Advice

A Cautionary Tale About Keeping Your Church Building Finances Flexible

We don’t often quote scripture on this blog but that doesn’t mean we don’t think about it. Since our mission is to support church leaders with their church building and renovation projects, there are some scriptures that speak directly to our ministry.

One of those is Luke 14:28, where Jesus says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

It’s hard to image better guidance for church leaders as they prayerfully consider what kind of church remodeling or new building project they can truly afford.

Be Realistic About Church Building Costs

Philip Tipton, vice president of architecture, says this about church finances today. “My heart breaks when we receive these phone calls occasionally: A pastor, a leader that’s hoping to build a church building for $50 per square foot or $70 per square foot, and we really have to break the bad news that that’s not reality anymore. It’s not even possible.”

As we discussed in a recent post, the realistic range for a new church building project here in the Midwest is $200-$250 per square foot. Other sections of the country might have different costs—some lower and some higher.

Understand That ‘Smaller’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Less Expensive’

Choosing to start with a small part of a larger church remodeling project isn’t always the best solution if money is tight either. That’s because there are economies of scale that come with larger projects.

If you have to cut a door into a wall to get from room to room, the cost of cutting the hole, re-supporting the wall, and installing the new door, frame and hardware is a fixed cost regardless if you are making it a room for a one-person office or a classroom to seat forty-nine.

Therefore, a piecemeal approach to your church renovation or building project means the cumulative cost over time may more than offset the cost to finance all the work, all at once. However, taking out a loan for church building today is a serious topic, and borrowing money should not be automatically accepted or dismissed without carefully considering what is best for your church.

Be Flexible About How You Finance Your Church Remodeling and Building

Estimating cost is only part of the equation. Church leaders also need to be flexible in setting goals for their church financing. Here’s another of Philip Tipton’s cautionary tales that illustrates the point so very well.

Several years back, there was a very large church that, frankly, could afford to do a lot.

This church’s leaders had made a promise to their congregation early in the planning process, saying that they would not start any projects until they had commitments for one-half of the needed funds; the other half would be financed through a loan. In other words, they wanted 50 percent committed in their church financing pledge campaign.

A problem arose, however, when they had a very successful campaign, yet only raised pledges for 47 percent of the cost of the church building project. At that point, they could not get to 50 percent.

We encouraged those church leaders to consider financing the last three percent and get started on the project, but they felt they couldn’t. They believed they had to honor the commitment they made to the congregation to the letter and couldn’t be flexible on that point.

Unfortunately, this all took place before the 2008 recession when inflation was high. It took them six months to raise that other three percent and, during that time, inflation also went up three percent.

Even though they raised the needed percentage, they found they were still three percent short due to rising construction costs. As a result, at the end of three years, when their campaign had run its course, the church voted to move forward with the cash they had in hand. The three-year delay cost them $500,000.00 in construction cost and denied them the ministry space they needed for another three years.

The moral of this story is that financial flexibility is important. Setting an arbitrary goal can cost you in the end. Covering the initial three percent through a loan would have meant a very small monthly mortgage increase for that large, healthy church.

Expand Your Knowledge

If you would like to hear more of the wisdom—and cautionary tales—that our team has to share, visit our website today and sign up for our i3 webinars. Unlike building costs, we’re pleased to inform you our webinars will never go up in price—because they are always free.

 

2017-08-15T15:18:44+00:00 August 15th, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Financing|

Looking at Church Financing Issues from a Big-Picture Perspective

No two church building situations are the same, which sometimes makes it complicated when answering people’s questions about church financing and budgeting. In this post, we address some specific church building and renovation questions that have come our way, recognizing that it’s not always possible to pull back and generalize.

Estimating Basic Church Building Costs

Many times, when church leaders begin investigating the idea of a new building or renovation project, they contact us with questions. At this point, before they can consider church financing or capital campaigns, we hear the most basic query: “How much does it cost to build a new church building?”

As you can imagine, there is a lot to consider when answering that question. The best estimates are based on square footage, so churches need to have a vision—a basic idea of what they want to do—and figure out how many square feet they would need to accomplish those goals. This doesn’t mean they need to have architectural drawings already, but they do need to think through what spaces they need.

Calculating Square Footage Costs for Church Financing

Once they have a basic idea of their church building square footage, we can have a conversation about financing. However, we can’t guarantee a final cost without more detailed information. In a recent post, we discussed the elements of budgeting that information: site work, the church building itself, various drawings and fees, and the furnishings and equipment you will need to finish the interior spaces.

However, there is a very general rule of thumb: The square footage cost of those four components typically runs from $200 to $250 per square foot here in the Midwest (church leaders need to remember that construction costs differ depending on what part of the country they’re in). That’s for new church building construction, and it doesn’t include the cost of the land.

The price will likely increase if the church building is going to be closer to a large city or built in a union area. In the southern, more rural parts of the Midwest, or in the South, those cost-per-square-foot numbers can go down a bit. We still think it’s best for church leaders to estimate $200-$250 per square foot when attempting to arrive at a big-picture approximation of their church financing needs.

Options for Very Small Churches

We also hear from very small churches that want to understand their church building options. Some church leaders find themselves in difficult situations where they have very few giving units and building resale values are very low. They really can’t sell their building for what they think it’s worth, but they can’t afford to maintain it either. The building may not even be worth enough to be used as loan collateral.

In situations like this, while it might make sense to obtain financing for specific maintenance projects, such as a new HVAC system, it really isn’t a good idea or even possible to get church financing for general maintenance costs.

Sometimes when a church building is not sustainable, the only option is to consider all options. Some less tenable like selling their church building or more sensible like merging with another church that’s in a similar situation. Ultimately, it comes down to wise stewardship of what God has given.

Learn More

Wise stewardship is also about making good use of all the information you can get, in order to make the wisest decisions. That’s why we offer our free i3 webinar series: to inform church leaders about the best church financing, building, and renovation options available.

Sign up today for our webinars to make sure you have the information you need—simply visit our website.

2017-07-11T15:54:38+00:00 July 11th, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Financing|

Answers to Church Building Questions Continued: Worship Seating

Once again, Jennifer Snider, our interior designer, answers your church remodeling and new building questions.

One question that always arises at some point in the church building process is the following: What type of seating should we use in the worship area?

There are several options available, and in this post Jennifer gives you her opinions about the three main types.

Pews: A Time-Honored Look for Worship Spaces

While we think of pews as the “traditional” choice for churches, in fact, the earliest churches had no seating options at all; worshippers stood instead.

Parma Baptist SeatingToday, of course, every church building comes with seating of some sort, and pews are the most traditional. This means that if you’re looking for a traditional feel in your worship space, pews might be the answer, as you can see in this illustration from Parma Baptist Church.

Pews might also be the right choice if your church remodeling project involves working with a sloped floor, as was the case with Parma. Lots of older worship spaces have a sloped floor, especially if pews were initially installed in a bigger worship area.

You might find that simply reupholstering existing pews gives you a nice, clean look—but don’t expect it to be less expensive than removing the pews and installing chairs. Reupholstering involves not just new fabric, but also new padding, and of course labor.

Theater Seating: A Variety of Styles for Your Church Building

Grove City CON SeatingAnother option, if your church remodeling project involves a sloped floor, is theater seating, as you can see here at Grove City Church of the Nazarene.

Because theater seats aren’t movable, they also can be installed on a sloped floor. Advantages to theater seating include a variety of styles and accessories to choose from.

Notice, too, how Grove City also places chairs in front of its theater seating. Such an arrangement allows the church to remove those chairs and have a larger, more flexible area up front to allow flexibility for your ministry.

Chairs: The Ultimate in Flexibility

Brooke Hills SeatingAt Brooke Hills Free Methodist Church, metal worship chairs were installed in the multi-ministry space, as you can see here. This allows Brooke Hills to easily rearrange the space to accommodate different types of activities, such as banquets, breakout sessions, or to remove the chairs completely.

We understand that the goals of many church remodeling projects include increased flexibility and a more modern feel to the worship space. In those cases, chairs are usually the first choice for church leaders.

We do want to note a couple of things in this photo. First, you will see that at the end of some of the rows there are a few chairs with arms. These chairs are helpful for people who need the leverage provided by arms in order to stand and sit.

You may have also noticed that these chairs have fully upholstered backs. Most chair catalogs focus on the front of the chair, but when you walk into a worship space, as this picture shows, it’s the back of the chairs that you’re going to see first. Spending a little extra on upholstered backs gives a nice, clean look to the worship center.

Archbold SeatingAnother more elegant seating option is wood framed chairs, shown here at Archbold Evangelical. While more expensive than metal chairs, they look much nicer, still stack for flexibility and can be a bridge between pews and metal framed chairs. Wood framed chairs work best in places like chapels and sanctuaries where the look of metal chairs just isn’t that appealing.

Watch for More Church Remodeling and Seating Posts

There is a lot to talk about when it comes to seating options for your church remodeling or new building project, so look for more information in future posts. Meanwhile, we suggest that you sign up for our free i3 webinar series to learn more handy tips about church building and renovation projects. Simply visit our website to get involved.

2017-06-20T14:05:27+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design, Interior Design|

Answering Your Church Building Questions, Part Three

With this post, we continue our series on church building and renovation frequently asked questions. The McKnight Group’s interior designer, Jennifer Snider recently responded to some questions church leaders ask about church construction and renovation in a free i3 webinar. We’re bringing some of her answers to our blog. In the first two parts of the series, we covered questions about getting started with your church building or renovation project and how to prioritize the work. This post will focus on the question of style and give some examples of different approaches.

How to Determine Your Church Building Style

Many church leaders feel stumped when it comes to picking a style for their interior design. The most common church building styles are traditional, transitional, contemporary or modern. Whichever direction is chosen, its tone is set with the very first space your guests encounter, usually your foyer or lobby—and that’s why it’s so important to determine the style of your church building at the outset of your renovation or new construction project.

It can also be difficult for church leaders to separate personal feelings about style from the statement their church needs to make. It’s important that your church building style is rooted in your church’s vision and its ministry in your community. Your style must speak to that vision or you will fail to draw in the types of people you seek to serve.

Sample Foyer Styles

Eaton COB StyleIt is often easiest to explain what we mean with photos. This first image, from Eaton Church of the Brethren, shows how you can add some traditional flair to a modern space. We show this partly to illustrate that “traditional” doesn’t have to mean “old-fashioned.” The carpet pattern here conveys a sense of tradition without being dark and stuffy.

Gateway CON StyleContrast that image with this more modern look at Gateway Church of the Nazarene. The pattern of the carpeting creates a very different feel in the space, along with the sleek leather seating. The dark ceiling and deep paint colors also contribute to a modern style that clearly speaks to a modernistic church vision, while the light from lamps and candles maintain a welcoming warmth in this seating area.

Bethany WC StyleNext are the foyer and café area at Bethany Wesleyan. Here the modern element is clearly present in the industrial look of the ceiling. Notice how the white color and style of the ceiling create a very different feel from the Gateway experience. The multi-level ceiling draws the eyes upward, while the pattern in the carpet appears to mimic the layers and industrial style of the ceiling.

Grace Gathering StyleFinally, we have Grace Gathering. Here you can see a blend of modern style elements. There is the carpet pattern, and also the very high metal wall panels. While you might think those metal panels would cause echoing and make the space loud, those panels are actually an acoustic product, created to give an industrial look without the noise. This illustrates how you can use elements of a certain style without creating a space that’s uncomfortable for guests. The fireplace, with its natural stone finish, is another way to add a cozy feel to an industrial style.

Learn More with Our Free I3 Webinars

We hope our responses to common church building questions are helpful. We’ll answer some more of these queries in future installments in this series coming soon. Meanwhile, you can continue to learn about church building and renovation with our free i3 webinars, so sign up today.

2017-05-02T11:36:40+00:00 May 2nd, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Church Design, Interior Design|

Answering Your Church Building Questions, Part One

Infinite question marks on a plane, original three dimensional iWe here at The McKnight Group are called upon to answer a lot of different types of questions when church leaders decide to embark upon a new building or church remodeling project. Recently, Jennifer Snider answered many of the common questions we get in a free i3 webinar. Over our next several posts, we will share some of her responses

Jennifer is The McKnight Group’s interior designer. With a degree in interior design and more than 20 years of facilities planning and interior design experience, Jennifer has been working with us since 2004. This means she has provided interior design services for more than 75 church building and related facilities projects—and she has certainly responded to a lot of questions over those years.

Begin at the Beginning

In this post, we’ll focus on one question we hear frequently from church leaders, “Where should we start?”

We certainly understand why we hear this asked so often. When you’re starting to consider a church remodeling project or constructing a new church building, it can feel quite overwhelming. So, let’s talk about the three important elements that will get you to the starting line.

1. Defining a Vision and Assembling a Team

You’re not going to get very far if you don’t know where you’re going. If your church doesn’t have an agreed-upon vision for the future, you don’t know the ways in which your church building can help get you there—or hinder you from accomplishing those goals. So, step one is to define what that vision is.

You also need to assemble a team that has embraced the vision and has the energy and drive to get you there. They need to have the internal discipline to ask, “Does this help us reach our vision or not?” Because if the answer is no, it shouldn’t be part of your church building project—even if the members of your team think it might be a great idea.

2. Creating a Master Plan

The second starting element is to create a master plan. That’s because it’s important to think broadly at the start. This is your church’s chance to dream big, put everything on the table, and imagine an ideal church building.

You should involve more people at this point because you want to hear the ideas of all your church leaders. You need to know what each part of your church leadership believes is critical in order to achieve your church’s vision for the future.

3. Prioritizing and Budgeting

Once you have all the dreams out on the table and a master plan in place, you can then start to prioritize.

If you’re fortunate, you might be able to afford to do everything at once, but most churches find they need to choose the most critical elements for now and save other parts for later stages in the master plan.

Often this is due to budgetary concerns, but other times it may be because one element of a church building or remodeling project is clearly a necessary first step before the other pieces of the plan can fall into place.

More Questions … and Answers

Hopefully, now you have a good idea where to start. We will be answering more of your church building and church remodeling questions in future posts, so come on back. Our next topic: Which areas are most important to focus on first?

We also answer many questions via our various i3 webinars. To sign up for our webinars, simply visit our home page. They’re absolutely free!

2017-04-18T11:30:19+00:00 April 18th, 2017|Advice, Church Building, Church Design|

Frequently Asked Questions: Church Building Space

QuestionsIn each of our free i3 webinars, we always take questions from our attendees. Often, we are asked about church building sites and the space needed for a growing community, as well as what areas of a church design should not be skimped on. In this week’s post, we thought we’d pull the most common questions (and our best answers) and present them in one place.

What size site do we need for our church building?

This is an excellent question – one we’re frequently asked – and it’s crucial when looking for a site for your church building. A good rule of thumb is that you need one acre of land for every 100 people you expect to worship in your new building. The formula takes into consideration that you need a building footprint not only for your worship space, but also for your support ministry (things like classrooms, kitchens, and nurseries) and of course, parking.

How big should our worship center be?

When you think in terms of worship center size, you need to come up with a square footage estimate. Generally speaking, you need 10 square feet for each person in the congregation.  So if you want to seat 400 people, you’ll need a worship center of roughly 4,000 square feet.

This estimate, however, does not include space for your platform. It’s size is determined by how your church worships. Are you a liturgical church?  Do you have a choir?  How big is your choir? Do you have a worship band?  Decide how many people will need to be on your platform and apply the same calculation – 10 square feet for each person.

Add the space calculations for the platform and congregation together, and you’ll have a good idea on how much space your worship center will require.

What options do I have if the site isn’t “big enough?”

Sometimes, there just isn’t a site large enough to fit the needs of your church’s vision. Even if there’s less than one acre for each 100 members of your church, you still have options. The most obvious is having services at multiple times to serve more people without increasing the building size and the acreage requirement.

What about adding a basement?

People think basements can save money however most of the time that is not the case. Much of the cost depends on where you’re located in the country and the soil conditions. But, beyond that, church buildings with multiple stories are typically required to put in an elevator in addition to multiple sets of stairs because of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  By law, you’re not allowed to give able-bodied people access to a space that is denied to people who cannot navigate the stairs.  An elevator is a significant investment, especially when you want to stretch your church building budget as far as possible.

It’s almost always preferable and cost effective to build your building’s slab on grade and on one level. That way, no matter what entrance someone comes in, they’re able to access the whole building. It also makes the church building very handicap friendly and easy to navigate.

What areas of the building can we not afford to skimp on?

The answer to this question is typically very relative to the person asking it. The best answer will have a lot to do with your vision and your style.  For most churches, you don’t want to skimp on the worship space. While you don’t have to be overly concerned about what the walls or ceiling look like (with the right light package, all of that goes away), you do want to have great platform lighting.  You probably also want to invest in multimedia, to overcome some people’s short attention spans.

Another area to avoid skimping on is finishes. Avoid residential finishes – doors, hardware, fixtures and the like that are not designed for commercial use will end up costing you more in the long run. They tend to look bad and perform worse. For example, residential doors hardware will get a lot of use, and over a short amount of time will wear out handles, key ways, etc.  Hollow core doors can easily be broken and don’t do much in stopping sound transference.

Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers.

We always appreciate your questions and encourage you to reach out to us with any others you may have. We’re happy to answer them, and some might even use them to help pick the topics for our 2017 lineup of i3 webinars.

Speaking of which: If you haven’t signed up yet for our free i3 webinars, you should. Simply visit our website for details!

2016-09-21T15:40:04+00:00 September 21st, 2016|Advice, Church Building, Uncategorized|

Not All Church Design-Build Teams are the Same

PuzzleIn our last post, we talked about the benefits of keeping your church building budget in check by using a “design-build” rather than a “design-build-bid” construction approach. In this post, we’ll focus on the reasons why not all design-build companies are the same, and what that can mean for the successful completion of your church building project.

Do Church Architects and Building Contractors Really Work Together?

The first determination you should make is whether the design-build team you’re considering for your church building project really knows how to work together. We’ve seen a lot of church architects temporarily teaming up with general construction companies that don’t work on churches, or church building organizations that reach out to any old architect to do the church design work for them.

Just creating a working relationship doesn’t necessarily make for a good team. If your design-build architect and builder don’t have experience working together, there could be a lot of miscommunication, dropped balls, or mixed messages as the project struggles along. What you need instead is a team that knows how the other side functions—one that has worked together on a multitude of projects, where communication flows like a well-oiled machine.

Does Your Design-Build Team Really Understand Churches?

Communication is not the only consideration. There is much about churches that make them unique especially when it comes to the church building process. If you pick a team that doesn’t specialize in church work, but perhaps, for example, understands schools, they’ll likely get the children’s classrooms right, but they won’t have a clue about what you really need in your worship space.

Instead, you need a design-build team that has completed many church building projects too. One that is willing to be flexible and responsive to your specific ministry needs. The McKnight Group’s mission statement focus is: Enabling ministries with buildings that work. We understand that to grow your church it must reach the people God has called you to reach, the way he has called you to reach them.  That vision God has placed in your mind for how you minister to people means that you’re going to have some very specific needs for your church building that the average architect simply could never understand.

The McKnight Group Design-Build Team

Selecting the right design-build team doesn’t have to be daunting. The McKnight Group has a proven process that can give you the help you need. Usually we begin with a meeting, either with your leadership team and/or your building committee. At this initial consultation, we learn about your vision and the kind of facilities you need.  We begin to discuss the process of finding a solution to your facility need, whether it’s a new structure, or the remodeling of an existing site. We also share information with you on how we work.

Based on this initial meeting, there are a number of ways we can go—many of which we’ve outlined in our free i3 webinars. We can proceed with the full-blown design and build process or a simpler feasibility study. Perhaps you need a professional evaluation of a potential piece of land, or an assessment of the pros and cons for possibilities A and B. Or maybe you want some help envisioning what a church remodeling project might look like. Regardless of which direction you take, by using a well-established design-build team like The McKnight Group, that thoroughly understands churches and their needs, your mission and vision will be achieved and you will indeed end up with ministry buildings that work.

2016-08-24T15:07:37+00:00 August 24th, 2016|Advice, Church Building, Church Design, Uncategorized|

5 Common Stewardship Capital Campaign Mistakes

Erasing mistakeIf you’ve ever embarked on a major church project, you’ve no doubt learned that it’s almost impossible to go it alone. Whether your plans involve a multi-site ministry or starting a capital campaign for a new church design, you’re bound to need professional help along the way. That’s why we’re happy to help connect you with other seasoned professionals who can help make your new project a success.

One such group is Generis, a team of Christian strategists who know a lot about supporting churches with successful stewardship fundraising efforts. Recently, they shared some of the common mistakes they see churches make when it comes to capital campaigns. Below are five of the worst mistakes that you should try to avoid.

Mistake #1: Not Thinking Broadly Enough About Stewardship

The people at Generis think in big-picture terms, and we agree with them. Churches focus a lot of time and energy on teaching their communities about the need for funds. But if you stop there, you’re missing an even bigger opportunity.

Why not expand the conversation and talk not just about fundraising, but also about discipleship? Everyone needs to understand the importance of good stewardship in every area of their personal and professional lives. Teaching church members to think as lifelong givers will not only support your church in your current capital campaign, but also in your church’s fundraising efforts going forward.

Mistake #2: Not Understanding Today’s Giving Climate

Have you thought at all about the impact of Kickstarter and GoFundMe on your church’s capital campaign? If you haven’t, you need to.

Gone are the days when church was one of the primary places where people contributed money. Nowadays, there are a lot more opportunities out there to give, and every church has to think about how to stand out in a crowd of meaningful projects.

Mistake #3: Not Building Momentum for Your Capital Campaign

Just because you’ve been thinking about your new church design project for months, you can’t assume that others are going to jump on board right away. You need to allow time to share information about the project and captivate your audience. By helping them understand the church’s needs, you gain buy-in from all your church members.

Mistake #4: Not Understanding Church Giving Patterns

For capital campaign specialists, it’s not about “location, location, location” like it is for real estate agents. Instead, it’s about “data, data, data.” You and your fundraising team have got to take the time to analyze the giving trends in your congregation. Otherwise you can’t reliably understand what it will realistically take to raise a certain amount of money. If you don’t understand the giving capacity of your community, you’re setting yourselves up for failure.

Mistake #5: Not Sharing Enough Information About Your New Church Design

It’s critically important to share ample information about your church building or renovation project before you ask people to commit to a capital campaign. If people don’t understand the reasons why you need a new building, or the project doesn’t make sense to them, they will be unwilling to commit.

Learn More Mistakes to Avoid —And Best Practices to Remember

These five mistakes are the biggest ones and just a portion of what Generis shared in their recent article on capital campaigns. There were six more stewardship mistakes to avoid. To read about them, click here. And if you want to discover other useful information for your new church design or renovation project, visit our website. There, you can sign up for our free i3 webinars.

2016-06-15T11:57:13+00:00 June 15th, 2016|Advice, Church Design, Financing, Stewardship, Uncategorized|

Eight Principles for a Successful Church Building Project: A Focus on Finances

finances-church-building-tipsWe continue our series on the eight principles of a successful church building project, developed by our vice president of architecture, Philip Tipton. The goal of this series is to help you understand the different aspects of church architecture and other planning that goes into a church building project. In this part, we’ll focus on the financial aspects as they relate to the eight principles.

Get Leadership Communicating

Committees are, in general, an integral part of church leadership. The larger the church, the more likely that there will be multiple committees responsible for different aspects of church life and vision. That’s fine—as long as these committees talk with each other. However, if your church building committee doesn’t have a clear understanding of the church’s vision or isn’t talking with the leaders that outline your vision, and neither of those groups is running ideas by the finance committee, you’re likely going to end up with problems.

You see, any church architecture design or building project is only as good as the communication amongst its leadership. This is why we always recommend that you have a member of the finance team sit on the building committee. That way you can be certain that the dreams you dream are built on a solid financial footing.

Count the Cost

It’s important to be realistic about what a project will cost. Philip talks about how potential clients still call him wanting to find a way to build a new church building for $30-$50 per square foot. However, that’s just not possible in today’s economy. $100 – $140 per square foot is much more realistic, and if you’re looking to build in urban areas with a strong union influence, the cost could be in the range of $150 – $180 per square foot. This is where Luke 14:28 rings true: You have to count the cost before you build, and you need a realistic understanding of your church’s financial potential before you even commission that first church architecture design.

Keep Your Financial Options Open

There are some creative financing options available today, not just a capital campaign. So it’s a very good idea not to box yourselves—and your church—into a corner when it comes to financing. Philip once worked with a church that publicly committed to proceeding with the building project once they had commitments for 50% of the funds (the other 50% would be financed). The problem was that they got stuck at 47%, and refused to consider financing that other 3%. It took them an additional six months to raise the missing commitments, during which time inflation rose by more than 3%, so they really lost money by sticking to their original fundraising goal.

Consider Building that Dream Church in Phases

Another solid financial option is to complete your new church building or renovation project in phases. While it’s great to have a big dream of the perfect church, the reality is that few churches can afford to build all they dream of, and installation of top-notch equipment or features—all at once. Many times it’s can work out to figure how to create a functional building in phase one and put off the installation of those top-notch features, items not integral with the function of the facility, until a later date. When your church’s vision is being lived out through your new building, your church will grow, bringing in the financial potential that you need to fund the next stages of your church design and building project.

We are happy to help churches think through some of these financial elements. One area The McKnight Group specializes in, is master planning. We can help you devise a plan that will logically prioritize what needs to be accomplished right away, versus what can be completed in future phases. So give us a call today with your questions. You can also sign up for our free informational i3 webinars to learn more.

2015-07-01T14:19:14+00:00 July 1st, 2015|Advice, Financing, Uncategorized|

Starting at the Floor Level with Church Interior Design

church-interior-design-flooring-optionsWhen you’re thinking about welcoming people into your church, you probably don’t start with the floors. It’s probably a bigger-picture vision of what you want your church building spaces to feel like, and what you want to catch visitors’ attention as they walk into your lobby or worship space. But flooring is—perhaps naturally—the best groundwork for good church interior design. When you have that strong foundation, everything else naturally flows. Therefore, let’s talk more about the importance of floor coverings and some things you need to consider when creating an integrated and welcoming church interior design.

Working From the Outside In

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Therefore your lobby is the most important place to begin discussing your flooring options. Naturally, because it’s the entry space, your lobby floor is subject to the punishing effects of local weather brought inside. It could be snow, rain and salt—or the fading effects of sun and sand if you live in a desert area. We recommend creating a “walk-off” area inside the door, and installing commercial grade walk-off carpet tile in this area. Walk-off carpet eliminates the need for rugs, which can be a tripping hazard. And it performs better than a rug when it comes to cleaning the bottom of everyone’s shoes as they walk through the area. Individual tiles can also be easily replaced if they get too worn or stained.

Adding Pattern and Color to Your Lobby

The depth of this walk-off area will be determined by the amount of wet weather in your area. As you transition in to the lobby, you will want to add additional colors and/or a new pattern to your lobby floor. You can do this by selecting a patterned carpet tile or installing a broadloom carpet with an interesting pattern. In making your decision, you will also want to consider whether you’re going to include a café— in that case you will likely want to consider a hard flooring surface rather than carpet.

Protecting Your Carpeting Investment

This is another reason why we always recommend going with commercial grade flooring for all areas of your church interior design. Residential flooring is not designed to withstand the volume of traffic your church building gets every Sunday, not to mention all your weekday activities and residential materials don’t meet code requirements. We also strongly suggest that, in the name of good stewardship, you consider warranties, which for carpet are often defined as “limited lifetime.” Make sure that the warranty covers edge ravel, de-lamination (the connection between the front and back of your carpet), zippering (when a snagged carpet thread just pulls up, taking the entire weave with it), excessive wear and stain resistance.

Thinking Outside the Carpet Roll for Your Church Interior Design

Of course, carpet isn’t your only option when it comes to flooring. Vinyl flooring has come a long way since your grandmother’s kitchen floor. Rather than sheet vinyl, a newer vinyl product available is referred to as LVT (luxury vinyl tile) and can look like wood or stone, is easily cleaned, and doesn’t need to be stripped and re-waxed. This makes it ideal in cafés, church school classrooms, and other areas that are more likely to encounter spills. Still other options are porcelain tile and stained concrete. Just remember that no flooring is truly maintenance-free. For example, while porcelain tile will wear forever, the grout will stain. This is why it’s important to ask questions about what’s required to maintain each type of flooring, so that you can make choices that fit your church’s maintenance patterns as well as your vision.

To learn more about church interior design, and to see great examples of each type of flooring discussed here, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series.

2015-06-03T17:50:35+00:00 June 3rd, 2015|Advice, Church Design, Interior Design, Uncategorized|