," explains Mark Warren, Executive Pastor, Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois.

"When a church embarks on a new master plan, whether it is at an existing campus or a new location, you must have clearly defined priorities for where God is leading you and where you want to go."

While the plan has evolved over the years, it put Eastview in a position to quickly respond to increased attendance, and changing congregational needs. Currently, over 6,000 people attend Sunday services. Fortunately, the original worship center was envisioned with the future in mind. The original building has been complimented by spaces used by the congregation and the surrounding community, including café's, social spaces, and recreation spaces. 


How do you get there?

By clearly defining the congregation's needs with a vision for the future, you can then create the road map to get to where you want to go.

Master planning is about priority decision making and allocating resources in a way that best supports the church's ministries. Building an integrated team that fosters open communication is one of the keys to successfully developing your master plan.

Working together to clearly define current or future site conditions and the deficits that exist in the existing facility is a key step in planning for the future. Visual planning techniques including 3D modeling are used in collaborative team workshops to establish a space program for the master plan. Multiple solutions are developed in order to provide options for selection, each illustrating the character and feel of the ministry's overall master plan.


Successful master planning lies in taking the leap of faith between your resources and your vision. While it would be amazing to see your vision become a reality all at once, allowing for adaptability and phasing in a master plan gives the church the freedom to change as needed.

"With a clearly defined plan for the future, our congregation has seen our dreams come to life before our eyes," said Eastview's Pastor, Mark Warren. The congregation's master planning has resulted in dynamic spaces that have built stronger ties to their community today, with the flexibility to grow into their vision for tomorrow.

R. Carson Durham is a principal and director of Religious Design with BLDD Architects, Inc., a full service firm with offices in Illinois (Bloomington, Champaign, Chicago, and Decatur) and Iowa (Davenport).

TAGS: Design
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