We all like those feel-good church renovation stories, where a growing and thriving church needs more space—and church leaders have all the money and time they need to transform their church building. But in practice, things don’t always work so smoothly. In this post, we’ll tell the story of one church that was forced to change—and demonstrate how an unanticipated remodel can turn out better than anyone might have hoped!
Letting Go of the Old Church Building
Wayne Street United Methodist Church in St Marys, Ohio, was a thriving congregation that worshiped in an older, well-beloved church building. Unfortunately, that building had developed numerous structural issues over the years, and it reached the point where major corrections would have to be done to keep the old sanctuary standing. A project, church leaders learned, that would cost half a million dollars.
Suddenly, those leaders were confronted with the fact they had to undertake a major church remodel—right away. Fortunately, they were willing to think and pray about how to best use their finances to fulfill their church vision. They realized, even if they invested that much in their old sanctuary, they still wouldn’t have a facility that would be practical and large enough for their existing congregation. So they let go of their church remodel dreams for the old sanctuary.
Embracing the New with a McKnight Church Remodel
The Wayne Street UMC church leaders reached out to us, and we took a good look at their existing property, which included not just the sanctuary, but also an existing building and lawn next to their parking lot. The building had a long hallway and large, dated fellowship hall, and we realized there was enough space there for a creative church remodel that would meet their needs.
Our church remodel design, as you can see here, included a new worship center with a clear main entrance, and canopy, that doesn’t involve everyone walking down a long hallway to find the worship space. Instead, we opened the narrow hallway into the existing fellowship hall, which we updated to create a bright, airy foyer, café and gathering space. The change also improved the people flow.
Keeping Tradition Alive at Wayne Street United Methodist Church
The fellowship hall wasn’t the only area of the Wayne Street church building complex that needed improvement. Our church remodel included a bright, modern sanctuary that seats 400 people while still retaining enough of the classic feel worshipers enjoyed. We incorporated some of the stained glass from the beloved original sanctuary, as well as the organ, while including a large platform up front with room for choir and handbells.
Another practical addition we were able to include was updated restrooms—men’s, women’s, and family. So, you see, the structural issues that Wayne Street UMC faced might have felt like a crisis, but God turned it into an opportunity. With the help of this church remodel, they now have a functional, modern worship space and fellowship center that will help them live out their church vision in the decades ahead.
If you need some inspiration on how to handle your church building issues, we encourage you to sign up for our free i3 webinar series. There you’ll find information, inspiration and hope from church remodel stories like this, and from all the topics we cover on ways to improve your church building.