This is another installment in our series about the eight principles of a successful church building project. Our vice president of architecture, Philip Tipton, has deep experience with many aspects of church architecture and is sharing some of his insight through this series. In this part, we’ll focus on how to be a good steward of your church’s money and how to understand budgeting proposals so that you get exactly what you need out of your project.
Creating a Functional Tool with Your Church Design
Chances are the way you perform ministry is shaped by your building. If you don’t think ahead about the need for multiple groups within your church to use the same space, you’re likely to wind up with a building that won’t help you fulfill your vision. This is especially important if, like many churches, you will be completing that building project in stages. Since you won’t get everything finished at once, you need to prepare carefully and develop a church building design that allows every ministry to use the space you’ve got to help grow the church.
Being Wise Stewards of Your Resources
In our introduction to this series, Philip mentioned “life cycle costing.” This is a really important principle when you’re looking to be good stewards of your resources. Yes, your church is making a huge investment with this building project, and chances are high that you will be pressured to cut corners somewhere.
However, if you install, for example, cheap carpeting that isn’t stain resistant and snags in just a few years, you’ll have to come back to those same people who gave for a new building and ask for more money for new carpeting. It’s better to explain the cost of the carpeting over its life cycle, stressing the importance of good stewardship in choosing a higher-quality carpeting that is more expensive but will cost you less over its functional life.
Other areas where people are tempted to cut corners in church design have to do with plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems. This should be avoided if you want your building to function well. A good way to think about it is to ask if the finished building will really honor God. Philip asks this question frequently when people are trying to determine what’s best for their particular situation.
Getting What You Need Out of That Budget
Some of your church members, and some of your leadership, are just going to want to know the bottom line: “How much per square foot is this going to cost us?” While that may be an easy number to throw out there, it’s very important to understand what’s involved.
For example, what level of construction oversight is included in that square foot number? Will there be an on-site superintendent present every day, or just somebody stopping by once a week? And does that prospective building company understand the needs and realities of church building design, or do they just have experience with residential or industrial construction?
The carpeting issue above is a good example here, too; does cutting that per-square-foot cost down mean that you’re going to be replacing the carpet in just five years—or that they’ve decided instead to just seal the concrete and not install carpeting at all?
Being a good steward of your architecture design, building, and budgeting processes is a wise way of ensuring your new or renovated church building will be a useful tool in fulfilling your church’s mission, now and well into the future. To learn more about designing the right church building for your vision, visit our website today and sign up for our free i3 webinars.