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?”


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.


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

Why Design Matters

Welcome to fourthought(s), Studio Four Design’s monthly blog to discuss all things related to architecture, design and whatever else happens to be on our mind. Whether you know us intimately or if this is your first time engaging with us we wanted to kick off our blog by sharing a little bit about why, how and what we do.  So here goes…

Knoxville-based architecture firm, Studio Four Design, was founded in May of 2002 with a simple idea: To form a team of architects, interior designers and planners to focus obsessively on meeting the needs of our clients because we believe that DESIGN MATTERS. This is the reason we come to work every day and do what we do.

So why does design matter?  We believe that the lives of individuals, families, organizations and communities can be positively transformed by and through the creative and thoughtful design of buildings, places and environments. We are committed to the pursuit of excellence in design quite simply because people matter.

We believe that it is our responsibility to use our talents, gifts and abilities to improve the lives of those we serve within our community, our state, our country and the entire world. We are passionate about architectural and interior design for people to see, to use and to feel and we do this in several ways, such as:

  • Creating brand identities for startups and entrepreneurs to provide their businesses with a competitive edge.
  • Helping municipalities plan for growth and expansion and develop public facilities such as senior centers, fire stations and places for government that enhance the quality of living within their jurisdictions.
  • Building places to live and homes for families where memories will be created as people share their lives together.
  • Assisting manufacturers, corporations retailers and restaurateurs to establish, grow and expand their operations which in turn create jobs and economic growth in their communities.
  • Tailoring places of learning for colleges and universities which help to educate and inspire the next generation.
  • Developing sports and recreation venues which provide opportunities for entertainment, fun and fellowship.
  • Planning safe, comfortable and inviting environments that support healing and wellness in medical and dental facilities.
  • Designing churches that enhance worship, encourage relationships and provide resources for ministry growth.

The team at Studio Four Design believes and understands that design is not just a means to an end but rather a beginning – a foundation for a greater story and purpose to be told through the experiences that take place long after our work is finished.

This is where our approach to each project begins and this is Studio Four Design. Welcome to something different!