What size of a building do you actually need? Certainly, churches can find themselves on both ends of the spectrum. There is no one-size-fits-all formula. Your church has unique ministries, members, and goals, so your approach need not be modeled on what other churches (mega or mini) are doing. However, in general, the deciding factor for determining the size and shape of your next facility should be your average weekly attendance rate over the past three years. That is to say, what is the rate at which your church is growing?
Attendance averages always fluctuate. Growth should not be the only prerequisite to building a new facility. Perhaps your existing facility is difficult to maintain, aesthetically outdated, or difficult to access. Sometimes, people just want something new! There’s nothing wrong with deciding you want a new facility for any reason the church decides is relevant!
If you decide to move forward with a new facility and if your average worship attendance has remained roughly the same for the last three years, you should consider a facility that will accommodate at least 10-15% more than your average weekly attendance. The additional space will provide room for growth but will present a minimal risk relative to the entire investment. If you experience an unexpected period of growth, extra services could potentially be scheduled to capitalize on the existing space.
If your average church attendance is growing about 5-10% every year for the past three years, you should probably consider upgrading to a facility that will accommodate 25-30% more capacity than your average weekly attendance. The temptation may be to overbuild. However, even if attendance remains steady, a facility that dwarfs your current needs may not “look healthy.” 25-30% additional capacity will not appear “too cavernous” and will project the appearance of a healthy congregation that is welcoming to new guests.
What an exciting time! Few things match the intensity and passion of a vigorously growing church. Passionate hearts don’t always make the best financial decisions, however. If your church has been experiencing rapid attendance growth of greater than 20% per year for three or more years, consider upgrading to a facility that will accommodate 30-50% more capacity than your average weekly attendance. Although it remains true that the robust growth of your congregation is not always guaranteed, it is reasonable to invest in accommodations at this time because of your proven performance over multiple years.
As is true in most aspects of life, there is a balance between too little and too much for your future church home. Eden Religious Facilities has extensive experience helping congregations plan for growth and can provide unbiased guidance as you make reasonable plans for the future.
Contact Eden Religious Facilities to speak to one of our advisors.