Bro. Jeff Thomas, Apostolic Designer/Builder – Indianapolis, IN
If I were to suggest a change in the building process, it would be that the church should start earlier. There is a tendency on the part of pastors to think they can design a building and begin construction in a shorter time than is realistic. It takes time to develop plans, estimate costs, and then apply for the finances and permits. It can be at least a year form the time you decide to build until you actually break ground. Therefore, fundraising often hasn’t been in place long enough to cover the cost.
Also, pastors often put too much weight on what they can do themselves or what can be donated by church lay members. And so, when there are delays in the project, even though you have volunteers doing the work, the delays result into increased costs.
If pastors try to rush a project, they end up with a design that is not thoroughly conceived. And there could be alternative – less expensive – methods of construction that have not been considered.
Finally, some pastors seem to think that they can supervise the construction themselves. They don’t realize the amount of time involved in being a project superintendent and pastor both. Pastors have enough decisions to make in the building process; they really don’t have time to supervise it also.
Rev. B.D. Maracich, Pastor – Utica, New York
Here’s some points that I’ve learned are critical to building a new facility:
First, the pastor must have the total support of the church. The church must feel as though they need to build, and really want a new building.
Secondly, people often fail to realize the amount of money required to finish a project. I see some building too big, others building too small. Be sure you know what you need and whether you have the resources available to build it.
Another common problem is that some churches won’t pay for a good location and, therefore, end up with poor visibility. Remember, your building can be a strong factor in attracting new souls. Location is critical.
Also, develop a good long-range site plan. You can save considerable money by putting in the water, gas and sewer T’s now that you will need later on when you expand.
Utilities are a substantial expense in most churches. Therefore, consider ways to save on your heating and cooling costs. We elected to install water source heat pumps and insulate heavily. It didn’t cost that much more, yet this will save us money for years to come.
Finally, put some thought into, and budget for, sound and lighting. This is an area we have neglected for years. Plan for the future, as well as immediate, sound and lighting needs.
Rev. William H. Nix, Pastor – Ypsilanti, MI
Our new building seats about 500. I suggest following: 1) Contract out as much as possible. 2) Allow plenty of time to build it. 3) Consider building a large gymnasium and use it for a sanctuary until you can afford a formal sanctuary. We call our’s a gym-auditorium because we have several functions we use it for.
Rev. Jack DeHart, Pastor – Irving, TX
I have been involved in three building projects. Our current building holds over 750. If I had to build again, I would allow for a lot more platform space. Also, it’s a mistake for the membership to get too involved in the actual construction. It takes away from the main goal of the church, which is soul-winning.
Rev. Bob Baglin, Pastor – Kerman, CA
We built our current building which seats 240 and is about 6,000 square feet. I would suggest that you not get in a hurry when building. Also, get as much counsel as possible from other pastors. Finally, count the cost.
Rev. A.P Tamel, Pastor – Oak Creek, WI
Some innovative ideas we have used are to have a sound room that is open to the sanctuary, a large altar area, separate men’s and women’s baptisteries and prayer rooms, and a book store with a shopping mall type layout.
Rev. Harold Hoffman, Pastor – Sterling Heights, MI
Nothing kills revival like excessive debt. If you can’t afford to build, don’t. Getting in over your head will break you emotionally. I’ve been through three building programs. You need a good architect, engineer, lawyer, and a bank where you have a good credit. Finally, take whatever you think you will spend and add 20%.
Paul T. McClure, Pastor – Melbourne, FL
Two suggestions: first build with an eye on future expansion. Choose a design that allows you to move a few walls and increase seating capacity. We are building a “gymnatorium” now and our main sanctuary later on. Second, remember that new federal regulations for handicapped accessibility applies to churches.