As we covered in a previous post, a 20% growth rate in weekly attendance each year is a positive indicator that your church is likely to continue growing. When it comes to making space for your congregation and ministries, the two options are typically to expand an existing building or to build a new one. Each path forward comes with pros and cons that you’ll need to consider before you begin.
Yes…SMART Goals. There are a million articles written every January about the transformative power of SMART goals. The illustrations are always the same and typically detail exercise gyms being overcrowded in January and nearly empty in February. As the story goes, the “January” people are armed only with “enthusiasm and desire,” but the February people are equipped with a SMART goal that endures even after the adrenaline fades. This familiar tale has a certain “truthiness” about it that makes it stick in our minds. Unfortunately, it utterly fails to mention that people will fail even with the best and well thought out goals in hand.
January 1st will be here before you know it. Hopefully, you’ve already established your operating plans for 2021. The new year always brings a sense of excitement and anticipation; this year even more so considering that 2020 has cast many congregations into “survival” mode. But after the ball-drops, calendar flips, and confetti falls, your congregation will find itself in the exact same position.
Prior to March of 2020, very few church members had lived through a pandemic. Although some congregations were better equipped than others to adjust to new normals, the effects of lockdowns and social distancing left most churches struggling to adapt. How could the church best continue its commission to “spread the gospel” amid calls to “slow the spread” of COVID-19?
Lockdowns and social distancing will eventually pass, and with a promised COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, you should examine whether your current or planned facilities will be equipped to handle worship in the coming year. Two areas come immediately to the forefront of the discussions.
Enthusiasm is contagious. When churches start discussing expansion, excitement fills the air, and visions of the “possible” often override the “practical.” During these times of blessing, caution and good stewardship mustn’t give way to over-zealousness. Not every suggestion, idea, or plan presented is in your best interests, and this includes input from professionals.
We do have scriptural precedent regarding debt. Churches should be cautious of their debt in much the same way individuals should be cautious of their debt. Although the philosophy of being “debt-free” can result in comfort or stability, it can also result in stagnation or refusal to invest in the future.
Because building a church facility is a relatively uncommon experience for the average churchgoer, determining project costs with any accuracy can be challenging. With so many differing opinions on what is needed and with multiple paths forward, how can you be sure you are reducing or eliminating unnecessary delays and costs overruns?