Planning a Church Building Project?

I’ve just returned from a great visit (with a few others) to KingsGate Community Church in Peterborough. KingsGate is an amazing facility with a 1200 seat auditorium opened just 6 years ago. Here’s some nuggets of wisdom from one of the team who oversaw the project, Tony Goddard:

  1. Vision is everything. For people to contribute sacrificially they have to see that it’s primarily all about reaching the lost.
  2. Pray, pray, pray.
  3. Do your homework – plan properly. Talk to lots of churches who have been there and done it. Find out the pitfalls and problems and learn from their successes and mistakes. Talk to planning officers – present them with your vision of how you could impact the community. Produce detailed business and finance plans. Build good relationships with the people you will need to be working with.
  4. Location is not all that important. In the words of Kevin Costner, “if you build it, they will come.” People will travel to IKEA; they’ll travel to you.
  5. Acquire as much land as you can – that way you future proof yourself for growth. The building does not have to be completely finished, but the main auditorium and more ‘public’ parts do. If you have unused or uncompleted back rooms/storage/extra space or land you have room for expansion when you grow
  6. Employ professionals – architects, interior design, lighting, sound – don’t leave it to amateurs. Do it right; do it once.
  7. Don’t let the senior pastor be too involved. He’s not an architect or project manager. His job is to keep preaching, teaching, pastoring, discipling and casting the vision.
  8. Detail is critical. Pay attention to the smallest details at the planning stage. It will save you money and hassle further down the road.
  9. Don’t bother chasing trust funds – it’s largely a waste of time. Do think carefully about your capital campaign. How much will you raise; how much will you borrow? If you’re going to borrow think about revenue streams your new build might be able to generate to help pay the mortgage.
  10. It will be horrible, stressful, exhausting, traumatic, and worth it.
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One thought on “Planning a Church Building Project?

  1. Trust funds -probably depends what game you’re in -for the 1200 seater auditorium costing millions then probably not -but for a smaller church these things might be more significant -especially some of the landfill Trusts -Laing Trust etc.

    And location -again probably matters a bit more if you are a congregation in a local neighbourhhood with that identity than if you are a large church with a particular brand.

    Although I don’t think the physical location of the building is as important as sometimes made out -not because “Build it and they will come” -they won’t and that gives a wrong sense of how we reach people. However if we are reaching people 1-1 and then into small groups, then the venue for the Sunday gathering isn’t as vital as the impact that your Gospel communities are having.

    By the way we are working on a building project -not for the main building but we’ve just acquired a shop premises bordering onto the Chapel -aim is a community cafe, accomadation and such forth

    The sourrounding land bit is all too true -our Chapel was built in the back garden of the shop over 100 years ago (a present from the founding elder to his wife on their silver wedding anniversary) -and the church missed a couple of opportunities over the years to acquire land to the side of it -and then regretted it.

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