3 Questions to Ask Before Embarking on a Church Building Project
When your church engages in internal discussions about facility expansion or renovation, your first conversations should not be about design, construction methods, how much square footage to add, or how many seats are needed in the sanctuary to accommodate growth.
This might feel like a natural starting point for a conversation on church architecture, but there’s a better approach—and it starts with asking three specific questions.
Before You Build, Ask These 3 Key Questions:
In the newly updated resource, "Before You Build: 3 Key Questions Every Church Must Ask," we dive into these three key questions:
1. Who Are You?
What is your unique church DNA—the thing that makes your church your church? One way to uncover your DNA is to ask, what is the thing people say they come to your church for primarily?
Chapel Pointe, in Hudsonville, Michigan, is set on a 39-acre lot, showcasing sweeping views of the surrounding forested landscape. They intentionally added outdoor courtyards, patio space, and walls of windows to bring the outdoors in. The new worship center doubles as a regulation-ready basketball court to serve the church’s thriving sports ministry to the community.
Brookville Road Community Church, in New Palestine, Indiana, places a strong focus on children and families, and their new, expanded worship center and renovated children’s ministry spaces clearly convey this. The 21,500 square-foot renovation of the preschool and elementary spaces allows for additional children and more flexibility for programming.
2. What is Your Context?
Every church needs to determine the context in which it is located and the spiritual needs of the congregation. What works at a church in Georgia wouldn’t be the right solution for a church in Chicago. These cities would demand a very different design ethos.
In 2018 Richmond Hill UMC, in Richmond Hill Georgia, added a 12,000 square-foo multipurpose Ministry Center. This new gathering space seats 400 and can be converted easily to function as a contemporary worship venue and as a youth center for 120 people.
Christ The Rock Community Church, in rural Menasha, Wisconsin, has become a central place within the community for connecting and cultivating relationships. The generous lobby with warm lighting and wood accents features a two-story brick fireplace as the centerpiece, inviting people to relax and stay awhile.
3. What is God Specifically Calling You To Do?
Calling is the sweet spot of ministry that comes from practical due diligence and prayerful seeking. This is the action part of your ministry that connects your DNA and context in a unique and powerful way.
Faith Church, in Walterboro, South Carolina, is designed for ministry to the community. The expansive lobby, auditorium, classrooms, and multi-purpose spaces provide ample meeting space for the neighboring community.
Hickory Creek Church, in Frankfort, Illinois, focused their recent renovation on creating space that would engage the community and draw people in. The expanded lobby includes a large family room, as well as a fireside room, that opens out to a spacious patio via operable bi-fold windows.
By understanding who you are, where you’ve been uniquely placed, and what your unique calling is, you’ll be better equipped to know what type of ministry space you need to build. You’ll also be better prepared to select a church building partner who can help you create space that’s aligned with your church’s unique gifts, your local mission field, and the vital mission God has entrusted to you.
About Pat Kase
Pat Kase, Senior Project Developer at Aspen Group, has applied his 20 years direct experience in both design and construction firms, working to ensure a smooth design, build, and furnish process for Aspen’s projects in the Southeast states. Pat and his wife live on St. Helena Island in South Carolina.