Church buildings that were built for a different era can put a real crimp in your ministry style. No matter how exciting your church vision and how awesome your activities, if your church building doesn’t function, or look like it will function for the people you are trying to reach, you’ll be at a disadvantage to draw those people in. But an innovative church renovation—even of just a small portion of your existing facility—can solve many challenges and update your curb appeal.
Giving an Old Church Building a Facelift
We’ll use The Bridgetown Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH as an example that demonstrates a variety of ways a church building can improve through renovations. The Bridgetown church leaders were well aware that their church building was stuck in the 1970s. The swooping roof design and stained glass just didn’t illustrate their modern church vision. And with a congregation that was becoming younger and younger, they knew they needed an updated look.
Our solution was to expand the entryway. We opened up the structure and raised the entire ceiling, adding windows at multiple levels. This allows light to stream into the foyer, making it much more inviting. And now, the interior lights stream out from the building at night and the glow gives a warm, welcoming feel to anyone passing by. The updated façade makes the sanctuary roof seem less imposing by comparison and creates a more holistic look to the entire structure.
Incorporating a Café and Conversation Area
Another important church remodel priority for the leaders at Bridgetown was to incorporate space for fellowship. The previous foyer was cramped, dark and dated. Also, they were “making-do” for their existing café area. They had converted an unused coat closet into a café bar of sorts, but it was essentially just a row of coffee pots on a table—practical, but not very welcoming.
By expanding the entire foyer space, we made room for a designated café area that is aesthetically pleasing and functional. The extra room even allows for casual seating and conversation. The natural light flooding in from the new windows makes the café area feel warm and inviting—allowing guests to hang out with church members in comfort and get to know more about Bridgetown Church of Christ.
A portion of the church building’s original stained glass window was repurposed into an eye-catching piece of wall art. It adds a unique touch of style while preserving some of the church’s history for future generations.
Integrating Safety and Spaciousness into this Church Remodel
Another major issue for Bridgetown was their restrooms. There was no men’s facility at all on the upper, worship level—men had to go downstairs to use the restroom. And the single women’s restroom that was on the first level was very small and not accessible for handicapped users. The lack of an elevator between the two floors made things even more inconvenient for handicapped guests and members. With the same expansion of the foyer area, we created room for updated, handicap-accessible restrooms for both men and women. We also added an elevator so that everyone could easily move between both floors of this church building.
Big Changes for a Not-So-Big Budget
A big advantage of a church remodel like the one at Bridgetown Church of Christ, is that major changes were made without the need to remodel the entire church building. As you can see from the before and after photos, we didn’t change much in the worship space. Beyond a new HVAC system, a small extension of the platform, and replacing pews with chairs to provide accessible seating and flexibility—the original structure was largely unaltered. In the end, we transformed an outdated church building without a new-building-budget.
Of course, not every church remodel situation is the same. This is why we encourage you to sign up for our i3 webinar series. These free webinars give us the chance to illustrate various church remodel scenarios that meet different sets of needs. Visit our webinar page today to learn more about our upcoming presentations.