One reason to attend our free i3 church building webinars is the chance to get your questions answered live by one of our church design and construction experts. You’ll also learn the latest information about everything from church vision to finishing touches. Here are answers to some church leaders’ questions asked in our recent Funding Your Church Building i3 webinar.
How do we address the impact of COVID-19 on church attendance numbers?
This is an excellent question that most church leaders are having to address. Mortgage lenders will ask many questions about the health of the church as they calculate how much funding to offer for your new church design and construction, and the impact of COVID-19 is being felt everywhere. If you’re concerned that year-to-year attendance numbers have gone down with closures and restrictions, remember that everyone is in the same boat.
So, the solution is to find out how other churches are doing and determine if you can make a favorable comparison. For example, there’s a research organization called Barna that can give you statistics about church attendance and other information. We learned from them that mainline churches are at about 50% of their pre-COVID attendance, evangelical churches are between 60–70%, and Pentecostals have rebounded to 90% of their pre-COVID levels. So, if your numbers look better than some of those here, you can use that information in your funding application.
Attendance isn’t the entire picture, either. It might be that your attendance shrunk, but attendees are contributing more in total or at a higher average rate. By researching what is happening to other churches on a national level, it might be possible to show more favorable statistics for your church in comparison and use that information in your funding application. The important thing is to put your best foot forward, no matter what the past few years have been like.
Is it better to buy land for cash or keep cash on hand?
The short answer is that cash is always helpful in the funding calculation. Land won’t help you much in terms of the appraisal, especially (as we explain here) if you have an existing church building on it. If you have an open field in a busy area or where land is expensive, that might help brighten your overall financial picture. Otherwise, it’s better not to spend money on land until you have an idea of the total construction budget. Knowing the budget may redirect your focus to other options.
How can we best motivate attendees to give to our church building project?
This is another good question. Sometimes, church leaders are tempted to talk up how fancy the new church building will be. However, we think it’s better to focus on the church vision and mission for ministry in your community, and how a new or remodeled church design can better meet your ministry needs.
It’s important for everyone to realize how your church building is a tool for ministry, not an end in itself. Rather than saying, “the building will be X square feet and built from stone,” talk about how the new church design will allow you to have 50 kids together in the youth room, building relationships with each other and learning about Christ.
We’re always happy to answer any church design and building questions you bring to our free i3 webinars, or at any time by reaching out to us. Meanwhile, we encourage you to stay informed by registering now for our next webinars.