Choosing the Right Building for Your Church | Griffin Capital Funding

How to Choose the Right Building for Your Church?

Are you looking for information on how to choose the right building for your church? If you are, you’re at the right place. Finding the right building for your church is a crucial first step in establishing a successful church plant that effectively engages and inspires church-goers and attracts new people from the community. Ideally, a church facility has positive attributes like great visibility, easy accessibility, ample parking space, and a pleasant meeting place, to name just a few.

However, finding a building with the essential attributes and within the given budget is no easy task. Moreover, in the beginning, building a new church from scratch may not be a financially viable option. In that case, considering existing buildings and selecting one that best meets your requirements is a good alternative. For those of you who’re looking to find the right site to construct a church plant, again there’s a variety of factors to carefully take into account considering the heavy investment in construction and infrastructure and given that the building will permanently serve as a church site.

If you’re looking for an existing building for your church, here’s a comprehensive guide that explores how you can choose the right building for your church. We help streamline the process so you can take into account some important criteria and do’s and don’ts for finding the right house for your new church.  

Are You Open to Renting a Facility for Specific Hours? 

Look around at existing buildings some of which may serve as an excellent meeting place for your congregation on Sunday mornings or anytime during weekends. Sometimes the right building may be right under your nose but you may not realize it. Have you considered renting any of the following facilities for fixed hours for your church?

how to choose right church building

Community Centers 

Community centers are a great venue if you’re looking to rent for Sunday morning service. These have spacious seating areas with adequate capacity to hold small-sized to large gatherings. They also have kitchen facilities and a cafeteria for serving refreshments or beverages after the Sunday service. In most cases, these centers are well known within their communities so they can be easily located, ensuring a higher attendance. 

Schools & Colleges

Educational institutes like schools and colleges have large facilities with adequate seating capacity, which can be rented anytime during weekends. 

Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

Many businesses and non-profit organizations are closed on Sundays and are open to renting their facilities then. These buildings have conference rooms and auditoriums, which house sound and video equipment – excellent for church service. However there’s a caveat: take necessary precautions while using the facility’s existing equipment as any damage may need to be compensated by the church. The same applies to the rental space as well. It’s best to ensure that the facility is cleaned up after use or else cleaning fees may be charged to the church or worse they may even refuse to rent the space for future meetings.

Conference/Ball Rooms, Auditoriums

Other public spaces that possess large halls, ballrooms, or auditoriums are hotels, daycare centers, and movie theaters. Look for such rentable facilities to hold your church meetings. 

Purchasing or Leasing an Existing Facility

If you’re looking to purchase or lease a facility to convert into a church, that’s a great option too, so you don’t have to move equipment and other essentials for every meeting as you would if you were only renting for fixed hours. This is also a great alternative to constructing a church facility from scratch.  

Especially in cities or other urban areas where open land is scarce, purchasing or leasing an existing building is the only choice. In fact, in some cases, unused churches are available for sale. Availability of a ready to move in church is a best case scenario as it wouldn’t require any modifications or structural changes to the facility. 

But this may not always be an available option. In that case, consider purchasing or renting vacant commercial buildings or industrial sites – these already have established utilities, large parking spaces, and storm water control structures. For other specific functional requirements, the facilities can be modified to suit your requirements. This is a more cost-efficient alternative to constructing churches from the ground up, which typically require a large budget, which new churches may not necessarily possess. Here we explore some factors that you should consider when choosing the right building for your church: 

Location

When it comes to choosing a building for your church, location is key. A church must be located at a central location preferably in order to be accessible to a larger number of people in the community. In addition consider whether it is convenient for the existing members to attend church in the new location and whether the congregation has any location preferences.

Also look for any public or private zoning ordinance, which restricts the usage of a commercial property for some specific purposes like opening of a school or church. If this is the case, the new church committee may need to request the local government to allow the use of a building for a church. In addition there could be access requirements imposed on the site which may require you to sponsor traffic signals or turning lanes. 

Building Layout

Is the layout of the building conducive to the mission of the new church? Does it have a children’s area that’s close to the congregation hall so parents can mind their kids? Will members be able to navigate the facility if adequate signage is provided at appropriate locations? Is there a sufficient number of restrooms to support large congregations on Sundays? And where are they located? If they’re too close to the congregation hall, the preaching may be frequently interrupted with the constant sound of the toilet flushing. 

Adaptability

Some buildings can be more easily adapted or modified with minor changes to suit a church’s mission and purpose whereas others may be less easily adapted, requiring significant changes. These changes may be structural like widening the hall space or functional like setting up electric and natural gas for the power, lighting, and heating requirements or adequate water resources for large congregations. 

Is the building energy- and heat-efficient or will it be expensive to keep it warm during the colder months? In some facilities, there is plenty of capacity to meet the new church’s electrical requirements while others may require additional power or electrical panels. So how you can choose the right building for your church depends on your specific requirements. 

Parking

Any space that holds large gatherings requires ample parking space to accommodate a large number and type of vehicles. In case the facility premises don’t hold the adequate number of parking spots, look around to check whether parking can be arranged anywhere nearby. Since churches are packed to full capacity typically on Sundays, it makes sense to rent additional, nearby parking spots on a prior basis, if possible. This would help ensure that attendance is not hampered due to a minor issue like parking.

Price

Price is a crucial factor governing the choice of a building for any purpose, not just churches. While it may seem counterintuitive, buying an existing building is more cost reasonable than buying cheap, undeveloped land. While the latter seems like a more cost efficient alternative initially, it turns out to be quite expensive as it entails huge construction and infrastructure costs. In fact the land may even have to be prepared for development before you can start building any structure on it. In addition the cost of adding utilities, underground water supply and sanitary lines, storm water control structures, may cost much more than anticipated. So buying an existing building and making modifications to it to suit your purpose is always more economically reasonable than building a church from scratch.

However, even when buying an existing building, price is usuallythe driving factor. Typically buildings in the heart of the city will be much more expensive than those in remote areas. However purchasing or leasing a building in an extremely remote or secluded area on the far outskirts of the city may not serve the purpose of serving the community if people are reluctant to travel far and wide to a remotely inaccessible location.how to choose right church building

Competition

When scouting for the right building or location, be sure to check whether there are any churches in the locality or surrounding regions. If yes, how far are these from the building you’re considering adopting for your new church? In addition consider their style of worship and theology and how different will these be from your church plant?

If the existing church is different from yours, there is no harm in considering establishing your church plant in the same locality. If not, then there will likely be competition which may not send the right message for a new church.

Architecture

Some buildings have traditional style and architecture while some are modern. It’s best to consider the buildings in the neighborhood to look for the preferences of those living in the area or surrounding regions. When scouting for the right building, think about whether its style and architecture are appropriate for the purpose of a church. 

Other Factors

When scouting for a building for your church, examine the region for other factors that may disturb the peace and aura of the site. Check for negative factors like the presence of a chemical plant nearby which may produce a strong stench that can have a negative effect on the environment of the church, discouraging people from visiting the church plant. This may defeat the purpose of establishing a new church, which is to serve and welcome a larger part of the community.

In addition consider the culture and aroma of the existing facility – are these conducive to your ministry? Restaurants, pubs, and nightclubs may exude a strong stench that may be overwhelming for a religious congregation and wouldn’t be in line with the pleasant, welcoming atmosphere that one expects at churches.  

Also consider the purpose for which the existing building is currently used or was originally being used? In addition, is there an adequately large adult seating capacity or a children’s area? In the future, if the church grows and attracts a larger populace, can the building be expanded to support a larger congregation or crowds for other events like baptisms or weddings?

A streamlined selection process will help you find the right building for your church in a way that aligns with your church’s mission and ministry. It’s a great idea to begin by listing the public places with a seating capacity that equals or is greater than 100, in the desired locality. Your local city planning office is a great place to start as it typically possesses the relevant information.

Few Considerations When Leasing

Commercial leases can be complex, so make sure you understand the clauses before signing any agreement. Also consider the subleasing clauses like whether you would be required to pay any penalties in case you need to sublet in the future. Moreover take into account all hidden costs that you may have to incur. For instance, are you responsible for paying utilities or will these be covered in the rental cost? Will you have to pay the property tax or maintenance fees for the common areas? Most importantly, will the rent increase during the duration of the lease and if yes, by how much percent?

For new church plants, personal guarantees are often required. It’s best for the church committee members or the planter to avoid placing their personal assets as collateral. No matter where you’re planning to open your church plant, it’s always a good idea to establish a future facility fund for saving money to cover at least a part of your purchase, lease, or renovation costs. 
We hope we answered the oft-repeated question – how to choose the right building for your church. If you’re thinking of how you can buy the right building for your church without adequate funds, Griffin Capital Funding, an accredited financial firm, can help. It has provided 1200 church loans till now. What’s more we don’t need personal guarantees and have a hassle free process with no upfront fees. Fill out the form now to check loan rates (we respond within 24 hours)!

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