Our last several blog posts have detailed ways to transform a church building in a time when new construction may not be the best choice because of inflation. While every church is different, there are some common requirements that support a successful transformation of any church building. Here are five common foundations for any successful church design or remodeling project.
1. Create a Clear Vision for Ministry in Your Community
When some church leaders see that their church building is aging, and perhaps have had ad hoc conversations about it, they naturally want to update their church design. But before you spend money on anything, you should know why you’re doing it. Changes to your church building should be done with purpose and be based on both what your ministry needs are now, as well as where you anticipate they are going in the future.
For example, we’ve written about making a good first impression. But it’s important not to make changes to your church building just because someone wants to copy what another church is doing down the road. You want to prayerfully consider the full ramifications of where you’re going in the future, so you make the right statement to people you’re trying to reach when they walk into your church building.
2. Know What Ministries Need Better Space in Your Church Design
Once you have your church vision in place, you will know which active ministries to invest in. It may be that some thriving ministries need better functioning space within your church design. For instance, a fixed platform with built-in organ console and choir risers at the front of your worship space can significantly limit your worship options. Remodeling to create a flexible worship space creates freedom for different worship setups and styles without having to construct a new worship center.
Pay attention also to where your existing ministries are outgrowing existing spaces. If your youth group is growing, you may need to rearrange who meets where, and invest in remodeling a different area of your church building to accommodate the youth if you want to keep them coming to church.
3. Recognize Your Existing Church Building Budget Options
Of course, it’s not always possible to swap ministry spaces within an existing church design. If that’s the case, you might be looking at tearing down a wall or two to combine smaller rooms into one larger area. At that point, it’s important to take a good look at your budget and be realistic about how you can be a good steward of your funding sources, as well as your existing church building.
4. Allow Time to Investigate Church Design Options
Sometimes church leaders end up focusing on one small element of their church building, such as threadbare carpeting, and think the answer is immediate replacement. A better option is to develop a master plan that considers lighting, paint, and other features, so that you put together a complete scheme rather than just rushing out and changing the carpet.
Another example is the previously mentioned idea of tearing out a wall. Just because removing a wall looks like an easy answer, it may not be the best long-term solution. Before you make any structural modifications to your church design, it’s wise to investigate how each element of your church design fits into a broader whole.
5. Get People Unified about Your Church Vision
Whatever ideas you have to make your current ministries function more effectively, part of that functioning is having everyone on the same page. Unity is not everyone agreeing on the same color of flooring. There can be diverse ideas about small details, but in this example, you still need the people to be unified around the concept that the flooring needs updating. When people have unity about what your church needs, you can proceed with confidence that everyone is committed to what comes next.
To be inspired by other successful church building transitions, sign up for our next free i3 webinar.