How to Make a Great ‘First Impression’ For Your Building Project

July 17, 2019

As the saying goes; “You only get one opportunity to make a first impression – make it your best.”

Over the years, I’ve attended hundreds of church meetings (both large and small) where a new building project was presented to the audience for the first time. Many were memorable, a few were not.

Separating the great ones from the mediocre simply boils down to this: the inspiring ones have a laser focus on ministry benefits (and even specific people who would be helped); the uninspiring ones discussed only building features.

For example, which of the following statements gets you more fired up to make a major financial investment?


“We will now have 10 foot hallways.” OR “Our friends in wheelchairs will no longer have to enter the auditorium by a separate, highly conspicuous entry.”


“Our new multipurpose building will have a grade level social hall.” OR “Sally Smith (age 90) will now be able to sit at a table for a potluck meal with her whole family surrounding her.”

Here are a few simple questions you should answer to make a great ‘first impression’ with your building project:



It’s important that your presentation not be solely made by your building committee and/or their architect. These folks have a role, but they are part of a ‘bigger picture.’ Equal time should be given to someone whose focus is vision and ministry (likely the pastor). Such a shared presentation will help drive home the point that the building project is really a useful ‘tool’ for the important work of doing ministry.



Too often, presentations focus solely on the ‘what’ – what we are building, what it will look like, what it will cost. However, of equal or even greater importance is ‘why’ –why should we consider this project, why will our ministries benefit, why is this an investment worth making. The ‘what’ (building) should be seen as supporting the ‘why’ (ministry) and not as an end in itself.


Why now?

This relates to articulating an exciting ‘case statement’ for the project. A case statement’s primary purpose is to create a sense of urgency – why doing nothing is not an option, why ministry opportunities will be lost.

CGS has developed a hands-on resource to help church leaders move away from presentations dominated by ‘building features’ and into the realm of seeing the faces of actual people who will benefit. You can download it here.

If you’d like to learn more about how to get ready for a major building project, we’d love to hear from you.