Why Vision Trumps Construction Experience on Your Church Building Committee

The variety of expertise attendees have can be very valuable to church leaders. For example, it’s a good idea to recruit people to your finance committee who have some understanding of debits and credits and how to read a spreadsheet. Some church leaders even invite worshipers to fill out a “time, talent, and treasure” inventory to help plug people into ministry opportunities that fit their skills and experience.

This is also why we sometimes see church leaders putting people who have building or construction experience on church building committees. However, we don’t necessarily think that’s an important priority. This may be surprising to many church leaders, so we thought we’d explain our thinking.

Why Not Make Good Use of Construction Experience?

Certainly, it’s great to have a variety of perspectives on any church committee. This allows for the helpful discussions and eventual agreement. It can also be beneficial to have a member of your church building committee that has a passion for construction — but they should also have a passion for the vision of your church if they’re going to be a useful member on your team.

Why a Church Leader with Vision Trumps Construction Experience

Philip Tipton, our vice president of Architecture, says this:

“Construction knowledge is great, but I would never sacrifice an individual that understands the vision of the church, the mission, what the church is called to do, who they feel God is trying to have them reach.”

In other words, construction experience is secondary to a church leader who knows about your church’s various ministries and where the church is headed.

You will be hiring an architect and general contractor, or a design-build team like The McKnight Group, who will guide you through the church design and construction process. It’s sometimes useful to have a church leader with construction experience on the building committee, but it’s not necessary. Instead, it’s crucial that every member of the church building committee is focused on your church’s vision for ministry in your community and how a church building might help accomplish those goals.

One Talent that is Useful on a Church Building Committee

This doesn’t mean that there are no specific, useful talents that can benefit a church building committee. We do recommend, for example, that at least one member of your finance committee be a member of your church building committee. As mentioned above, they should also be familiar and on board with your church’s vision. (You don’t want someone working at cross-purposes with your church building project.) But you do need a financial representative who can remind you of what’s possible for this stage of your church building project, given the realities of your church’s financial situation.

So, when it’s time to put together your church building committee, do check your list of people who have financial experience, but don’t focus on who has worked in building or construction. Choose dynamic and visionary leaders, and if they happen to have building experience, that’s a bonus.

Another bonus for every church leader is our series of free i3 webinars. These webinars can educate you on the latest ideas in church design and construction. We suggest that you sign up for our next i3 webinar on our homepage today.

2019-02-05T17:40:44+00:00 February 5th, 2019|Church Building, Leadership|

Honoring Homer McKnight, Patriarch and Founder of The McKnight Group

HMcKnightMost of the time, our blog posts are focused on the work we do to design, build and renovate church buildings for the glory of God. This post, however, will celebrate a faithful servant, Homer McKnight. Homer is the founder of The McKnight Group, but he’s done so much more than help churches better live out their vision through church buildings that work. He has served his own church in multiple capacities, here in the US and around the world. Homer’s denomination, The Church of the Nazarene, church district, Nazarene Bible College and home church, The Naz, surprised him with a recognition service on Father’s Day this year—which also happened to be Homer’s birthday. Here is some of what he was honored for that day.

Serving the Church in South Central Ohio

Homer McKnight has served his church denomination for over forty years. Naturally, perhaps, since his expertise is with buildings, he was instrumental in the purchase and development of the South Central Ohio District campgrounds in Logan, Ohio—now known as the Logan Conference Center. He also facilitated the building of the South Central Ohio District Office. But Homer didn’t just build buildings for the church here in Ohio. He also was part of the district’s first Work and Witness team to Haiti in 1974.  Since 1974 Homer has taken at least one trip a year for missions and many times several trips in a year with over 100 mission trips in 42 years.

Homer also served on numerous boards and committees for the district, including (and this is not everything—just a taste!) district camp meeting trustee, district home missions board, district delegate to general assembly, district finance committee, and district advisory board (for 28 years, serving as secretary for most of that time). In fact, he was designated as District Layman of the Year way back in 1984—and he served on many of these boards until 2008!

Serving the Broader Church of the Nazarene

Homer McKnight has done much more than serve the church in Ohio. He served on the Nazarene Bible College Board of Trustees for eighteen years, helping to guide that organization prepare pastors and ministers for service in the church. And he wasn’t just on the board; during that time he served as treasurer, finance committee chairman, chairman of the audit investment committee, and on the executive committee. As part of this surprise Father’s Day celebration, Homer McKnight was also presented with the International Church of the Nazarene’s Distinguished Service Award, “in appreciation for advancing God’s kingdom around the world.”

Serving God through the Design and Construction of Church Building Projects

The celebration of Homer McKnight’s service included a special recognition video, which we want to share with everyone (Click Here). Narrated by his children and grandchildren, this video bears witness to his service and shares some memorable stories. As Homer’s son David McKnight says his dad taught him, “If you call yourself Christian, then there’s work for you to do.” As you can imagine, we are proud of what our founder, Homer McKnight, has accomplished in his years of service to God and the church. We are also proud of his work in church design, creating buildings that work for churches across this great country. We join his church in thanking Homer McKnight for his service to the Lord and the community, and we are proud to carry on his vision.

2016-07-06T10:45:07+00:00 July 6th, 2016|Featured, Leadership, Uncategorized|

Designing the Best Church Building Committee

church-building-committeeWe frequently mentioned building committees in our articles. They form a critical communication component between our work and your church’s vision.

If you don’t have the right membership on your church building committee, it can cause problems during the church design and construction phases of your project. For that reason, we want to outline three guidelines for bringing together a church building committee that will provide the most effective support possible.

Choose Vision over Expertise

It’s logical to think that having construction expertise on the committee is important. While we believe there is value to that, we also believe there is a much more important criterion to use when choosing committee members: whether they understand your church.

In other words, don’t sacrifice vision for knowledge. It is far more valuable and helpful for us, or any church design and building professionals, to be working with a team that understands the vision of your church.

We need people who are plugged into what God has called you to do and who to reach. Those are the ones who will help us design and build a church that really will meet your needs.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

So many churches dream much bigger than their finances allow. This is why you need at least one financial representative on your building committee.

He or she can provide a reality check to the visionaries on your committee and support a church design that is within your budget. This finance expert will also understand the connection between the vision and the building, and can explain that to the rest of your finance team in ways they can understand and support.

Involve Your Church Building Committee Every Step of the Way

In far too many cases, we discover that churches create multiple committees in the process of developing a church building project. They might start with a long-range vision committee, then add a planning committee, then start a building committee, and finally bring in a finance committee that’s supposed to figure out how to raise money for it all.

The problem arises when the building committee doesn’t understand the reasons for the decisions made by the earlier committees, and the finance committee isn’t on board with the vision and doesn’t want to support that level of fundraising.

With one committee, involved from the very beginning, everyone understands the choices made for the project and knows whether it’s possible for a church of your size and demographics to afford it. Nothing gets lost in translation.

Learn More

The information above comes from a recent McKnight Group webinar on the principles of a successful church building project, conducted by Philip Tipton, our vice president of architecture. To learn more about successful church building projects, visit our website, read about our 2016 series of free i3 webinars, and sign up today.

2015-12-16T18:24:56+00:00 December 16th, 2015|Church Building, Leadership, Uncategorized|

Another Stewardship Campaign Perspective for Church Building Projects, Part I

stewardship-perspectivesAdvice is sometimes like eating at different restaurants. Even though the food is good at one, doesn’t mean it’s not good at another. It’s better to seek variety. The same is true of advice.

When it comes to advice from professional consultants; not everyone has the same perspective, content, or message to share. Each professional has their own blend of training, experience and perspective that together create a unique viewpoint on how to achieve success. For this reason, we are continuing our series of roundtable discussions with another perspective on how to conduct a successful stewardship campaign for your church building project.

Introducing Mark Brooks

Our consultant for this two-part roundtable discussion is Mark Brooks, Founding Partner and President of The Charis Group. After 20 years of pastoral experience in both large and small churches, Mr. Brooks worked for another stewardship organization before launching The Charis Group. This breadth of experience, on both sides of the stewardship campaign process, gives him a powerful perspective for offering advice to church leaders who are seeking to fund their own church building or renovation projects. The Charis Group specializes in tailoring stewardship campaigns to the individual needs of specific churches and their situations.

Two Paradigm Shifts in the “New Normal” Stewardship Campaign

Mr. Brooks believes that there are two major changes in giving patterns since the “great recession” began in 2008. The first is a trend toward more conservative pledging. Church members, naturally, want to make sure that they can fulfill their commitment to the church. With an economy that is still in the recovery process, people are less certain that they will be able to fulfill their pledges, and thus they are making more conservative commitments.

The second trend is that there is a larger percentage of church members who are unwilling to sign a pledge card at all. Often these people have been directly impacted by the recession, and they are not sure they will have a job for the entire period covered by the pledge drive. Usually they will give single gifts to the campaign, or periodic gifts as they are able. However, they are unwilling to make a pledge commitment of any kind to avoid making promises they might not fulfil.

Some Generational Church Building Pledge Trends

There is always a difference in what each generation is willing and able to commit to a stewardship campaign, and Mr. Brooks is seeing these differences become more pronounced in the current recession. Senior adults are all but absent from pledge drives these days, and if they give at all, they are giving little because of concerns that they will outlive their money. This is a major issue for church building campaigns, because older adults used to be the main drivers of such campaigns.

Millennials, on the other hand, are driven by a need for information, asking lots of questions and wanting to verify that their funds will be used appropriately, and that the money is truly needed. They are also less likely to make a long-term pledge commitment because they feel less secure about the future than older generations.

Stay Tuned for Part II

The result of these trends is a marked decrease in pledge totals. How then should a church approach the stewardship campaign? Stay tuned for our next post, where Mr. Brooks will share his wisdom on this question. To stay connected with this and other current church building and remodeling issues, look for our 2015 i3 webinar schedule coming in December.

2014-10-28T07:32:51+00:00 October 28th, 2014|Advice, Leadership, Uncategorized|

God’s Building Project

The McKnight Group is working on a church building for Garfield Memorial United Methodist Church in Pepper Pike, Ohio. We do projects like this all the time – and each one is different. In this case, the church decided they wanted to take the opportunity to more closely link the building project with their worship life, so they created a four-part worship series called God’s Building Project.

Church Building Then and Now

Garfield Memorial Church grounded their worship series in God’s rebuilding efforts in Jerusalem following the Babylonian exile. This story is found in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah. While many of the materials and methods used for building in Jerusalem 2500 years ago are very different from those used today, there are a lot of similarities, too. In addition to the use of wood and stone, one thing that ties together church building projects of any age is the faith of the people who are doing the work.

Building a Church with Faith

Garfield Memorial Church decided that they wanted to help the members of their congregation make a connection with the people who come to work on their church building project during the week, many of whom are also Christians. Mike O’Dell is our Superintendent for the Garfield Memorial Church building project, and he agreed to be interviewed for a video sermon opener for each week of the God’s Building Project worship series.

Building a Strong Foundation

In one of the videos, he talks about the importance of a strong foundation, and going the extra mile to make sure that the foundation is wide, deep and strong enough to support all the ministries that take place above it. In another video he shares his own experience of accepting the Lord, and how it has transformed his life. In these videos, people also see many construction workers in action, making Garfield Memorial Church’s building project a reality while they hear Mike share his hopeful prayers for the future of the church.

Just like Mike, everyone here at The McKnight Group takes great pride in our work. We build more than just buildings. We create relationships, build partnerships, and together we are helping to grow the kingdom of God.

We invite you to share these inspiring videos with others, and to sign up for our free i3 webinar series, where you can learn more about what we’re doing, why we do it, and how we can help your church create your special version of God’s worldwide building project.


2014-03-04T08:48:44+00:00 March 4th, 2014|Leadership, Uncategorized, Vision|

McKnight Gives Back in 2014

When Homer McKnight started The McKnight Group in 1970 he wanted to focus on church buildings, but as a new business, he also took on building opportunities in other areas. As a result, our company designed and built over 200 buildings for the small business community.

By the early 1990s, The McKnight Group felt led to make a commitment to become the leading expert in church design and building in our country. Tens of thousands of people have been touched through partnerships between The McKnight Group and hundreds of churches in 39 different states over the last 43 years. God has truly blessed us as we have literally helped to build over a million square feet of His kingdom here on earth.

Expanding Our Business Model

During the past 20 years, The McKnight Group has turned down project requests from many business owners because of this exclusive focus on our ministry clients.  We are now established as experts in the church building field, and we sense that God is calling us to broaden our focus and serve the business community as well.

This does not mean that we will abandon our building ministry with churches. In fact, we decided that the perfect way to spread the news about our availability to help businesses grow their building projects was to offer our current and former church clients—and even those churches that might be considering a relationship with us—a unique opportunity to support local businesses and their own churches as well.

Growing Relationships

You see, one of the strengths of The McKnight Group, which we have learned over our years of collaborative church building projects, is that strong relationships are the key to success. We care about the final outcome of all of our projects.  We want to help churches be better at ministry than before we came to help. Now we want to provide the same integrity and professional services to business clients as well.

It’s Time to Give Back

If you have a business owner in your congregation or community who needs help determining the best method to expand or build a business facility, we can help them.  If your business contact is one of the first ten business owners to sign a construction contract with us in 2014, The McKnight Group will make a contribution to your church’s ministry.  This is our way of saying “thank you” for supporting our building ministry.

Some of you located in central Ohio may have already received a letter and email from us regarding this unique opportunity. If so, we encourage you to keep thinking about members of your community or community who might be in need of our building services. This opportunity is open to any church that was, is, or desires to be in a building project relationship with us.

To learn more about The McKnight Group’s building projects with businesses, we invite you to visit our business website.


2014-01-28T08:28:55+00:00 January 28th, 2014|Leadership, Uncategorized|

Beyond Churches: The McKnight Group and Business Owners

The McKnight Group is known for our innovative church designs and efficient church remodeling services, but our vision is to serve our communities through more than church building. The McKnight Group works with business owners to expand their facilities with our business design build services.

We’re there from the Start…

Deciding to build or expand a commercial facility is daunting and no matter how excited you may be, one thought always looms large: What will this cost me?

The McKnight Group’s business design build service process starts at the idea stage, just as we do with our church leaders. Share with us your idea, and we can complete a feasibility study answering your questions and concerns. You’ll soon be armed with the right information, including the zoning codes, building codes and the cost for the project, which will allow you to make an informed decision.  For a business owner, you feel added comfort knowing you’ll be working with a team that shares your values of integrity and service.

… And you’re there to the Finish

Once the metaphorical groundwork is laid, it’s time for the actual groundwork. Putting your project in someone else’s hands is always nerve-wracking, and that’s why we know the most successful projects are those that involve the client every step of the way. This sentiment is part of the “Design-Build” portion of our business design build services. You’ll get to work firsthand with a design team that has experience in completing hundreds of successful projects together.

Our Buildings Tell Our Story

The McKnight Group’s Projects page showcases the excellence of our past projects, and our commitment to both beauty and efficiency in building. From commercial offices to our unique community-building churches with multi-ministry capability, every project is tailored to the client’s vision, turning their exciting idea into an even better reality.

The McKnight Group works tirelessly to facilitate God’s work through our church and business building. Let us help you spread Christian values and the word of God through our business.


2013-12-10T13:24:28+00:00 December 10th, 2013|Advice, Leadership, Uncategorized|

Testimonials Witness to the Success of Church Design and Remodeling

Testimonials are an important part of a church’s life. Sharing testimonies spreads the good word about Christ’s work to church members and beyond. Of course, testimonials can also spread the good word about a business’ successes, and today we’d like to share some of the awesome ways that the work of The McKnight Group has touched the lives of congregations around the country. Because we specialize in the design and construction of multi-ministry buildings that work, we have helped leaders like you bring more and more people into the Kingdom of God.

Building Relationships

When someone has something good to say about you, it demonstrates the trust that’s been built through their relationship with you. One way we start building relationships is by sharing our free i3 webinars so that you can learn more about what we do. Another way is by sharing the experience of other pastors who have developed actual building relationships with us in the process of designing and building their church buildings.

So what do they have to say about us? That we “were extremely attentive,” have “always been there to help [them] think through facility options,” “gave wise input,” and “were flexible enough to handle [them] with care and strong enough to let [them] lead.” These church leaders “felt comfortable and confident with the partnership” and “would recommend [us] without hesitation to anyone who would care to listen.”

Building on Your Mission and Vision

Church design or remodeling is only the skeleton of the package that we provide. If we do not have a thorough understanding of your church’s mission and vision, how can we hope to create a church building that meets your ministry needs? So we are proud to have testimonials from church leaders who have appreciated our attentiveness to their mission and vision.

Here is some of what these happy church leaders have to say:

  • McKnight was our builder of choice for this and has been a great partner. They “get it” when it comes to blending mission and sacred space.
  • Their ability to translate our ministry dreams into a cutting edge facility was inspiring.
  • They took our congregation’s dream and turned it into a relevant and cutting edge tool that now attracts people.

Building the Kingdom of God

Ultimately our goal is the same as yours: to build up the Kingdom of God. While you might do it with words, we do it with architectural drawings and construction materials. Here are some of the testimonials from church leaders who appreciate our professional expertise and the fact that our focus on the building allowed them to focus on growing their congregations:

  • We have found [The McKnight Group] to be a group of men and women who understand the needs of the church in the 21st Century, committed to the cause of the Kingdom of God, which was a great encouragement for us.
  • We find The McKnight Group’s staff to be capable and knowledgeable professionals. They have always gone above and beyond what is reasonable to assure our satisfaction.
  • The McKnight Group understands the needs of today’s church.

We hope that these testimonials will give you confidence in pursuing your own church’s mission and vision for the growth of God’s Kingdom.


2013-11-26T09:42:34+00:00 November 26th, 2013|Advice, Leadership, Uncategorized|

Choosing Partners who are Experts at Architecture Construction and Ministry

We’ve talked on this blog before and in our free i3 webinars, about the importance of having a clear, concise, and coherent vision for any church design or remodeling project that you undertake. There are a lot of people who need to buy into this vision for your building or remodeling effort to be successful. Naturally, this includes the members of your congregation and community who will be called upon to fund the project, but it also includes all those professionals who will be called to join with you in making this vision a reality.

Concrete Experience

When it comes to creating those professional partnerships that make a major project successful, it is critical that the chosen firms have a concrete understanding of the work they are undertaking. This is most likely to occur when architectural firms and general contractors hired have actual prior experience working on other ministry-oriented buildings.

Every architecture firm and construction company develops their own specializations over time. Some focus on maximizing the number of affordable and comfortable apartments that they can squeeze into space-limited, downtown real estate. Others learn how to create efficient and inviting office buildings that blend into their suburban landscape or concentrate on the specific building needs of specialized clients like high-tech engineering and biological research firms. None of those companies will likely have the expertise you need for your ministry building project, even if the firm’s owner is a member of your church community.

Concrete Relationships

Instead, you need to focus on finding professional partners who understand the particular challenges that come with a church building project. It’s important they recognize the unique way churches go about making decisions, because it will influence their own design and development process. These partners need to know how to interact with the various created church teams and to understand the importance of developing working relationships with church members who can speak passionately about their church’s vision.

As we discuss in our free i3 webinar, the professional partners that you choose to work with on your building or remodeling project need to “offer a process that expertly converts your immediate and long-term ministry objectives into a facility plan that you can afford, and that’s very compelling from a ministry standpoint.”

Concrete Results

The effort you undertake to find the right professional partners is time well spent. Being able to speak, and understand the same language of vision and ministry is critical to achieving concrete results that will turn your building project into reality.

We invite you to join us for our free webinar series and to learn more on why choosing to work with a partner who is an expert at architecture construction and ministry is a key component to a successful project.


2013-11-05T09:38:10+00:00 November 5th, 2013|Advice, Leadership, Uncategorized|

5 Foundational Thoughts for Great Capital Stewardship

We discuss capital stewardship and capital campaigns for church funding pretty regularly in our free i3 webinars. Today, we would like to dig into some of 5 foundational thoughts to help your church have a successful capital campaign.

1. Strong Leadership Gets Great Results
Church leaders should not be afraid to spearhead a campaign for church funding, and that includes being the one to actually ask for the funding. This can feel uncomfortable, but publicly being the church architect of both the project and the funding lets donors feel close to the heart of the project, and therefore, truly understand where their money is going.

2. Trusted Leadership
Being the leader of an effective capital campaign is only possible if you’ve paved the way with effective leadership before now. In the church, we always want to walk our talk and be credible leaders, as representatives of God. Church funding led by a trusted leader, can help your church achieve incredible results.

3. It’s About The People
Next to being a good leader, the most important part of a church funding drive is to humanize your vision. When you’re showing your potential donors the pictures of your future church, for example, make sure to show the people the projects will be helping. Add smiling faces, because in the end, the project you’re raising funds for is all about people.

4. Know Your Audience
Make sure you know the audience you’re addressing for your church funding. As givers, what profile do they fit? Are they giving from abundance, or giving from sacrifice? You do not want to either pressure those who give from sacrifice, or insult those who give from abundance, so do your research before speaking out.

5. Hiring a Pro Gets Immense Results
Many churches shy away from the notion of hiring a capital campaign consultant because the fees can seem scary. Churches just aren’t used to dealing with those sorts of numbers, and running a capital campaign seems so easy at the outset. But I can tell you after having spearheaded half a dozen capital campaigns, that a professional consultant is invaluable. It was actually a capital campaign consultant who taught me my best lesson about obtaining church funding by defining “success” for me. Success in a capital campaign, they said, is not about the dollar figure, when too often that’s all we focus on. Really, capital campaigns and church funding are more about participation, because if most of your congregation contributes to a project, whatever the amount, that shows you have broad support, and can move forward with confidence.

We discuss these lessons and more about capital campaigns and church funding in our free i3 webinars. Register today to start planning a phenomenal capital campaign of your own.


2013-10-22T10:38:19+00:00 October 22nd, 2013|Leadership, Uncategorized|