Friday, May 12, 2006

To Build or Not To Build, That is the Question. Part: 1

“To build or not to build,” that is the question that many churches are facing. Is your church building no longer providing an atmosphere of growth, but the costs to provide such a building will run in the millions? What should a church do? In this article I will provide an answer.

Let me begin by defining, “atmosphere of growth”. If your building is going to be a help instead of a hindrance to your ministry, it needs to pass three key areas. The first area that your building needs to pass is the space issue. Is there enough space in your worship center and educational area to keep your church growing? In our church, our worship center will hold two hundred and forty people, but our educational space will only hold about one hundred and fifty. Therefore, our building becomes a hindrance to us as we reach more than one hundred and fifty people. Each church must decide how many people they want to reach and decide if their building space is a help or hindrance to that ministry goal.

The second area that your building needs to pass is the parking issue. Your church will only be as big as your parking lot. I know of a church in Ft. Worth that is land locked. They have room for twelve hundred in the worship center and twelve hundred in the educational wing so you would expect them to be able to reach twenty-four hundred people. They still average below twelve hundred because their parking lot only supports twelve hundred people. Learn this lesson; the size of your parking lot will determine the size of your church more than the size of your building.

The last area that your building needs to pass is the “look” issue. Some churches say, “It is all about what is going on in the inside, not what is on the outside of the church that matters.” Listen, your church needs to have something good going on inside the church, but if your building is falling apart before your eyes, you probably won’t be drawing in many lost people. People are drawn in by what they see and what they hear. I went to one church where they had a leak at the front of the worship center. All of the wood tiles were warped. When they talked about loving Jesus and their church, I didn’t believe them, because of how the building had been neglected. Another church in their worship center had carpet that was ripped in several visible places. Why would I want to worship there? If your building has been neglected physically, your building is a hindrance. One final issue about the physical appearance of the church is handicap accessibility. Make sure your building is up to code with handicap accessibility.

There is another area of neglect and that is technological. If your building is “old fashion” and has resisted the technological changes that has happened over the last thirty years then your building is a hindrance. Use computers, screens, lights, and microphones, to enhance your services. I hate going into a service where everything technological tells me that these people are outdated. Our message may be an old message, but it isn’t an “outdated” message, and neither should our technology or building.

Now if your building passes these three key issues then your building has an atmosphere of growth and you have a building that is a help to your ministry. If you failed then you have to make a change. Many churches while having seen their need to change because their building is no longer a help, haven’t changed wisely. In the second part of this article, I will list options that I encourage your church to examine when you need a change.

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