This Church Tripled Their Congregation Size – You Won’t Believe What They Did
I’m a sucker for a good story. It’s probably the reason why I enjoy going out to the theaters and seeing a great movie, or immersing myself in an exciting book on the weekends. But there are some stories that you stumble across, and it makes you think. The story of Harvest Time International Church in Greenwich, Connecticut did just that for me.
It’s a part of my job to stay connected to the Armstrong Steel Network, where we offer building tips and advice to first time builders, contractors, small business owners, and pastors & church leaders. I try to stay current on what’s happening in the world and religious scene. It helps me to understand what pastors and churches are going through, so I can better diagnose their particular needs, and assist them in the process of moving into a new steel church building. So sometimes, I find myself perusing different church websites and blogs to get a feel for what they go through on a daily basis. That’s how I found Harvest Time.
Let me give you a background of this church. According to the church’s website, in 1997, they were meeting in the town’s civic center, and the congregation had grown to around 300 people. But the town had cut funding to the civic center, and the closure of the building was imminent. So the congregation set out to find a new, permanent home. The original plan: instead of building their own brick & mortar or new steel church building, they looked to purchase an existing building. But county zoning laws got in the way. None of the existing buildings would allow for a space large enough to be turned into a sanctuary. So the church decided to build.
Now, this church that only had 300 members before building, has seen, as they say, “explosive growth.” Their new sanctuary alone accommodates 1,000 worshipers. They tripled their congregation size, just by increasing their potential for growth with a new worship center. You’re capable of the same kind of growth with a new steel church building.
When God gives you the clear mission to build, it’s important that you work within your congregation’s means. No matter how big or small your congregation is, don’t assume your church can’t afford to expand. In fact, pre-engineered metal buildings make ideal churches, youth centers, and worship facilities because they cost less than traditional construction methods that utilize brick and mortar, or wood. The cost savings is evident, especially over the structure’s lifetime. First of all, an engineer at a steel building provider like Armstrong Steel can design a steel building in-house. Most churches think that an architect is a necessary expense of the design process of their building. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t need the added expense of an architect if you buy directly from the supplier.
Your church needs to focus on the cost of a whole project, not just the building itself. Your planning committee must account for zoning and permitting fees, grading expenses, foundation costs, and accessories, trimmings and fixtures. If you decide to have a complex interior build out, then it needs to be in the plans and the budget. Analyze all of the anticipated space and account for future growth as well. Another benefit of a steel building is the luxury of future expansion. Even though steel buildings are permanent structures; they can be added on to or made larger if the church continues to advance and progress in your community.
There is another cost to consider. Time. Will your congregation help erect the new steel church building? Or will you have a contractor erect the building for you? Steel buildings are well known for their ability to be quickly erected. It only takes days or weeks to erect these structures, where as it could takes weeks or months to build a church out of wood. Do you have that kind of time? Upon delivery, your rigid frames and wall panels come 100% ready for erection. Your congregation or a builder won’t take up valuable construction time fabricating trusses in the field. With the help of a crane or cherry picker, a basic church building can be completed quickly and efficiently, in half time as other forms of construction.
As I told you earlier, I love a good story. Remember Field of Dreams? What was the memorable line from that movie? “If you build it, they will come.” I’m not saying that’s what will happen with your church. There will be an awful lot of planning and preparation for the coming revival of your church. But a new steel church building will literally lay the foundation of what is yet to come.
Growth doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come quickly either. Harvest Time spent several years cultivating its flock and raising money just like every church that embarks on a building program. The key is to understanding when to build, and that it CAN be accomplished. Would you like to see a new generation of people arrive at the doors of your church? Do you need to build a new steel church building? Pray, ask God and your congregation, and you’ll find the answer.
Your church can experience “explosive growth” as well. Check out more resources on our Pastors and Church Leaders Network. We’d love to see your church grow to its full potential.Photo courtesy: hamist