Renovating Worship Facilities Vs New Construction in Today’s Economy

You will find many reasons to rejoice as your church membership increases. New members bring new life and energy, and can inspire and invigorate the entire congregation. However, if attendance begins to outgrow the building, logistical challenges may arise.

Churches have a few different options for accommodating large-scale growth. There is no one right answer. By evaluating the situation, goals, and needs of your congregation, you can find the solution that is best for your church.


Don’t be in too much of a hurry to abandon your current building. After all, your congregation has a lot of history and memories invested in this space. You may be surprised at how much free space you can gain simply by rearranging what you have and thinking creatively. For example, if you need more storage space, first go through what you have and see if you really need to keep it all.

You may find that there are many unnecessary, unused items taking up space. Get rid of them. For rarely used items that you need to keep, such as Christmas decorations, consider off-site storage.

Multi-use areas are another great way to maximize space efficiency. Folding, portable partitions can easily transform a fellowship hall or other large room into three or four classrooms for Sunday school. Also, take a look at your offices and conference rooms. Do you really need so many? If you can consolidate some of these spaces, or schedule activities so that they are unoccupied during Sunday school, these can also make great classrooms.

Even after reorganizing and reallocating space for new classrooms, you may feel that your space is still limited by your sanctuary. However, there are some simple steps you can take to open up your worship service to more people.

For example, by exchanging pews for theater seats or multipurpose church chairs, a typical church could increase seating capacity by up to 30{f0f90fd3e82a96211df869c745b8e3cf072bbb42a0f0dc8deabfe3a234d4f3bd}. By installing multi-media and AV equipment, the fellowship hall can also serve as an overflow room, allowing additional members and visitors to watch the service on a large screen.


If you still need more room after reorganizing your space as efficiently as possible, it may be time to renovate. Not every church is a good candidate for renovation, so make this decision carefully, with the help of experts, such as an architect or contractor, and make sure that you have the congregation’s support.

When considering renovation, first evaluate your building and determine if it can support expansion. After you renovate, the sanctuary may be able to hold more people, but will the parking lot? Also, think about the cost. Renovating typically costs more per square foot than new construction because the older building will have to be brought up to current codes. There are often unforeseen costs involved with renovation, so if you choose this option, be sure to set aside part of the budget for these expenses.

Although renovation can be more costly than new construction, it also offers many advantages. First of all, your church will be able to keep its home, where it already has so many memories. New construction also takes much longer than renovation. A well-planned renovation project, done in stages, can be a source of excitement and inspiration to the congregation. If they are pleased with the progress of the project, they may donate more to fund the continuation of the remodeling.


If renovation is not a viable option for your church, there is still another option to consider before commissioning a new building. You may be able to purchase an existing, unused building and have it remodeled to suit your purposes. With a few changes, an old school or even a large store can make a great church. In today’s economy, many businesses are closing, and you may be able to find a great deal on an existing building. Besides being cost effective, this is an environmentally responsible option, as it reduces the waste of demolition.


After considering all of these options, you may find that a brand new building is the best solution for your church. Before you begin planning, take some time to think about what your church really needs, and what its goals are. Construction can take years, so try to think ahead to allow for how your church will change and evolve over time. Hire a reliable architect and contractor, and make sure that you have the support of your congregation. After all, a new building, no matter how large and beautiful, will not be of much use if the congregation won’t follow you there.

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