The time has come. Your church is thriving, and it seems like every month there are more people squeezed into your worship space, fellowship hall, classrooms and meeting spaces. It’s time to assess your assets and make some important decisions about whether you should invest in church remodeling.
Can your old building turn over a new leaf?
Before you dive into your remodeling plans, however, it’s important to determine whether your existing building is worth remodeling. It’s critical to make certain that your existing space is structurally sound and well maintained before you proceed with any renovation plans.
Say your community is gathering in a traditional stone church building that is a century old. As a start, you might want to find out if the building’s maintenance history is available. Do you know when the roof was last repaired, or if it’s ever been replaced? Have there been any leaks in the roof or walls in recent years? Have the stones of the façade ever been repointed (which means re-grouting with mortar to make sure the building is sealed against moisture and invasion from small creatures)?
Another issue to consider is whether the initial building construction was of good quality. If the building has less-than-perfect workmanship, remodeling might not be worth an additional investment. Some of those same issues (leaks, or pests in the walls) might show that you have some larger, and probably expensive, problems to address before you even begin to work on the remodeling itself.
Can your building “stand firm?”
With a building that is a century old, chances are that it was constructed to “stand forever” in its current form. That was fine then, but we ask a lot more of our church buildings today. As you consider your needs for the next century, you will want to make sure that your church building is structurally able to withstand the internal remodeling. For example, does your church have “clear spans” (where the frame or truss carries the weight of the roof all across the ceiling) or are there columns here and there around the building to support the roof? Are the walls you want to take out load-bearing? Not being able to remove them could mean obstructed views in an expanded space.
On the other hand, sometimes congregations do plan ahead when they design their church buildings. In one of our i3 webinars, we share the example of a church building where they built the sanctuary to seat 600, but planned ahead for an expansion capable of seating 1000. When the congregation was ready to take that next step, all they had to do was take down a couple of walls and add those additional seats.
So before you dive into church remodeling plans, it’s important to make sure that you will be building on a strong, quality foundation. To learn more, sign up for one of our free i3 webinars today.