Incredible growth can come when a congregation and its leadership break ground on a new building. But those same exciting times can also be times of great stress, sometimes even splitting a church if things do not go well. Construction and its financing are complicated, and many well-seasoned church leaders find themselves in over their heads when things start to go wrong. Educating yourself on the entire process prior to beginning construction, or even finding financing, can be instrumental in avoiding problems. This article describes the various steps of the process, pointing out specific areas that should be considered when planning any building project.
Step 1: Vision and planning
Before an architect draws the first line on the blueprints or the builder lays the first brick of your future building, it is essential for church leadership to carefully analyze the vision and planning process for the entire project. Because obtaining financing to build a new facility can be one of the most challenging decisions for a church, strong consideration should also be given to the other options available to acquire space. There are four ways to acquire new facility space:
1. Leases. An appropriate lease, with suitable terms and reviewed by legal counsel, can be a good way for a church to expand its footprint without having to spend the time and expense of obtaining financing and building a facility.
2. Purchase of an existing facility. Another option that should be given strong consideration is the availability of existing properties/facilities in your area for purchase. Purchasing an existing facility may be advantageous because, among other reasons, renovations generally will be less expensive than new construction, require a shorter amount of time to complete, and often entail less government involvement. In addition, while the cost of construction continues to increase, there has been an increasing availability of foreclosed or otherwise vacant commercial properties nationwide.