Discerning Transformation: When a Church Renovation Is in Order

Our philosophy at The McKnight Group is that a church building is a tool for ministry. As with any tool, it can get worn out, outdated or even damaged and no longer be efficient at fulfilling its purpose. When it happens, church leaders often begin discussing the need for a new church design to fit their evolving vision for ministry in their community.

But this raises a very important question: How do you know when it’s time to invest in a church renovation? Here are three components to a good discernment process. If these elements are in place, you’re probably ready to consider a new church building or renovation project.

#1: A Vision for Ministry in Your Church Building

The first and most important component is a clear and compelling vision for ministry. A church design needs to support the kinds of ministry that you want to achieve in your community. To learn more about how to discern and perfect a great vision for ministry, check out this post on the subject.

It’s also important that the great majority of your attendees—leadership and worshippers—are on the same page about this vision. When it’s time to raise money for your church renovation, it will be critical that the congregation agrees on the outcome. If not, you could end up with a tool that doesn’t work in the way you want it to.

#2: Understand What Your Active, Growing Ministries Need in a Church Design

The second component in the successful church renovation discernment process involves a close examination of the various ministries that use your church building. Which of your ministries are growing and thriving? Which could do even more if they had larger or better space in which to thrive?

It might be a preschool that’s bursting at the seams or an outdated youth ministry space that’s no longer appealing to kids in the neighborhood. Perhaps, your vision for ministry involves an after-school program or Christian school, but you’ll need to renovate your church building before that can happen.

#3: A Well-Planned and Affordable Budget for Your Church Renovation

The last critical component to a successful church renovation is to make certain that you can afford it. You need to pay careful attention to your resources and understand what’s possible. It’s great to begin by dreaming large, but it’s just as important to be realistic about what you can afford.

This does not mean giving up on the big picture. Instead, it might mean completing your church renovation in stages, or choosing different options to support your various ministries. When you work with an experienced church design team like the McKnight Group, we can help you plan the creative church renovation project solutions that will work with your available resources.

Remember that resources aren’t limited to finances. Time, land and people are other components which need to be carefully worked into the full equation. That way, when everyone is on board at all levels, you can begin a church renovation with confidence that the end product will support your vision for ministry.

To learn more about church renovation projects and how an experienced church design team can help, sign up for our free i3 webinars. You can find them at the bottom of our home page.

2018-09-18T18:15:43+00:00 September 18th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Remodeling|

Church Design: Planning a Renovation for Your Church Renovation

We live our lives in stages. It took many steps to reach where we are today. The same is true with the lifecycle of a church and of the church building itself. There are many steps and stages that occur over time — some large, others small. Sometimes, church leaders work with a church design that addresses immediate needs. At other times, it’s possible to intentionally plan ahead. In this post, we share the story of a church that actually included a future renovation into their current one when planning their new church building.

Introducing Beavercreek Nazarene

The leadership of Beavercreek Nazarene in Beavercreek, Ohio, had a vision to grow their church. In the beginning, during the early 1990s, they had a worshipping congregation of about 300 people and they needed a new sanctuary to keep growing. They had dreams of seeing 1,000 people in attendance in the future, but they also knew if they built a worship center to accommodate that many, those current 300 attendees would look small and lost in comparison.

Introducing an Innovative Church Design Solution

Their innovative church design solved this problem with two stages of church renovation. They decided to construct a full-size church building but build a pair of walls into the back of the sanctuary, as you see here in this first picture. Behind those walls are classrooms and offices. This left space for 600 in the worship center, which was plenty of room to grow without the congregation appearing too small.

A dozen or so years later, when the Beavercreek congregation had become large enough, they took out those back walls, as you can see in this later photo, and enlarged the worship center to seat the full thousand they had originally envisioned.

Advantages to Planning Multiple Church Renovation Stages

There were several advantages to this staged church renovation process. First, the outer shell of this worship center only needed to be constructed once. All the infrastructure was in place for expanding the sanctuary, which made it very cost-efficient to do when the time came. It also meant that attendees didn’t lose what they felt was “their” worship space when it came time for the second church renovation.

In the beginning, that first church design also housed offices and classrooms in one consolidated church building. Later, when the entire sanctuary space was needed for worship, they also had a larger congregation to draw from in funding the construction of a second space to house the classroom and offices for the church.

Planning ahead with your church design is an excellent way to be good stewards with a limited budget but without limiting your church’s vision for the future. If you’d like some help thinking about innovative solutions, sign up for our free i3 webinars on our website, which give you lots of examples of church designs that address specific church visions and needs. You can also give us a call at 800-625-6448 to talk about your particular church building needs.

2018-09-11T18:02:23+00:00 September 11th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Remodeling|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Lakeside Park, KY

PRESS RELEASE – Immanuel United Methodist Church, Phase Two

The McKnight Group completed Phase One remodel at Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside Park, Kentucky in 2017 which consisted of approximately 9,400 SF.  A facelift for the lower level children’s classrooms and a fresh new look for the multiuse room.

The McKnight Group has just begun Phase Two for this church which will include a new foyer addition, remodel of the Wesley Hall, existing sanctuary, classrooms, offices, and restrooms. The remodel / addition will be approximately 26,000 SF.

Owner: Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside Park, KY
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2018-08-23T15:48:08+00:00 August 23rd, 2018|Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Dublin, Ohio

PRESS RELEASE – Cypress Wesleyan Church (Cypress–Dublin Campus)

The McKnight Group has begun Phase 2 remodeling Cypress Wesleyan Church’s Dublin Campus.  For their Dublin campus, Cypress Church purchased an existing church building that The McKnight Group built for another church in 1990.  Approximately 3,510 SF of the existing foyer space will be remodeled into a new café, foyer, and restrooms. This project will consist of also replacing flooring in existing classrooms, corridors, and the multi-ministry room.  This is the seventh project The McKnight Group and Cypress Wesleyan Church have partnered together on.

Owner: Cypress Wesleyan Church, Galloway, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2018-08-23T12:34:56+00:00 August 17th, 2018|Press Release, Remodeling|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | New Albany, Ohio

PRESS RELEASE – Jersey Baptist Church

The McKnight Group has begun a remodel project for the Jersey Baptist Church in New Albany, Ohio. The exiting 1983 building and game room will be remodeled into adult classrooms, restrooms and a new entry area.

The new entry and wing remodel includes a canopy, adding additional men and women’s restroom, an expanded serving kitchen, improved circulation to the existing wing with an expanded corridor to better serve the adult education ministries.

Owner: Jersey Baptist Church, New Albany, OH
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2018-06-27T14:38:04+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Press Release, Remodeling|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Start | Irwin, Pennsylvania

PRESS RELEASE – Community United Methodist Church

The McKnight Group broke ground and construction is underway for the 26,238 sf two–story addition including a new 400–seat sanctuary, 200–seat balcony, 200–seat chapel/classroom/overflow area, choir room, backstage and tech areas, foyer, café, nursery and toddler classrooms, children’s classrooms, restrooms, storage, new parking, exterior walks, patios, playgrounds, truck dock and related site improvements.  Also included is a 13,653 sf two–story remodel including kitchen and food pantry, children’s church and classrooms, youth room and mezzanine, youth classroom and lounge, offices, conference room, restrooms, storage and miscellaneous support spaces. 

Owner: Community United Methodist Church, Irwin, PA
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2018-02-08T20:46:29+00:00 February 8th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Press Release, Remodeling, Worship Spaces|

The McKnight Group Announces Construction Completion | Lakeside Park, KY

PRESS RELEASE: Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside, KY 

The McKnight Group has completed the remodel at Immanuel United Methodist Church in Lakeside, KY.  The remodel project consisted of nine classrooms, an office, and restrooms.  A facelift for the lower level children’s classrooms using a fresh coat of paint, new LED lighting, new flooring, a new check-in counter with a tube in counter for kids to enter through and graphic wall images.  Also, a fresh new look for the hallway and the multiuse room with a new platform and storage.  McKnight created the booth for control of the audio, video and lighting, and an environmental projection was added for the multiuse room.  New carpet, blackout blinds, a fresh coat of paint, and new flooring throughout this remodel.








Owner: Immanuel United Methodist Church, Lakeside, KY
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH

2017-11-10T20:13:28+00:00 November 10th, 2017|Children's Spaces, Press Release, Remodeling|

Engage Church Building Professionals Early: Another Cautionary Tale

Over the 40 plus years we’ve been in business, we’ve seen all sorts of leaders make any number of important decisions about their church. It comes with the territory—there are so many options to be considered when one undertakes a church remodeling project. The daunting number of choices also means that if you’re not a professional in the church building field, you can sometimes make costly mistakes.

Our vice president of architecture, Philip Tipton, has been sharing some cautionary tales. In this post, his story illustrates the importance of bringing in professionals early in the church remodeling process.

Church Building Assessments and Feasibility Studies

One piece of advice Philip often gives prospective clients is that it’s never too early to involve professionals in a church remodeling project. A church building expert, whether it’s The McKnight Group or not, can assist your church’s leaders with money and time-saving advice.

We’ve conducted numerous assessments and feasibility studies as part of the early design phase to determine multiple remodeling approaches and which one best fits a church’s vision. The scope of work often goes beyond the building itself. There are also zoning implications, utility availability, and many other factors, from slopes to sidewalks, that need to be considered.

Given the complexity of some church remodels, we’re only too happy to answer questions of all types in order to help church leaders avoid costly mistakes.

A Church Remodeling Cautionary Tale

One such mistake amounts to our next cautionary tale.

The church leaders in this story found what they thought would be the perfect church building for their renovation project. The two-story building had been a store up to this point, and one of the selling points for the building was the hill upon which it was built. Both levels of the building opened “to grade,” which means that it had external entrances on two levels.

The church’s leadership bought the building and then engaged us to undertake their church remodel.

The problem was that the building had been built for “mercantile use,” which meant the top floor had been designed to handle only 40 pounds per square foot. That’s fine for a store, where individuals and small groups of shoppers wander around a large open space.

But the church leaders envisioned an adult worship space on the top floor, which was rated at far less than the 100 pounds per square foot required for “assembly use.” Think about it: When you’ve got a worship space filled to capacity with people in chairs or pews, that’s a lot more weight to support than what most retail settings experience.

The church leaders got the bad news once the building had been inspected. We had to tell them that every single second-floor bar joist in the building would have to be reinforced in order to support the required additional weight.

As Philip puts it, that additional expense “was almost a project killer.”

Consult Before You Invest

This is why we say that you can’t involve church remodeling experts too early in the process. When you are first starting to envision a church building project, that’s the time to bring in the professionals.

We’re happy to help you avoid costly mistakes that can potentially drain resources and keep you from focusing on your church’s vision. It’s also why we share our i3 webinar series for free (simply visit our website and sign up)—we want churches to succeed in their building projects, not become the next cautionary tale.

2017-08-22T16:28:28+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Church Building, Church Design, Remodeling|

Project Completion: The Summit Church

The McKnight Group Announces Completion of Remodel in Indiana, Pennsylvania.  

Recently completed was the addition of a two-story Children’s and Youth Building in addition to the remodel of existing classrooms into new foyer space.  The new Children’s and Youth Building consists of classrooms, children’s worship space, restrooms, and play area for the children on the first floor, and restrooms, classrooms, and worship space for youth on the second floor. 

The expanded lobby provides more room for the café and a new women’s restroom.  This project cost finished under the original budget and The McKnight Group was able to return those dollars back to The Summit Church for its ministries.

Construction Start:  July 2016
Construction Completion:  April 2017
Remodel: 3,660 SF
New Construction: 12,146 SF First Floor, 5,637 SF Second Floor

Owner: The Summit Church, Indiana, PA
Design/Build Firm: The McKnight Group, Grove City, OH
General Contractor: McKnight Development Corp., Grove City, OH
Architect/Designer: McKnight & Hosterman Architects, Inc., Grove City, OH


2017-07-28T18:00:34+00:00 July 28th, 2017|Budgeting, Church Design, Foyer Design, Press Release, Remodeling|

Fun Church Children’s Interior Themes on a Variety of Budgets

You can tell right away when you walk into a place that children are going to enjoy. Whether it’s a child-friendly restaurant or great church children space, you know kids will be drawn in by the bright, colorful décor and interesting, child-friendly themes. In this post, we’ll show you some ways to create fun and fabulous church children’s interiors that use themes to excite both children and their parents.

Plan Ahead

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead of time when you’re considering a church remodeling project or new church building. Doing so allows you to build your theme into every element of the children’s spaces.

Paving the Way for Children

Children Theme 1As you can see in this picture, a roadway was created that leads children into their worship space. This type of theme works well for church remodeling jobs on a budget. The sky and grass are simply paint, which is not expensive. And the road signs and barriers are easy to obtain, plus they don’t need to be customized in any way to get the message across.

But we have paid attention to the content of these signs: Children are going to see the “school crossing” sign and recognize that this means they’re going to be learning something here at church. Parents will recognize these signs and receive the message that you care about their children and their education.

Giving Church Children’s Interiors a Fun Vibe

Children Theme 2In this second picture, you can see extra steps have been taken to make a large, open space more inviting for older kids. This worship space is called the “garage,” which is going to be a fun place to hang out.

A brick vinyl wall covering on the back wall makes that “garage” statement loud and clear. The added expense of vinyl is offset by paint on the other walls. Plus, we’ve intentionally created a graphic look that helps the ceiling feel lower and makes the walls more interesting than what you would get with just a single color.

Fabulous Options for a Higher-Budget Church Remodeling Project

If your church can invest more in your children’s interiors, you can consider customized full wall graphics like the theme pictured here, using a floor to ceiling design on vinyl.

Children Theme 3In this situation, the theme planning took into account the locations of the classroom doors and incorporated them into the design. Extra lighting was also added to take full advantage of the design investment.

No matter what theme you choose, the full-wall approach provides a strong, dramatic effect. It’s pretty much impossible for children—and parents—not to be drawn in by such a hallway.

Addressing the Question of Changing Themes

When it comes to making an investment in themed children’s spaces, we are frequently asked: How do you keep your children’s spaces fresh and exciting? How often will you need to change themes?

While we as adults might see the same theme, year after year, children will be growing up and moving into new areas of your church’s interior spaces. The younger children who take their place will find those themes exciting because they will be new to them.

Find Out More

Whether you’re first considering the question of a church remodeling project or are already in the midst of constructing a major new church building, we have ideas and solutions that can help. This is why we created our free i3 webinar series. Visit our website and sign up today.