8 Questions Every Church Should Ask Before Building
I can tell you, almost for certain, we don’t know each other. There are hundreds of thousands of pastors and church leaders in many denominations across the country. But, even though we’re strangers, I can still guess that you didn’t get into a leadership role unless you cared about the people you intended to lead. As a leader, when faced with a choice, you seek out all the advice and information you can to make the best educated decision – and then you do what you were selected to do – make the final call. Hopefully that’s what brought you here. Are you looking for more space? Is now the time for your church to build? Make sure you ask yourself these questions before you make the next transition in your church’s life.
Can we raise the money?
Are you able to raise all the necessary funds for church expansion? It’s vital to executing a successful steel church building project. Obviously, if you don’t have the necessary funds in place, building should be put on hold for the moment. Church capital campaigns require a great deal of fundraising, and it’s going to require more effort than going door-to-door selling wrapping paper. This is an opportunity to prove to your congregation that a building project is the right financial and spiritual path for your church.
Do we have a building planning committee?
If your church is even thinking of building, one of the first steps is establishing a planning committee to lead and guide the entire process. How do you choose the right team? I suggest thinking in terms of function. Do you want more thinkers and dreamers on the committee? Or will the committee consist of more pragmatic leaders? I recommend a good mix of the two. It’s essential to add proven, supportive decision makers, problem solvers and individuals with any kind of building experience. These folks will be instrumental in selecting every aspect of your steel church building project. A need for subcommittees depends on the size of the church.
Do we consistently meet our budget and funding requirements?
Because a building project requires a significant amount of capital, your church needs to be able to assume the financial risk. Create a financial plan if you haven’t already. If your church treasurer has no problem managing your budget, feel free to begin a building mission.
What will be the most difficult part of the building program?
Your building planning committee will formulate proposals and strategies early in the process. When you start to build, you may encounter financial problems, or problems with the permitting office – you never know! But don’t deviate from your plan! That’s why there is a plan in place – to make sure you have have answers when issues arise.
Will a new building make our congregation reinvest in our ministries?
A new building can represent a new beginning. Sometimes, that’s all some members of a congregation might want. Those worshipers are easy to convince. You’ll need to spend extra time with the worshipers who dislike change. Explain to those followers that a steel church building project will create more space for youth activities, adult religious classes, or room for childcare. Provide opportunities for your church family to reinvest in their personal faith, and your church will grow as a result of fulfilled followers.
Do we need an architect?
If your church decides to embark on a steel church building project, the extra expense of an architect may be unnecessary. You’ll only need the talents of a structural engineer. Some steel building providers have in-house engineers who can make most of the design drawings you want. Don’t think just because an architect isn’t involved that you’ll have to sacrifice looks and design. Qualified structural engineers are experienced in design and can keep building costs lower while still providing you with a beautiful, finished building. This way you’ll have better control of the costs during the design process, you can deal primarily with one firm all the way through the project, and you avoid many accountability issues.
How do we pick a building company?
Don’t base your steel building selection on lowest price alone. The cheapest metal buildings are, often times, a trap. In fact, price shouldn’t be the variable on every decision. Churches that base their decisions on price, alone, get exactly what they pay for. Get multiple bids and weigh the pros and cons against each other. Take the time to research the company’s previous customers. Were they happy? Or did they complain on the internet? Select a steel building provider that has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Those are the types of companies that give you the most value for your pre-determined budget, and takes the most interest in your project. That means they’ll work with you every step of the way, making an effort to understand your long and short term needs; asking you the right questions, and giving you the right answers. The right company will offer a commitment to quality and provide assistance at every step in the life of your project.
What types of construction should we consider?
I understand you have a lot of options when it comes to which construction material you select. You’re looking to get the most for your congregation’s money, and build a building that will house your flock for decades. Still not sure? Usually you can get a better idea if you look at how much each construction material costs per pound. That’s part of the way companies and contractors determine your building quote. Typically, steel can be as much as half the price of brick and mortar, per pound. I like to say steel buildings are, “half the price, and take half the time to erect,” compared to those traditional construction methods.
Many churches don’t have answers to some of these basic questions. What I want to prevent is for you and your committee to start a building project without any answers. However, if you can answer these questions with ease, and have spent an appropriate amount of time weighing all your options, let me help you move forward with confidence.Photo courtesy: CGP Grey