Along with utilizing multi-ministry spaces and remodeling outdated sections of your current church building, another current church building trend is to remodel other types of already-constructed buildings. Our annual look at trends continues with an example of one such project.

Why Consider an Existing Building for Your Future Church Home?

The trend of remodeling existing non-church structures began back in 2008, in part because it’s good stewardship. Constructing a new church building is usually more expensive than remodeling an existing structure. The better value has led to churches buying big box retail stores, warehouses, and even movie theatres or office buildings to adapt and reuse as their ministry homes.

Understanding the Challenges of Converting Big Boxes to Fit Your Church Design

Of course, there are challenges with converting a commercial building for use as a church facility. Commercial buildings can require significant structural, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical modifications to meet your restroom, kitchen, café, and audiovisual needs.

Another challenge is that most big box stores have columns that are placed regularly throughout to support the roof. These don’t work well when church leaders want large, clear-span worship spaces with grand seating areas and no obstructed views. This means that there can be some additional remodeling costs to match your desired church design more closely with what is structurally possible. But even factoring in those costs, existing building space can be available for far less than the cost of new construction.

One Big Box Church Building Example: The Tree Church

These photos show how the remodeling of an existing department store worked well for church leaders at the Tree Church in Lancaster, Ohio. The property is right on the main street in town, giving the new church building excellent visibility in the community. We added more glass to help the entryway to this contemporary church feel more open and inviting—and of course included trees in the exterior church design!

Indoors, we were able to create a 1000-seat worship auditorium with the removal of just two columns. Yes, it was a relatively expensive structural maneuver to remove those two columns, but it was clearly worth it to have a worship space with an unobstructed view. The expense was still much less than it would have cost to construct a complete church design from scratch. Overall, you would never know that this used to be a department store. That’s in part because the church leaders really stepped up, creating the color scheme, and investing in excellent signage throughout their new church building.

So, you don’t have to start from scratch to obtain an attractive, functional church design, as these images demonstrate. To learn more about trends such as this, as well as all the latest best practices in church building today, sign up for our next free i3 webinar.