Is It a Good Time to Start a Church Construction Project?
Has your church been experiencing membership growth? Then, expanding your church building or constructing a new one may be at the top of your priority list now. That’s especially because many church growth experts agree that building capacity plays a huge role in continued church growth.
According to the experts, churches cannot experience more growth when their seating reaches about 70% of their current capacity unless they have expansion plans. Unfortunately, it’s one thing to know that your church needs to commence a construction project. It’s another thing to kickstart it at the right time.
Have you heard of the saying, “timing is everything?” No truer words have been spoken when it comes to starting a church construction project. Vision must align with timing for any big project to be successful. Anything short of this amount means taking huge and ill-advised risks.
So, when is the best time to start expanding or constructing a new church building? This article is dedicated to answering this question—and many more. Let’s get the ball rolling.
Before delving into the ideal time for your church project, it’s necessary to know why timing is essential. This will help you appreciate the importance of getting it right.
The time within which you execute a project significantly affects its outcome. For example, the timing of a wrong decision is what determines whether it’ll end up as a disaster or a mere mistake. It’s disastrous to undertake the wrong project at the wrong time. However, it’s merely an error in judgment if a similar wrong decision is taken at the right time.
Meanwhile, making the right decision at the wrong time leads to rejection. Remember that the church is a much bigger entity than just you. As such, it’s important to consider acceptability when planning to expand or construct a new church building. Going ahead with a project without the congregation’s support will make everyone lose confidence in your leadership.
That leaves you with only one option—making the right decision at the right time. This is the only approach that leads to a successful and seamless execution of your plan. At the right time, most of the internal/external factors that you need to undertake your construction will be favorable. As such, there is significantly less risk of encountering overwhelming challenges as the project progresses.
In summary, timing is an important part of quality decision-making. Fortunately, many church leadership coaches like Kevin A Thompson, a seasoned writer and pastor, agree with this idea. According to him, “most of the bad decisions we make are about timing more than choices. Nearly every bad decision would have been a good decision in a different time.”
Have you decided that your church needs to expand or own a new building? Then you need to commence at the right time.
Forcing change on your congregation too quickly has negative consequences. It’s the same thing when you move too slowly on your construction project. The secret to implementing such a major change always lies in doing it at the proper time. Here’s what you stand to gain from doing so:
When planning to start a church building project, it’s always important to factor in the spiritual side. As a church leader, everything you do should be God-centered and reflect the purpose for which the ministry was started. Therefore, waiting for conviction from God to start your church project proves that you’re in line with God’s will. This brings unprecedented blessings and helps your church avoid unnecessary challenges.
Galatians 4:4 (ASV) says, “but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” Fullness here means “ripeness,” that is when the time is right. Jesus came at just the right time, not a minute earlier or later than ordained. As a Christian leader, you should follow this blueprint whenever you need to make Church decisions.
Determining the right time to start your church construction project involves a lot of prayer and consideration. You’ll have to consider how receptive your congregation will be to the idea and whether the church board will endorse your plans. Other factors to consider include finances, the investment market, opportunities available, the church’s vision and mission, etc. All these are essential aspects of a successful construction project.
So, thinking of the right time to get the ball rolling on your project involves considering the pillars upon which it stands. Considering the right factors for your church construction project reduces your chances of failure.
Finances are always a major consideration when starting a construction project. You’ll want to get a quality job done while saving as much money as possible. One of the surest ways to achieve this pocket-friendly goal is by undertaking your church construction project at the right time. That’s because there are many financial considerations to make in determining the right time to start your project.
As such, choosing the right time to build helps you to avoid unnecessary mistakes that will make you spend more money in the long run. It also reduces your risk of wasting funds by abandoning the project halfway due to inadequate finances.
As a church leader, there’s one thing your congregants need to see in your leadership—confidence. Not only must your confident approach to leading the flock be evident, but they must also have confidence in your skills. They need to know that you have integrity and are adept at quality decision-making. Starting your church building at the right time is one of the ways to achieve this.
When you start church construction at the ideal time, it eliminates uncertainties that may negatively impact your congregation’s trust in your leadership. With this confidence in your abilities, they’ll be more willing to give and help.
There are only a few things as heart-wrenching as watching church leaders and members disagree over construction plans. Unfortunately, this is almost inevitable if you’re undertaking a laudable project at the wrong time. With the right timing, it’s easy to convince your followers to receive or accept the idea of a new church building.
Once this is done and everyone adopts the idea, the construction plan will go on smoothly because you’ll all work as a team. There’d be no tension among the church stakeholders or ruptured organizations that may threaten the church’s existence.
Is now the perfect time to lay the foundation of your new church building, or should you wait a little longer? The factors below will give you proper insight into the right time to start your church construction project:
As a church, the first thing to consider when deciding to start a construction project is the will of God. Every other point for determination is a secondary or “supporting” factor. Your primary goal should be to honor God and fulfill the great commission better with the new project. Ask yourself how a new church building will help to produce new disciples. Is the construction project in line with the church’s values?
Spend adequate time seeking the will of God before embarking on the new construction project. Knowing that you’re doing God’s will gives you the confidence you need to commence and finish the construction project.
Your motive for starting a church project can determine whether it’s the right time to do so. As a church, the unspoken goal is to ensure that everything is done in a Godly manner and with Christ-like intentions. Every responsible church leader should only go on with a church construction project when they’re sure that the intentions behind it are pure.
Unfortunately, many church leaders fall into the trap of “keeping up with the Joneses,” materialism, and pride. These are no solid reason to consider building a church. Do your motives for starting a construction project for your church include unhealthy comparisons with other churches, an inferiority complex, the need to accumulate the latest materials, etc? If yes, these may be signs to reconsider your plans.
Good stewardship should be an essential part of your service to God and your congregants. As such, you must curtail every avenue for wasting church funds. If you’re considering starting a church project, one of the best ways to do this is by assessing your current expenditures and financial standing. Then ask yourself if it’ll be monetarily wise to begin construction at this time.
If your church is renting a structure, verify the cost of building a new one. Then compare it with the cost of renting facilities now and in the long run. If the cost of building a new church is less than that of renting one, it may be a sign that you need to commence your construction project.
For example, imagine that your church hosts at least several hundred congregants weekly. This means that you’ll have to rent facilities that can easily accommodate them and spend lots of time setting up temporary spaces and staging. At the end of the day, the costs of keeping up with this arrangement will likely be more than starting a new project from scratch.
The local congregation is an important part of every church project. So, ensure that their disposition is favorable towards your plan. If it isn’t, it’s a great idea to wait a while until they’re favorably disposed towards it to start. This is important because you need as much emotional and moral support as you can get to successfully pull it off.
If your congregation endorses the construction plan, they’ll be happy to donate and pray about it with you. They’ll also join in the planning and provide support for the project in any way they can. Since constructing a new church takes at least a year to complete, it affects every member of your church. They mustn’t feel left out of this huge project.
Besides the local congregation, you must also factor in the community where your church is located. That’s because as a member of the community, your church must align with the unspoken rules and values to avoid animosity towards your ministry. Again, a good number of your members will likely also be residents of the community.
To this end, it’s important to consider the culture of the community. Are the people unlikely to attend a new church if it doesn’t have its own building? Do they consider investment in church structures as a waste of money? Will building a new church impact the local community positively?
The answers to these questions can determine whether it’s the right time to start building a new church in that location.
It’s important to get other church leaders onboard with your plan. That’s what they’re there for anyway, to help you with the decision-making and ensure that everything goes smoothly. It may be a wrong idea to begin the project when you have not secured their support and considered their advice. So, be sure to take your campaign to the board before starting a project as big as this.
Besides merely being the right procedure to follow from a church compliance point of view, informing the church leadership has other benefits. For example, it presents a united front before your church members and makes it easier for them to support the plan to the end.
Favorable circumstances beyond your control may be indicators that it’s time to commence your building project. Is God placing it in the minds of your congregation to provide the funds for a new building project? Has a church member donated a piece of land to the church out of their free will?
Sometimes, the sign you’re looking for may come from people outside your church. For example, have you recently partnered with a school or any other organization that has opened the door to expansion talks? Has some other event made it necessary to discuss construction plans? These may be signals that the time has come to begin your project.
Have you considered all the necessary factors it takes to determine the right timing for your church construction? Is now the best time to get started? If yes, you’ll need to start project planning as fast as possible. Here are the essential steps to help you through this stage:
One of the first things to do when planning a church construction project is to draw up a budget. This budget should take the church’s needs and available resources into consideration. Expenses to consider in your budget include land, construction, design, site survey, environmental survey, subsurface investigation, and FFE (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment) costs.
Your church budget should also include additional costs like liability insurance, building permits, etc. Lastly, don’t forget to add contingency funds for new construction, building additions, and renovations.
When it comes to creating a budget for your church building project, note that it must be as realistic as possible. Be sure to have a correct estimate of all potential costs and contact a professional if you’re not sure how to go about it. When you’ve finalized your budget, ensure that you stick to it.
Finally, take note of the pitfalls that can make you exceed your budget. Common ones include overspending on some divisions of your budget, making abrupt changes to the construction plans, underestimating a division’s value, and neglecting a division.
Now that you’ve adopted your budget and have an accurate estimate of your project cost, how do you fund it? If you’re fortunate enough to already have the money you need for your project, you can go ahead and use it. However, more often than not, many churches either need to raise or borrow money to finance their construction projects.
Raise money for your church building by organizing a capital stewardship campaign where the congregation makes pledges toward the project. Alternatively, you can fund your building project by contacting a reliable church financing company. Regardless of your approach, be sure to seek a professional’s advice before taking any step.
Proper planning involves knowing your parameters and executing your project based on clearly-defined limits. These limitations could be the land use/size, funding, budget, building coverage, etc. It’s important to work with various professionals at this stage to fully understand what your restrictions are.
For example, a civil engineer can walk you through the physical parameters involved in developing the site. Meanwhile, a lending institution can let you in on the financial limitations you’ll likely face, especially in relation to debt capacity. You’ll also need to speak with a stewardship campaign consultant for estimates on how much you can successfully raise through campaigns. In the same way, contact your local contractor for construction estimates.
Once you’ve established your parameters, adjust the scope of your project to accommodate your limitations. This is necessary for successful project completion as it helps to avoid disappointments by managing your expectations.
Even God completed the creation of the world in six stages. So, why not follow the blueprint that your leader has already laid out? Approach your church construction project intentionally and systematically, completing one phase at a time. This makes for easier project management and ensures that you don’t miss anything.
As with every other major project, you’ll hardly undertake church construction without needing to make adjustments as it progresses. At some point, especially at the early planning and design stages, everything will look vague and even overwhelming.
The key is to not worry about the outcome too soon. Instead, monitor your project at every stage and make the needed changes per time. Everything will take shape and make more sense with time.
Finally, don’t forget to give regular reports on the project to the congregation. They’re an essential part of this project and should be carried along every step of the way. This also helps you to be accountable for your goals.
Have you considered the timing for your project and realized it’s not yet time? Then it’s wise to wait it out. God’s timing is perfect, and so should yours.
However, sometimes, your church may be in dire need of its building to improve church growth, but other factors make it unwise to begin construction immediately. In such cases, you can search for temporary alternatives to meet your church’s needs as you wait for the right time to commence your construction project. For example, you can rent civic/community centers, schools, movie theaters, daycares, and other nontraditional facilities.
As always, don’t do it alone, work as a team. Be sure to brainstorm ideas with your congregation and church leadership.
As a visionary church leader, you’ve likely already seen the need to expand your church before others even noticed the problem. That’s an admirable quality of every responsible leader. However, this amazing trait can also make you more likely to be impatient and miss out on the timing or pace that God intends for your church.
The truth is that moving too slowly can make you miss out on premier opportunities. However, moving too fast gives no time for the church to properly adapt to such a major change. This can trigger resentment and fractured relationships. As such, the key to a successful church construction project is to be right on time.
If you’ve been wondering what the best time to start your project is, this article will point you in the right direction. Be sure to carefully/prayerfully consider the points above in determining your project’s ideal timing and watch it come together seamlessly.
As always, Griffin Church Loans will be ready to help guide you through your funding options. We are the nationwide Church Loan experts. Just give us a call to get started : 800-710-6762.