Are Your Church Facilities a Barrier to Your Ministry? – Part Two

In our previous blog post, we discussed how a church’s building design communicates to its attendees. While growth is the goal for a church, commencing a church expansion project requires careful consideration. If you expand too early, you might not see the return on your investment. If you wait too long, your congregation and membership may suffer.

To avoid this uncertainty, the church architecture and design expert consultants at Studio Four Design identified the areas and indicators to answer your church construction questions like “What do you build?”, “When do you build?”, and “Should you expand now or later?” Here is our second part to your church expansion inquiries.

PARKING

Previously we discussed what reaching 80 percent of your building’s capacity means for your worship space. Truth is, if your worship space is at 80 percent capacity then in all likelihood, your parking lots are full too. The experience of entering and exiting your campus are key first impressions for a visitor to your church.

It’s common to require a minimum ratio of one car to every three or four seats in your worship facility based on the average family size. What’s your parking lot’s current capacity? If you’d like your church to expand, additional parking should be considered a part of that expansion. Develop a site master plan to study what your entire campus currently offers. Then identify what constraints your property has for your future facility needs.

ENVIRONMENT & SETTING

While there is a comfort and ease to keeping things the same, you may get used to something and unable to see the changing quality of the appearance of your campus. Is your landscaping regularly maintained throughout the seasons? How clean and maintained are your sidewalks and parking lots? Do your exterior elements need to be updated? What do your furniture, finishes and lighting communicate about your church fellowship?

The overall environment of your church makes a lasting first impression about your congregation and staff and it influences whether or not visitors return. Accelerate growth by matching your church’s personality inside and out, utilizing wasted space and regularly maintaining the look and functionality of your exteriors and interiors.

Consulting with architecture and design professionals with experience in church building designs can help determine the right path for your church’s facilities. Growth is an exciting part of the ministry but don’t let it overwhelm your congregation or deter from your mission.

Church expansion issues should be dealt with to foster growth, yet they should never take precedence above the church’s mission to foster relationships with your community. Proverbs 21:5 says, ‘The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.’ Don’t let your facility be a barrier to your mission. Work with professional architecture and design consultants such as the experts at Studio Four Design to make a plan that addresses your growth and other facility barriers while still being stewards to your mission.

By Stacy L. Cox, AIA, President, Studio Four Design

Are Your Church Facilities a Barrier to Your Ministry?

A church’s building design communicates to its attendees before they even step through the doors. While growth is the goal for a church, commencing a church expansion project requires careful consideration. If you expand too early, you might not see the return on your investment. If you wait too long, your congregation and membership may suffer.

To avoid this uncertainty, the church architecture and design expert consultants at Studio Four Design identified the areas and indicators to answer your church construction questions like “What do you build?”, “When do you build?”, and “Should you expand now or later?”

WORSHIP SPACE

Not sure if your church is experiencing growth? Check your attendance at church services. Your building reaches capacity when your sanctuary or auditorium is, on average, 80 percent filled at each event. If your church, at fullest capacity, seats 500 people, your attendance growth has reached a plateau when you average 400 or more at each church service.

A second service could help address this attendance plateau. Giving people scheduling options lifts the restriction of your entire congregation meeting at once, but it also creates more work, more time and more effort in terms of staffing, branding, technology and communication.  However, opening up your scheduling flexibility gives churchgoers more opportunities to volunteer. It even gives your staff the ability to connect with attendees on a more personal level. Your classrooms will also feel less crowded from the alternate services.

As your congregation continues to grow, think about what is feasible for your church. If you hit a plateau with both services, can you add another time slot for your teaching? This is when you should consider a church building expansion project. Measure the rate of growth and create a plan to either expand your current facility, start production on a new church building, or plant one at a new location.

CHILDREN’S SPACE

Church growth and its children’s ministries go hand in hand. Parents decide on a church based on a number of things, one of them being the quality and the environment of your childcare services.

The activities offered and the teaching are also important, but parents consider, the size, safety and security of your children’s. They are trusting your staff with their child during an hour or two hour period of worship and listening. Putting their minds at ease will go a long way with parents.

As with your congregation, if your children’s ministry is facing a capacity plateau or if the layout of classrooms and auditoriums is puzzling for parents, your church build could deter parents from regularly attending. Your childcare offerings should put parents at ease during the teaching and a cramped space or confusing layout can distract them.

Considering an expansion or a new facility for your church is a huge undertaking. With the help of experienced architecture and design consultants, you can make a decision for your congregation that speaks to your mission and encourages growth.

Church expansion issues should be dealt with to foster growth, yet they should never take precedence above the church’s mission to foster relationships with your community. Proverbs 21:5 says, ‘The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.’ Don’t let your facility be a barrier to your mission. Work with professional architecture and design consultants such as the experts at Studio Four Design to make a plan that addresses your growth and other facility barriers while still being stewards to your mission.

Stay tuned to find out how your parking, environment and setting can be potential barriers to your ministry.

By Stacy L. Cox, AIA, President, Studio Four Design