How Big Should We Build?

I received an email last week from Larry Kaufman asking a question others may be asking: “We are in the process of starting a building campaign for our church. What is the first step to determine how much space we need? Do we start with the ministry leaders (need) or do we start with a consultant asking the right questions? And where does our vision of what we think we can become enter into the picture?”

It’s always difficult to answer without knowing the specifics of your situation, but here are some guiding principles:

  • Start with the vision. Make sure you know who you are trying to reach, what you are doing, and what success looks like. For example, describe your church 10 or 15 years from now…what words describe your church? What is true about your ministry at that time?
  • Talk about your values. Do you value excellence? Do you value taking care of your volunteers? Do you value your staff? Do you value the identity of your community? Do you value children? Your values should be reflected in your building design.
  • Build ownership for the vision and values among your leaders. Figure out what facilities are needed to accomplish the vision. You probably don’t need all the buildings you think you do.
  • Design the space to be flexible and use it over and over again. Also, only do on-site at the building what you can’t do in homes or in the community.
  • Prioritize your buildings. What do you need first? Consider which you value most: Size, Quality, or Cost. You can only pick two. The third is dictated by your first two choices.
  • Talk to an architect or consultant (consider the Aspen Group) about space needed for seating, parking, and classroom space. However, don’t leave it all to them. Lead the conversation by presenting your vision and values.

I appreciate your desire to lead smart through this huge step. Hopefully this will help get you started.

Tim StevensComment