We’ve been revisiting some current church design trends to provide photos and details to demonstrate what’s possible within today’s tight church building budgets. In our most recent post, we discussed remodeling existing church buildings. Now, we will focus on the church design and remodeling possibilities when you start with an existing commercial structure like a big-box store, movie theater or office building.

The Costs of Conversion

First, remember that remodeling an existing building will still require a sizeable investment. Renovating a commercial property into a workable church design usually requires significant modifications to structural, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems. The good news is that all this work can still cost less than constructing a new church building from the ground up.

It’s also important to make certain the look of a remodeled commercial building will help achieve your vision for ministry in your community. A big-box building will never look like a traditional brick gable church building. Nevertheless, especially since the economic downturn in 2008, remodeling commercial buildings for church use has become one of today’s most common church building trends.

Church Campus Example: Good Deals are Out There

Due to the just mentioned design considerations and their cost, it’s important to carefully consider the purchase price of an existing building. There are good deals out there. The best one we heard about—and it was highly unusual—was a church in Detroit, Michigan. They shopped around and were able to purchase a complete campus, with several buildings, for a cost of around $5 per square foot. While deals like that won’t be easy to find, there are still good ones that will make it possible to remodel for less than a ground-up build.

Church Design Example: Office Building Transformation

In this first picture, Heritage Wesleyan Church purchased a former insurance office building in Bettendorf, Iowa. You can see the institutional-like columns in the before picture on top. In the after picture below of the same façade, notice how we transformed the look of the building, even raising the roof to accommodate a spacious worship center on the upper level.

One way we transformed the building was to add a lobby around the front of the building. Here you can see the interior of that lobby and gathering space. We changed the color of the existing brick to help it blend into the welcoming environment that fit this church’s vision.

In the final picture group, you can see how bright, vibrant and secure children’s spaces were included in the design. What were once offices are now classrooms. We also combined some of the offices to create a larger space for a children’s church within that secure area.

All It Takes is Some Imagination

Church building trends, like remodeling office buildings, often require some creative thinking, and sometimes a bit of luck to find the right property that’s within your budget. With a good church design, it’s possible to successfully transform a commercial building into a church. We hope that these photos inspire you. To see more, sign up for our free i3 webinars, where we give you lots of examples about what’s possible.