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10 Easy Steps to Church Building and Design Development

Are you ready to move your ministry from:

into a permanent facility?

Have you outgrown your existing building and need to:

  • Expand
  • Relocate

Does the whole process overwhelm you? ‘Your New Church Building and Design In 10 Easy Steps’ free e-book will explain each step of moving into the facility of your dreams.

Here is an overview. Detailed video blogs and free e-books are available at bradoaster@mac.com

Step 1:  Develop your Strategic Ministry Plan (SMP)

An SMP sets the foundation for everything about your future ministry growth. A completed SMP will define:

  • Where to look for land
  • How much land you need
  • What size property to buy
  • What size building(s) will allow ministry growth

Step 2: The Search For Land

Do not look for land until you have completed your SMPLook for land that is not for sale in the best possible location. God made the planet, and God owns all the land. He has a site for your ministry in the best location. Read more in ‘Creative Land Acquisition

Step 3: Determine Long-range Building and Design Need/Master Plans

Determine your long-range church building needs by using the SMP to work out a conceptual site plan. Then you will know how much land you need for future growth. The conceptual site plan should include everything you envision for your ministry over the next twenty years. Next, we will develop a master site plan that shows the whole site including all potential buildings. Then we will break development into phases. This plan ensures that your campus works cohesively and efficiently.

Step 4: Financial Analysis & Loan Documentation

What can you afford? Be realistic when you look at a phase one building. Churches often draw building plans, and then they get bigger and bigger. Architects love to make you happy. If you ask for another room or a new area, they say, “Yes!.” That is called design creep and you will end up with a building you cannot afford.

Do a financial analysis that includes what you anticipate to raise from fundraising, what can you borrow and what your total project cost will be. Remember that the total amount will be spent on more than constructing the building.

Step 5: Project Phasing and Phase 1 Schematics

Note: Project phasing will be solidified after you purchase land or a building to remodel.

Soft costs:

  • Architectural fees
  • Building permits
  • Consultants to design various drawings

Site development work:

  • Grading
  • Parking lots
  • Landscaping
  • Stormwater runoff
  • Detention pond

Cost of the building:

  • Foundation
  • Sticks and bricks
  • Drywall
  • Carpenters
  • Everything to build the facility

Two more things:

  • FF&E—furniture, fixtures, and equipment. Itemize furnishings and everything that is brought in to the completed building for excellent ministry. FF&E has a large budget that includes office equipment.
  • Sound, video and lighting systems can be expensive. You will spend anywhere from $200 per seat in the auditorium to over $1000 a seat.

Take your budget – what you can actually afford -and break it into each of the five categories. The allotment for the building cost will give you the size of the facility you can afford.

Download ‘What Building Type Is Right For You

Step 6: Fundraising Program

Many churches mistakenly design a building that is too big. When they consider the cost of the 5 parts of construction, they realize they cannot afford it. They have wasted time and a lot of money on professional design fees. To avoid this, after phasing look at your fundraising potential. Figure out how much money you can generate. We use creative ways to pay cash for development. Read ‘Debt-Free Development’ for more information.

Use a fundraising campaign to bring in money up front or put in a daycare, mini-storage, or another economic engine to generate revenue. Those may cover your mortgage payment, insurance costs, and utilities. That means tithes and offerings go just for staffing and ministry programs!

Step 7: Zoning and Planning Department Approvals

Check zoning of the property you want to purchase before you begin architectural drawings. Work with the city or the county to be sure you can put a church there. Properties with R-Zoning (residential) or AR (agriculture residential) can usually have a church on it. Commercial or industrial property need confirmation of a church being allowed on the property. Download ‘Understanding & Working With Government Agencies

Step 8: Construction Drawings and Building Permit

Architects begin their programming with schematic designs, followed by design development and then working drawings. The bulk of design work regarding the construction happens in working drawings.

I recommend having a general contractor work with you during working drawings. They will be assessing if what is drawn is affordable. You pay a lot of money for designs; be sure turns into a building you can afford. Download ‘Your Development Team’

Step 9: Construction Financing

Be aware that when you talk to the local bank and they pat you on the back and say, “Oh sure, Pastor Scott will do the loan for you.” may not give you a loan. He usually does not have the authority to do that. Then you have had a groundbreaking ceremony, perhaps a building permit and no money for construction.

Make sure you get everything regarding financing in writing. Have your finances in order. And never do a groundbreaking ceremony unless you have a building permit and loan paper signed. It is so embarrassing to have to keep telling your board and congregation that you did not know or understand, and now it will cost more time and money!

Step 10: Construction and Occupancy Permit – Move In!

Construction time. Get the contractor out there, bulldozers running, build the foundation, and get the building up and ready to use. You can move in when you have your occupancy permit! I love building dedications. Just remember that the real work starts once you have opening day. Keep building the vision for what your church will do after the doors open. God has given you a powerful tool to reach the lost in your community and develop reproducing Christ-like disciples. Get to work! Download ‘From First Time Guest To Raving Fan

We have a lot of resources for you at bradoaster.com and on our youtube channel. Call me now for help or questions about moving your ministry to new ground. 719-439-3019. 

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