When is the Right Time for Your Church to Build?

Written by Founder Raul Rivera on Oct 17, 2017 in Pastoral Helps

If it has not happened to you already, there will come a time when your church will need to build because of its growth in attendance. Many church growth experts believe that when a church grows to 70-80% of its current capacity, it will not sustain any more growth without plans of an expansion. 

During this time, many pastors begin asking themselves, “How do I know if now is the right time for our church to build?” 

This is a perfectly legitimate question to ask. Deciding to build a church facility is, after all, one of the biggest decisions in the life of your church and a big commitment for your church members and for you as pastor.

There is a time commitment, a resource commitment, and a financial commitment that is involved with building a church facility.

So, is there a way for you to know when it is the right time for your church to build? Other than hearing directly from God, I am not going to say there is a surefire way of knowing. However, I do think there are some things you need to consider that will help you to be more confident in knowing.

3 things to consider before your church starts building

Every church building campaign begins with a dream. Some of these dreams become reality and some of them do not.

If you have had a similar dream for your church that did not become reality, it does not mean that the dream never will happen. Perhaps, it just was not the right timing for your church. 

When the time does come for you to determine the right moment for your church to build, I think there are at least three things to consider that will help bring clarity and success to your church’s building campaign before it even begins.

The three things you should consider are as follows:

1. Why is your church building? 

I imagine we are all familiar with the idiom “keeping up with the Joneses.” This essentially refers to the comparison of one’s life to his/her neighbor as a benchmark for social class or accumulation of material goods. To some individuals, a person who fails to keep up with the Joneses is inferior in a meaningful way. 

As a pastor, it can be easy to look at some of the other churches in your community and think, “If we could just have a building like that then we would be more (fill in the blank).”

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with having a desire for your church to grow. Growth can lead to more lives changed and impacted by the love of Christ.

However, when the desire of growth is birthed from a place of competition and feeling inferior, then your intentions are not in the right place.

For this reason, it is important that the mentality of “keeping up with the Joneses” does not become a factor in your reasoning for why your church should begin building.

2. Are there alternative options that can meet the needs of your church? 

While the thought of your church having its own building and facilities is nice, it is important to take a moment to evaluate whether there are any other options that could meet the needs of your church.

As previously expressed, building a church facility is a big investment and commitment of time, energy, and resources. 

If you are not 100% certain that now is the time for your church to build, but you are still in need of a larger building to facilitate church growth, consider thinking of alternative spaces for your church.

We have found that many churches will utilize some “nontraditional” facilities to rent, such as the following:

  • Schools,
  • Daycares,
  • Movie theaters, and
  • Community or civic centers.

The availability and pricing of these venues in your community will vary. If you believe that now is not the time for your church to begin building, these facilities will serve as viable alternatives for the time being.

(Recommended reading: “5 Things Your Church Needs to Know About Leases”)

3. Have you sought counsel on the matter of your church starting a building campaign?

As a pastor, it is not God’s will for you to traverse the journey of your calling alone. This is one of the reasons why you have surrounded yourself with a leadership team who is there to seek God with you and help you make decisions of this magnitude. 

From a church compliance standpoint, decisions such as starting a building campaign will need to be approved by your board of directors. Furthermore, you want the board members full support to move forward with a commitment like this because they will be instrumental in getting your church members on board as well.

In addition to seeking the counsel of your church leadership team, you may also want to consider seeking counsel and advice from other pastors who have led their churches through a building campaign. 

Ask them to be as candid as possible. Ask them how they went about building their church. You may also want to consider asking questions such as the following:

  • What went well?
  • What did not go well?
  • What would they have done differently looking back on their experience?
  • How did they know if the time was right for their church to begin building?

When trying to determine the right time for your church to begin building its own facility, you will find that seeking the counsel and advice of those both inside and outside of your church to be invaluable resources.

Well, is your church ready to begin building?

We have examined three things for you to consider when determining the right time for your church to build. While these three things are not an exhaustive list of things to consider, it will definitely get you started on the right path.

If you have decided that now or some time soon is the right time for your church to start building, I encourage you to stay tuned over the next few weeks. We will be releasing two blogs that address the next steps your church needs to take in the building campaign process and how to best protect your church building from frivolous lawsuits. 

When it comes to deciding the right time for your church to build and actually go through the building process, one of the key factors in its success is TRUST. 

Trust between you and your leadership team, as well as trust between you and your church members.

One of the best ways to solidify that trust is by making sure your church is established on a solid legal foundation. If you have not attended one of our conferences already, I encourage you to register today.

Register for a Conference Today

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

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