1. Know What You Can Afford to Spend
This may sound obvious but there is a lot of hard work that goes into determining this number. It can’t be a guess. Too often churches concern themselves only with the average cost per square foot to build a church and very little time organizing their cash flow statement and balance sheet. If you begin looking at property or planning a renovation before you know this number your planning to fail. It doesn’t always happen, just most of the time. You don’t want to show up at the Porsche dealership with a Kia budget.
2. Know How Much Space You Need
Did you know there are industry standards for how many square feet a 2-year-old needs in a new church building. The same is true for babies, teenagers and adults. Understanding your real space need is a critical piece of information in solving the problem of how to build a church building. If you have good attendance records determining how much space you need should be a product of some relatively simple math.
The value in understanding this upfront is you can eliminate opportunities much faster. If you need 20,000 square feet you shouldn’t look at spaces with 8,000 or 80,0000 square feet. That makes sense right? Again, very few churches have this number in hand when they start.
3. Know What Things Cost – Generally
When a pastor asks me what it’ll cost to build a new facility the answer is always the same “not more than you can afford”. If it is, you won’t be building anything and you’ll have a sizeable chunk invested in the plan by the time you realize it. Hope is not a strategy for cost. You should expect God to come through but plan as if he already has with the margin he’s currently given you. Low-balling contractor’s early estimates won’t jive when it’s time for the rubber to meet the road. And contrary to popular belief there isn’t 10% or 20% of wiggle room in commercial construction these days so you won’t be able to negotiate the price more than a buck or two.
To date I’ve seen many many churches swing for the fence with their design expecting God to provide. The vast majority of them loose time, influence and momentum because of that thought process.
4. Don’t Trust God to Come Through
Understand that he already has come through. Plan your new facility within the margin he’s already provided. Far too many pastors head into a church-building campaign with “hope” as the primary strategy. Hope has a really poor batting average in church construction. Just because you pay someone to design it doesn’t mean God is going to fund it. I can’t say it enough: Do ministry within the margin God has provided. If you do, he’ll provide even more. I think Matthew might have mentioned something about that.
5. Don’t Focus On How to Build a Church Building
Focus on how to build a church. I wrote“Church Explosion”to help you understand just how disruptive church building will be on your church. But our God thrives in disruption. If you think back to the significant moments in your personal faith journey how many of those moments would be wrapped in chaos?
“Church Explosion” will encourage you to leverage the disruption that is coming to reach people for Christ. I hope you’ll take the time to buy it and read it. This moment of disruption won’t last long and it won’t soon come around again. Make the most of it.
As you embark on this journey its important to know that every piece of information you educate yourself with in helping you understand how to build a church building saves money that came from someone’s sacrificial giving. With that….keep pressing forward.