church-building-entrances-parkingThere are several questions we get frequently from church leaders that weren’t covered in our recent posts on church building entrances and foyers. Before moving on to cover some other key church building features, we thought we’d touch on those questions, as well as the need for a church building master plan to keep your church vision at the forefront of your building and renovation ideas.

Are Covered Entrances Worth It?

One question we hear frequently is whether a drive-under canopy at the main entrance is worth the expense—because the cost can be considerable. If you’re striving to construct a building that will meet all your ministry needs, do you pay another $30,000-$60,000 for a drive-under canopy?

Certainly a canopy provides a great place to drop off kids and the elderly, especially in bad weather. But you also have to make sure it’s high enough to accommodate a church bus, while not being so tall that the wind can drive rain and snow underneath it, defeating its purpose in the first place.

The size of your church or building complex also makes a difference. If you’ve got a megachurch, having even two or three canopies can be helpful for getting lots of people into your facility comfortably. A smaller church, however, might need to think twice about emphasizing such a grand entrance, especially if it’s an older or smaller structure.

Where Should We Put Our Parking Lot?

Most of the older church buildings we’ve seen put their front entrances right on the street, with the parking lot located in back. While that may have been a serviceable model in the past, it’s not very practical now. For one thing, if people park in back and go in through the back door, they might get lost trying to find your worship center.

Another advantage to putting at least some of your parking in front of your church is that it lets people know when there’s something going on. If cars are in your parking lot and people are walking toward the entrance, it sends a clear message to prospective visitors that they won’t be the only ones showing up if they were to come inside.

Why Do We Need a Church Building Master Plan?

The previous questions point to the importance of having a master plan. In the case of a covered entrance, you don’t want it installed during initial construction if you know that later you’ll be moving the main entrance to a newly built part of your church complex. Then visitors will be confused about where to go when they naturally come in through the covered entrance and discover that it no longer leads to the foyer. A master plan might also help you decide if adding a canopy in the future when your church has grown, is better than building one now.

A master plan helps you take the long view of how your church will be used, and how it will need to adapt for those uses.

You also don’t want to build a new church building on the very front corner of your 40 acres, because then you’ll have literally built yourself into a corner. Instead, you want to put your building in the most advantageous place on your property so that you have future options on which direction you can build the next phase and  access all parts of your church building.

Here again, a master plan can help you avoid headaches down the road, in this case by establishing the optimum location of construction from the very start.

Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

We appreciate your questions and encourage you to reach out to us with any others you may have. We’re happy to answer them, and some might even be used to help us pick the topics for our 2016 lineup of i3 webinars.

Speaking of which: If you haven’t signed up yet for our free i3 webinars, you should. Simply visit our website for details!