How to Get Ready for a Building or Renovation Project

May 11, 2018

Church leaders have been talking about it for months, but now you are hearing rumblings from the congregation and even visitors . . . your building looks and feels “tired”. What should you do?

Before embarking on a major building or renovation project, following are several recommended steps that will help make sure your congregation is ready:

  1. Focus on Ministry Needs: Your first step should be to evaluate what is needed to support your current ministries. Resist the tendency to dream about new building features, but instead focus on what “tools” (in the form of your building), are needed to carry out your current ministries in the best way possible.
    • Look at your building and evaluate it in regards to function and visual appeal.
    • Ask yourself: how would a first time visitor honestly view our facility?
  2. Create a Plan: our experience shows there are at least three primary planning functions that need to be addressed. These areas are best handled by teams of people who are involved and committed to your church.
    • Ministry Needs – This team focuses primarily on identifying the ministry needs that must be addressed with any proposed building solution. It should be populated with those who know the ministry constraints of your facility first hand – staff and volunteers.
    • Financing – This team focuses primarily on the current and projected financial resources that will be available to fund the project. It needs to be populated with those who can accurately assess current resources, as well as those who have the vision to anticipate newly committed financial resources.
    • Building Design – This team is tasked with creating a building design solution that addresses the ministry needs and is within the proposed funding resources (as determined by the above two teams).
      • CGS has detailed “job descriptions” available for each of the above mentioned three teams. Register to receive a free download of these team descriptions.
  3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: you’ll find that it’s nearly impossible to over communicate the messages about the upcoming project.
    • Write a Case Statement – a case statement is a foundational part of communicating the “whys” of the project to your constituents.
    • Share the Initial Project – it is helpful to answer questions and gather feedback from key church leaders, before sharing the project with the entire church family. Sharing the project with your elders, deacons, small group leaders, and/or Sunday School teachers creates ownership and momentum for the project.
    • Invite Constituents to Vision Sunday – Vision Sunday is when you can communicate the Case Statement in person, cast a vision for the project, answer questions and request immediate feedback.
  4. Listen, Listen, Listen: congregational support will increase if you show that you are taking the opinions of your people seriously. Use surveys, interviews and feedback forums to hear what people are saying. Demonstrate to your people that you have truly “heard” them by distributing a comprehensive FAQ document to address the important questions they asked. Also, whenever possible, adapt the project to include any appropriate improvements that were suggested by your congregation. By doing so, you will speak volumes regarding the value of their input.