Making a decision about a church building in today’s world may be the last thing any church leader wants to do. But perhaps before the lockdown, restrictions, riots, and elections, a plan to consider expanding or remodeling your church building was beginning to form, or even had come together. Yes, the last 12 months probably pushed church design ideas to the background. But now, with a hope for the end of restrictions in the next 12 months, or maybe sooner, it’s time to consider those facility needs once more. Let us help you by giving some direction on what needs to be considered in today’s age.
Now Is the Time
Why should you think about facilities with everything else going on in our country today? Well, it can be a long stretch between your first conversation about needing a church building, remodel, or expansion, and the day you dedicate that facility. There are many necessary steps: developing a vision, drafting an appropriate church design, getting everyone in your church on board with the idea, raising funds for the building, securing a loan for the difference between the budget and your cash on hand, obtaining the various permits necessary, carrying out the construction project itself, and then finishing it in style by addressing everything from carpeting and furniture to the landscaping.
It’s very common for this whole process to take a few years. If you wait to see where things are then, you might find yourself in a situation that will make your church’s ministry coming into the new age more difficult.
Where to Start
The first thing you should do now is reassess your facility need. If your building was outdated and you were thinking of remodeling it, that need is still real. If your facility had infrastructure issues, HVAC, window replacement, roof replacement, and alike, those will still be there for you to deal with. If you put projects like these on hold, it’s time to proceed with them again.
Oh, and if you were out of space before, you will likely still be out of space and won’t have the room to carry out your ministry. In this case, it’s a no-brainer that you should be moving forward. Of course, this decision might be more difficult for churches who have seen half their congregation go online. How do you assess what to do?
What to Compare?
One thing the pandemic lockdowns have disrupted is data for comparison. Many churches won’t want to compare their 2019 attendance numbers with their 2020 ones. Some churches’ offerings have increased, while others have decreased since the pandemic began. The point is data comparison of attendance and finances will not provide much help in making decisions for the next few years.
But can you wait two more years to start planning? Buildings are expensive these days, so you do not want to delay if you don’t have to. You also do not want to take on a major project if you don’t have to, either.
How Can Decisions Be Made Easier?
First, make sure you have unity within your leadership for the mission and vision of your church. Everyone should have a realistic view of the post-pandemic world.
Like it or not, we have had some major shifts to the world we live in. The mission shouldn’t change, but the experiences of the past year and the outlook for the future may have you adjusting your vision. Make sure your leaders are unified with these new thoughts. When you have mission and vision in place, the goals and strategies will come out of that. This is where you can identify facility needs.
Faith has always been important but will be even more so in making these decisions. It is clear that people have opinions, and in today’s world they divide us more than ever. Even with a clear vision and unity of direction, you need to be prepared for conflict no matter what path you choose, and faith will help resolve it.
Next, decide how urgent your facility needs are. Is it a long term need or an urgent one? Realize that the planning process will take time, so even long-term needs require addressing well in advance.
Following a Process Leads to Peace of Mind
Once you’ve followed this process and make a decision to move forward, you can feel at peace knowing you have acted in faith. It is not blind faith, but action made given the facts, so you know you’ve made the best decision for your church. Taking action now could provide a great leg up coming out of the pandemic to reach your local community in ways you couldn’t imagine.