Gaining Ministry Momentum in the Construction Zone
Our team partnered with The Bridge Church in Bradenton, Florida on a sanctuary renovation recently. Goal one was to help them keep their sanctuary open during construction, an approach we refer to as “Ministry in the Dust.”
Now, the team looks back on the project with a fondness for how it energized their congregation. What did it take to build ministry amid construction?
1. Ministry-First Mindset
Ministry can’t stop because construction begins. While it may seem counterintuitive to convert a construction zone back to a functioning worship center on a week-by-week basis, a ministry-first mindset and weekly collaboration helped The Bridge achieve its short and long-term goals.
Facility Manager Justin Bradford shares, “When we first started the process, I had concerns, especially considering we were coming out of the shutdown due to COVID. You have to be careful that you don't reopen and then disrupt your congregation again.”
The Bridge was able to open their worship space each weekend of the project, which meant everything to Lead Pastor Mark Alt and the team. He wanted to continue to open their sanctuary as a place where people could come and find hope. It was beneficial for the health of the church and the staff to be able to stay in the space.
2. Consistent Communication
“One of the ways Aspen did an amazing job was through communication,” Justin shares. “When we would have weekly construction meetings, we’d sit down and discuss what would be happening that week, and share timelines. Communication was key for that to be able to happen successfully.” –Justin Bradford, Facility Manager, The Bridge Church
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3. Climate of Trust
Stewarding your resources for a church building project requires authentic passion for the mission, plus a trusting—and trustworthy—team.
It was a full team effort for The Bridge, with staff and lay leaders invested at various levels. “Everyone was on the same page, and that's a beautiful thing to be a part of,” says Justin.
“It was crucial that we delivered on our promises to The Bridge, so these weekly meetings were key to keep us all on the same page and working in unison to be able to keep the cadence of renovation, clean-up, set-up, and worship.” –Tom Shields, General Superintendent, Aspen Group
“Any issues we saw, we found Tom was already aware," Justin shares. "He was working on it or had it scheduled. When everything you bring up is already taken care of, it allows the staff to be at peace with the process and trust the person running it.”
4. Broaden the Circle
Building projects offer opportunities for ministry solutions and engagement. Courageously invite others into the process.
Both Tom and Justin agree that The Bridge volunteer team that helped reset the worship space each week was amazing. Initially, Justin was concerned about adding extra strain to volunteers who were already involved in other areas. In the end, he shares that it was a learning process for him. “There was a part of me that didn't want to make that ask of them.” Not only did many people agree to serve in this way, but they were sorry when it was over.
“The volunteers were just amazing. There are a lot of initiatives they’re involved in, so I knew it was a big ask, but they still jumped right in and gave up their Saturdays.” –Justin Bradford, Facility Manager, The Bridge Church
“What I thought was going to be a drain on them turned out to be this beautiful, almost like a small group in a sense,” notes Justin. Now, even with construction done, the group still wants to meet. They felt blessed in all of this and recognized the value they were providing for the rest of the congregation.”
Justin says instead of complaints or frustrations during the project, he witnessed the congregation’s excitement. Each week, they saw the transformation taking place, seeing something come to fruition that they had been talking and praying about for a long time. “It was amazing to watch that enthusiasm build. Honestly, it was a joy all the way around.”
While designing and building spaces, we love to build relationships that amplify Kingdom impact. If you want to think through how your unique ministry challenge could be a unique ministry opportunity, contact us and let’s chat.