When it comes to a church building project you need to take a realistic look at your financial situation and develop a good ballpark estimate of your church building costs before you ever clear the land or lay the foundation. However, the cost of construction may not be what you think it is.
The Recent History of Rising Inflation
Occasionally, although less often than in prior decades, we get churches calling us that expect to be able to complete a new church building for between $50 and $80 per square foot. They think that, because inflation has been so low in recent years, these are still reasonable numbers—but they are not, especially for new construction. If you’re hoping to complete a small church remodeling project, the high end of those kind of numbers might be possible, but certainly not for a new church building.
In 2010, the average cost to construct a new church building hovered near $100 per square foot, but inflation really began to kick in during 2017 and 2018. Today, when church leaders are beginning to discuss a new church building project, we suggest that they budget between $120 and $150 per square foot—and that is just for the church building itself.
Counting the Cost beyond the Church Building Itself
However, there’s much more to a church project than the building. Outdoors, you need to factor in site development (the cost to prepare the land for the building itself), parking lots, sidewalks, utilities, and landscaping. Indoors, you need to count the cost for flooring, paint, and furniture; appliances; lighting, sound, WiFi, and audiovisuals (and don’t forget the wiring!); and, of course, keys to your new church building. For us to truly deliver a turnkey church building project, we recommend that churches budget between $210 and $275 per square foot.
Raising Realistic Funds for a Church Remodeling or Building Project
Don’t despair. There are ways to raise funds for your church new construction project. Capital campaigns continue to be the primary method for raising church building funds. They can be very successful, especially if you are willing to engage a professional consultant that specializes in raising funds for church projects. There are numerous companies around the country that do this kind of work. Here at The McKnight Group, we know them all. This means we can recommend a company that will be the right choice, the right fit, for your church and your vision for ministry.
We strongly recommend that you do not go it alone. Building or remodeling a church is a team effort. Engaging experienced consultants for both the fundraising and the church building project itself is always good stewardship. This is also why we share so much of our own hard-earned wisdom in our free i3 webinars. Let us become part of your team. Sign up today for our next i3 webinar.