Three Questions for Defining a Clear Vision for Your Church Building

Sometimes, even for church leaders, it can be difficult to find the right words. One such time is when you need to clearly and concisely define a church vision for ministry in your community. If you ever find yourself struggling to better define and articulate your church’s vision, here are some questions that–once answered–will help you do just that.

Who Are You Trying to Reach with Your Church Vision?

The best place to start with defining a clear church vision is with the question of who you are trying to reach. The answer will be different for each church. Some will say they want to reach everybody. That is the great commission however in our society that can prove exceedingly difficult because different people have different ways to connect with God and different experiences in a church.

Here are some possible answers to this question. You could be trying to reach Generation Y or Millennials. You could be focusing on young singles, or families with young children. You might want to reach unchurched people. You could be focused on seekers, or on those who don’t even realize they need God in their lives. Once you define what types of people you want to draw into your church building, you’re ready for the next question.

How Do You Reach Them with Your Church Design?

Next, it’s time to explore how to reach them. Take, for example, families with young children – to reach them, you need to know their needs. You could speak with parents with young children who are already in your church and find out (1) what drew them to your church building and (2) what they need from your church.

One possible need for these parents might include a weekday preschool program. If there isn’t another preschool program nearby, starting one at your church might draw in other families with young children. If that’s too much of a stretch for your budget, you might be flexible by starting with a Mother’s Day Out ministry that provides a safe place for children to play, and the chance for their mothers to attend bible study. Also consider fathers, and perhaps whether Father-Son activities could bring more families into your church.

What Church Building and Program Changes Do You Need to Make This Happen?

Once you have a clear church vision for who you’re trying to reach, and you know what they need and are looking for, then you can begin to assess how your church building and programs can work together to meet those needs. For example, if you’ve got an older church building that has some excess school rooms left over from half a century ago, might you plan some remodeling and set up a preschool in that building?

Of course, in newer church buildings, there may not be space for such a plan. In that case, you might look for other ways that your church building and property can support your church vision. Perhaps you can install a basketball court or baseball diamond to attract fathers and sons for weekend games. Maybe it’s time to expand a small part of your church building to add an indoor play area for preschool children, near an existing room that their mothers can use for bible study.

As you can see, answering questions like these can be very helpful in focusing your attention to define a better church vision. We’ve discovered the answers to a lot of questions over fifty years of building churches. To hear what else we’ve learned, sign up today for one of our upcoming free i3 webinars.

2020-05-12T18:36:05+00:00 May 12th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Connecting Your Church Building with Your Vision for Ministry

Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, your church vision for ministry in your community influences the choices you make about what you do for worship on Sunday and how you use your church building to support what you envision. This is why every church needs a good, concrete, and up-to-date vision.

This is the definition we use for church vision: a clear, shared, and compelling picture of the preferred future into which God is calling your congregation. While God seems to always be calling us forward, what vision is, or isn’t, is not the same for everyone.

Your Church Vision is Not by Committee

Every church has the same mission, to lead people into a saving relationship with Christ. However, each church will do that differently, and each church building will support that mission in different ways. A church vision needs to address the culture and demographics of the community and those who attend the church. (This is one place where a mismatched or outdated church building can definitely hinder the fulfillment of your church vision.)

It also has to mesh with the spiritual gifts of the church leadership. This is why you should not borrow another church’s vision for ministry. The vision needs to meet the needs of the folks where your church building is located. Ultimately, a church vision comes through prayer, not handing out a survey to the congregation. It is God-given, not wrestled out during committee meetings as a compromise between multiple human agendas.

Focus on Methods, Not Message, and Include Your Church Building

Pastor and author, Rick Warren says that we should never confuse the methods with the message. The message must never change, but the methods must change with each new generation. No vision is eternal. This is why church leaders must tie theirs to a clear understanding of what needs to change in their programs, outreach, and church building. Only then will the church speak with a unified vision.

The shut down and stay in place orders of COVID 19 clearly illustrate just how important the need for change can be. Most churches were forced to change within a week or two. Now many churches have ways of reaching people that they didn’t think they could just a month or two ago. 

Understanding the Church Vision Life Cycle

So, if the methods must change for the message to be effective, it is important to understand the life cycle of every church vision. What happens when you achieve your church vision? We might think the church doesn’t die, but some churches do.

When a church reaches their vision, people stop striving to go above and beyond. They can think they’ve reached the mountaintop and they become complacent. That’s when a focus on comfort and the status quo starts to creep in. Once a vision is reached, over time, the energy for that vision fades away.

The good news is that God then gives a new vision, a new direction, to someone in the church leadership. It’s important to recognize that this will happen and to be ready for it, and be open to His direction, even including major changes to a church building.

With that new vision comes a new energy, which helps everyone move forward. It is that energy that we wish to support with our free i3 webinars, where we share the information you need to develop the best church vision for your community and to remodel or construct the best church building to support that vision.

2020-04-28T19:37:24+00:00 April 28th, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

How to Avoid Stagnation with an Outward-Looking Vision for Your Church Building

A vibrant and compelling church vision for ministry is critical to reaching people in your community. It’s something we frequently mention. Over time, however, church leaders and attendees can lose touch with their church’s vision and become satisfied with—even attached to—the status quo. This can lead to stagnation in your church building and among your church leaders.

Recently, one of our free i3 webinars focused on how to create a strong church vision, including what happens when churches just maintain the status quo.

What’s Wrong with Being Comfortable in Your Church Building?

We all like things that make us comfortable, be they soft jeans, worn-in shoes, or a worship service that’s familiar and makes us feel at home. While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with being comfortable, it can lead to complacency and stagnation. This is what happens when people are happy to show up, week after week, at your church building, expecting the same thing, over and over. Without a clear and compelling church vision, we become comfortable with the status quo and the church can stop growing in Christ.

What’s Wrong with the Status Quo?

The problem with the status quo is that it’s about “me.” In the words of Tom Rainer, Founder and CEO of Church Answers, “’It’s all about me’ is the anthem of the dying church.” It’s the song we sing when we don’t want anything to change. It can happen when we like our church building the way it is, for example, even if that church building appears outdated and doesn’t look inviting to potential guests who are seeking for community and meaning, and a way to connect with people on a Sunday morning. Unless church leaders and attendees can turn the focus outward, onto Christ and a community that’s hungry for Christ, Christianity won’t thrive.

What’s the Answer to an Effective Church Vision?

George Barna, founder of The Barna Group, a market research firm that specializes in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans, as well as  the intersection of faith and culture, says that, “the things that got you where you are today will not be the things you need to get where you need to be tomorrow. In order for the American church to survive, it must reach into the community with outwardly focused ministries.” Rather than worrying about how to maintain what you currently have—in terms of church building and programs—you need to be reaching for something beyond what you currently have. That’s where a compelling church vision comes in.

There are many different types of church building examples around North America, ranging back over 200 years. But ministry has changed quite a bit over those 200 years and reaching people has changed a lot from when each old church building was built. This means there are a lot of facilities that speak to yesterday instead of representing the vision of a church for tomorrow that’s compelling and exciting. In order to bring guests into your church community, you need a rousing church vision, and a building that shares that vision, to draw them in.

In future articles, we will discuss the elements of a compelling church vision that can help your church to avoid stagnation. We know what works because we’ve been constructing church buildings for fifty years. Sign up today for our free i3 webinars, where we share more of the wisdom we have learned from that half-century of church design experience.

2020-04-21T20:26:45+00:00 April 21st, 2020|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Responding to Some of Your Church Building and Design Questions

Most of the time, in both this blog and our free i3 webinars, we give you information we hope will help support your church building and remodeling projects. This time around, however, we’re going to switch things up and take instead of give—take your questions, that is.

Sources of Your Church Building Questions

In our i3 webinar series, we share a lot of useful information about the latest trends, as well as our ideas and suggestions for best practices in church design and construction. After the webinars are over, we frequently get questions.

Some of those questions are very specific—related to particular situations in which church leaders are ministering—but sometimes they’re general enough that the answers can be beneficial for everyone. In the spirit of getting the information out, read on for answers to two of your questions on recent topics we’ve covered both in our i3 webinars and here in our blog posts.

Can a Church Vision Be Too Broad?

The first question we’ll address relates to the scope of one’s church vision. It arose in response to our church vision series, where we discuss the importance of crafting the best vision for your ministry so that a church design can be created to specifically meet the needs of that vision.

The question reads as follows: “Is it important to define your vision as specifically as possible? Can it be too narrow, or too broad?”

We believe the best church visions are broad, not narrow. Also, there is a subtle, but very important, difference between being clear and concise about your vision versus being overly narrow and specific.

You don’t want to leave people out of your vision because you focused it too narrowly. The best way to find that sweet spot between broad and narrow is to try out your church vision message on the leaders in your church and see if it attracts interest, attention, and energy. If your vision resonates with your leaders and they get excited about it, you’ve got a right-sized church vision.

What Is the Trend in Church Design for Seating?

The second query we’ll address, generated by our discussion of church building trends, is about worship center seating. This is a complex issue in many churches, because a church’s history and tradition can challenge modern church design priorities.

Here’s the question: “We have pews and are thinking of changing to theater seating. What is the trend, and what are the advantages? I’ve also heard that, practically speaking, you can fit in more people with theater seating, since they’re willing to sit closer.”

Certainly this church leader is right about people being willing to sit closer with individual seats than with pews. With pews, people like to have space between each other, and often place a Bible or purse on the pew to ensure that space. With individual chairs—whether stackable or theater seating—people are willing to sit in one seat and be comfortable with someone sitting in the chair next to them.

There are important differences between theater seats and stackable seating. With either, you will gain about 15 to 20 percent in seating capacity compared to pews. However, theater seats are much more expensive: $250-$275 for theater seats versus $50-$100 for stackable seating (with wooden chairs being more expensive than metal ones).

If you have a flat floor in your church building, we recommend stackable seating for its flexibility. If your church design has a sloped floor, you will be locked into theater seating as a replacement for pews.

Answering Your Call

Our free i3 webinars are filled with practical, useful information like this. To learn the latest about church design trends and best practices in church building, visit our home page and register for any webinars that catch your interest. And keep those questions coming—we’re happy to help.

2018-05-22T15:05:58+00:00 May 22nd, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Dream Your Church Vision: Phasing in Your Church Design

We’ve covered much lately about the importance of a church vision for ministry. The examples we’ve shown illustrate how church leaders can use their vision to transform ministry opportunities in the community through a well-thought-out church design.

Clearly, a church vision is a powerful thing—it can inform designs, building trends, even the future of a community, as you will see below. In case you’re having a hard time articulating your church’s vision, below you’ll also find some basic, but fundamental, questions for kick-starting your own visioning process.  

What if Money Wasn’t an Obstacle?

Here are two questions we feel are very important to ask, especially at the beginning of any church visioning process:

  • If you knew you could not fail, what would you do for the glory of God?
  • If you knew that money was not an obstacle, what would you do to build God’s kingdom?

We at The McKnight Group emphasize the importance of having an expansive vision for the future of your church, because we know that if it’s not broad enough, you might end up short-changing what’s possible. The example below illustrates how a comprehensive vision can enhance a ministry’s potential.

Church Design and Vision: The Master Plan for Grove City Church

We’ve been working with Grove City Church of the Nazarene in Grove City, Ohio, for a long time. Back in 1985, they averaged about 400 in attendance, purchased a 27-acre “blank canvas,” and had this master plan. As you can see, they started by thoughtfully designing the important multi-use church buildings at the bottom of the plan. They also had a grand church vision for much more, including a Christian school and an assisted living facility.

This second master plan was developed years later. At this point, they’ve purchased additional property and expanded their church vision to include a high school, lots of athletic fields, and an enlarged mission for their assisted living facility. Also, because they’ve focused on the needs of the community, their church has grown so much that this master plan includes a 3,200-seat worship center.

Expand Your Own Vision

While the images above aren’t your typical before-and-after photos, they clearly illustrate what can be done when church leaders have a clear vision for the future of their ministry in the community.

That’s also why we encourage you to sign up for our free i3 webinars, where our photos and discussions of church design and other topics give you a clear vision for what’s possible. Just go to our home page, where you can sign up for the webinars that interest you. And if you haven’t had a recent conversation in your church about your vision for the future, consider doing so—it could be transformative.

2018-05-15T17:00:26+00:00 May 15th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

How the Right Church Vision Turned a Disaster into an Opportunity

We have been sharing some real-life examples of churches that have used their vision to drive the construction or renovation of their church building.

Often such transformations occur as a natural reaction to changes in the community or ministry. But as you will soon see, they can also be in response to catastrophic events—with uplifting results.

Catalyst for Change: Realizing a New Church Vision

Sometimes disaster leads to opportunity. This was the case for First Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa, Iowa. After their church building was destroyed by a fire in 2006, church members sought to recover from their sudden and catastrophic loss.

That’s when they realized something: God had given them a catalyst for change. They had an opportunity to take a good strong look at their various ministries and discern what the church could do differently. Through this process, church leaders began developing a new vision for their ministry in the community.

First Church of the Nazarene Becomes Gateway Church of the Nazarene

During this time, they also realized and accepted the fact that the neighborhood around the church had changed. They began talking about whether they should rebuild on the old site or look elsewhere for a location that better aligned with their new, emerging church vision. As a result, they eventually decided to move to a different part of town.

Starting from scratch, they were able to develop a church design that fit their newly focused vision. With that design in mind, they then constructed a new church building that specifically met those newfound needs. Like a phoenix from the ashes, First Church of the Nazarene became reborn across town as Gateway Church of the Nazarene.

A Church Design Focused by Vision

As you can see, Gateway wanted a focal point for their church building. Their new design makes the entrance obvious—and the fact that it’s a church is clear from the start.

Once you walk inside, the bright, airy foyer clearly conveys that gathering for conversation and developing relationships is a high priority of this church. Moreover, the restrooms are clean and elegant, making for good first impressions.

You can also see that the new design includes a nice café and seating area to encourage conversation. Through the glass walls behind the café there is an indoor play area that serves multiple purposes, giving children a place to safely play while adults get to know each other over coffee.

Such a church design sends the message that families with children are a priority. What’s more, the café and playground setup allow the church to rent the space to families in the community for children’s birthday parties. By bringing new families into the building this way, Gateway is able to reinforce its vision of ministering to couples with young children.

Change, Like Knowledge, Is Good

While not every church has the opportunity to start from scratch, it’s worth considering when looking at revising your church vision. Just as neighborhoods change over time, so do churches and their ministries.

That’s another reason we suggest you visit our home page to sign up for one or more of our free i3 webinars. After all, change happens in the church design and building industry, too and these webinars offer the perfect opportunity to stay on top of the latest trends and information.

2018-05-08T15:40:16+00:00 May 8th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Church Vision Turns Old School into New Church Building

This post is another in our series featuring examples of churches whose vision transformed the design and construction of the church building they worship in.

In this case, a church leader started with a building that wasn’t built for worship at all. He saw the potential in an old middle school, then drew us in to collaborate on his energizing vision for ministry in his community.

The Church Building Challenge of Berachah Baptist Church

Berachah Baptist Church in Middletown, Ohio, had been struggling with a building that was too small. Their vision was to expand their ministries with a new church design, but they also had very little land to work with.

Because they felt confined by their old church building, they decided to take a leap of faith and sell it. When we met Pastor Lamar, they were starting to search for the right location to come along as they worshipped in rented facilities.

During their search, they looked at two or three different sites, with Pastor Lamar ultimately feeling that this old middle school had great potential. We walked through the building together (as we are willing to do with any church leaders who are evaluating their different church design options) and talked about the potential ministry opportunities of the space.

In the end, Berachah Baptist was able to purchase the property, along with 40 acres of land, for a price that worked within the church’s budget.

Transforming an Old School Cafeteria with a New Church Vision

Remodeling a former school campus for a new use can be a very effective process when it’s guided by a strong church vision.

Here are some before and after images of the school cafeteria. Berachah Baptist wanted a place where people could build relationships, so they turned it into a welcoming foyer and café area. As you can see, the old stage was converted into additional seating, providing more comfortable places for conversation and deepening relationships.

In the area which was formerly the cafeteria serving line, we created a secure check-in area for the children’s ministry. This new, bright, well-designed area helps parents feel comfortable and kids feel safe when they check in and go down the hall to their classrooms.

Making an Old Gym into a Vibrant Worship Center

Another portion of the former school transformed by Berachah Baptist’s church vision was the gymnasium. The old, tired space was renovated into a flexible worship center that can seat between 550 and 600 people. This allows the church to continue growing, even offering multiple services to meet the different needs of the community.

Additionally, the old school property provides lots of additional space to use as the church grows or when they decide to implement new aspects of their church vision.

Explore More Church Design Options

We never grow tired of working with church leaders to find new ways to support their ministry by helping them create a building that supports their church vision. In our next post, we will share the story of a church that needed support in recovering from a devastating fire.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to go to our home page and register for our free i3 webinars, which will provide more useful information about how we are supporting church visions with buildings that work.

2018-05-01T15:27:03+00:00 May 1st, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Church Building Renovation Examples Supported by Church Vision: Part 2

This post continues our series showcasing how remodeled church buildings can support a church’s vision for ministry.

Sometimes, church leaders may take their church building for granted, forgetting that it can send a powerful message to guests (as well as regular attenders). The fact is, if a building’s implicit message seems outdated or unwelcoming, people might stay away.

Welcoming Youth with Your Church Design

This tendency to stay away is particularly true for youth. Young people are sensitive to what may seem like a “token gesture” made by adults which actually was made with the best of intention.

For example, we’ve seen some churches build a new worship center and then give the old one to its youth group. There’s nothing wrong with that, but how you do it can really make a difference.

Westerville Christian Church Welcomes Youths with More

As you can see in these first pictures, Westerville Christian Church is one such church. They built a new worship center and repurposed the old one for young people, at first hanging a simple sign over the entrance and furnishing the old worship space with chairs and couches. But its leaders realized that their church vision of reaching youth would be a lot more successful if their church design sent a strong welcoming message. Instead of giving them “leftover space,” Westerville set out to create a design that would attract and connect with young people.

To do this, they turned to The McKnight Group for assistance. As you can see here, we transformed what was a small, closed-off foyer into a bright, welcoming space, adding fresh flooring and cool modern finishes. The foyer now leads into the worship space through an open area instead of closed doors.

We also worked with Westerville to create a design for the worship center itself that would be appealing to youth. While the old space was OK for hanging out, it didn’t really support the vision of a compelling area for young people to help bring them to Christ. To do that, we transformed the old worship center into a space with youth appeal, adding a high-quality sound system, a platform large enough for a band, and folding chairs that increase flexibility for how the space is used.

Using Your Church Building to Fulfill Your Church Vision

With these relatively straightforward renovations to an existing church design, we gave Westerville a powerful tool for fulfilling its church vision of reaching youth in the community.

In the words of Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, “Never confuse the methods with the message. The message will always remain the same. The methods and the tools for delivering that message, however, need to change with each generation, because each generation hears the message in different ways.”

Church leaders need to notice how methods change and stay ahead of trends to get that message across. Westerville Christian Church did this by paying attention to what its youth were looking for in a church building.

Learn Even More—Then Go to School

We, too, recognize that methods change over time, which is why we freely share our i3 webinars each year. This free series helps church leaders keep up with what is happening in church building projects around the country.

Please go to our home page and sign up for any of our upcoming webinars. And come back for our next post, when we’ll provide another example of a successful church remodeling project: this time, transforming a school into an attractive functional church building.

2018-04-24T15:01:44+00:00 April 24th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

Having the Right Church Design Vision to Move Beyond the Status Quo

As members of The McKnight Group’s leadership team travel around the country, we find some churches lack a clear and compelling vision. We want to help change that as we believe having a cohesive vision for one’s ministry is instrumental not only for successful outreach but also as the foundation for an integrated, effective church design. Now more than ever, church leaders who are considering a new church building need to begin with a compelling vision.

Church Design: It’s Not About “Me”

Many churches today end up focusing on what current church leaders and members like. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, speaks to this when he says “it’s all about me” has become the anthem of the dying church. In order to survive, says Rainer, American churches must reach into communities through outwardly focused ministries.

This can be tough for church members to hear. People get comfortable with what they like in a church. They’ve often “shopped around” for exactly that reason, and they like the status quo. When you’re in your comfort zone, you don’t want things to change. You don’t want it to be hard work. You don’t want to be uncomfortable. This is most frequently why churches stop focusing on a vision.

Supporting the Capacity for Change

However, Christianity is not about being comfortable, especially when that leads to churches getting smaller and smaller. History can provide real examples of how preachers spurred growth in the church by challenging people to change. Scripture talks about what doesn’t grow is pruned and trimmed, and the wastes are discarded, or thrown into the fire and burned.

Our country is splintering into smaller, often sharply defined, segments. We need to understand that what used to work in reaching people for Christ will not work as well today. Rather than focusing on those smaller segments, that look “just like us,” we meet today’s needs by reaching out into the community, as Rainer said.

Creating Unity with an Outwardly Focused Vision

We have seen churches grow and be successful by expanding their thinking, one step at a time. Look beyond your church building to discover the needs in your community. Your vision is also a key to unlock a church building that works. When you have a clear, concise and compelling vision, it lets both guests and members know where you’re going. It charts the course.

Your vision also helps people feel part of something greater than themselves, rather than retaining that smaller and smaller viewpoint. They feel like they are doing more than they could do individually. A good church design unifies people, giving them something to rally around. We hear a lot of stories about how people in churches sometimes nitpick and complain about the little things. But when churches shift their focus to a broader, unifying vision, a lot of those complaints simply disappear.

Take the Next Step

Are you ready to take a good strong look at your church vision? Is it time to focus on a church design that will grow your church for the future? In our next post, we will provide the three questions that will help you determine your church vision.

Meanwhile, we suggest you sign up for our free i3 webinar series, so you can hear more about what we learn as we help leaders create church buildings that support their particular vision and ministry. Just visit our home page, scroll to the bottom, and register for webinars that catch your interest.

2018-03-27T15:26:06+00:00 March 27th, 2018|Church Building, Church Design, Vision|

How Vision Shapes Your Facility

create-church-design-visionWhat does your church’s vision do for you?  Vision should be a guide you use to make decisions about your ministry.  It should help inform you about what ministry should you start, which ministries should you keep, and which you should no longer pursue.  Ultimately, it should shape your church design by helping you decide where to put your people, places and resources in order to best achieve the mission God has called you to fulfill.

Originating Your Vision

I’ve come across churches in all stages of developing their future vision.  Some have it highly refined—the staff, leaders and attendees know not only what the vision is—but exactly what their role is in helping achieve it. Some churches, on the other hand, have a vision that’s not quite as developed, or not yet absorbed as a way of life by everyone in the church.  Staff and leaders may be teaching the vision, but there is little action being taken to make the vision a reality.

Many churches have a vision statement simply because someone told them they should have one.  They post it on the bulletin board each week and it’s prominent on the website, but it’s either too generic or broad to be used as a practical guide for leading the church’s ministry.

And then there are still the churches out there asking, “what is a vision and why do we need one?”

Vision’s Influence on Church Design

Let me share an example of how important vision can be when it comes to building a new church: Many churches claim to have a vision of reaching unchurched people.  Yet, they build churches to suit their own wants, rather than addressing the wants and needs of the unchurched.  When we look at buildings designed specifically to make unchurched people feel welcome, we discover that open, inviting, and flexible spaces are an asset and benefit the entire ministry and outreach of the church.

Ask yourself, does your facility reflect your church’s ministry and vision?

That can be a hard question to answer, but thankfully, there is a common scenario that prompts folks to come to terms with their vision in a more expedient fashion. As people strive to get closer to God, changes occur within them.  Many times a passion for a certain type of ministry, a way of touching people’s lives for Christ, starts to build in a person and as their excitement grows they begin sharing the message of how this ministry will reach people for Christ.

This excitement and passion is the foundation of their vision.

The next step for someone with a fledgling vision is to go to the pastor or church board and ask for support, space, staff time or maybe even full congregational support and involvement.  That sounds awesome, doesn’t it?  When a church has two, three or more people asking for support at the same time, it must decide whether it has the resources to support all of that inspiration.

Deciding How and When to Nurture a Vision

So, how do you decide whether or not to support the ideas and opportunities that are brought to you?  Have a clearly defined vision of your ministry for the next 5 to 10 years and use it as a roadmap to determine which of the burgeoning ministries will fit in with the overall direction and which ones won’t.

This may sound harsh or even counterproductive to think you couldn’t support someone’s ministry idea, but think of it this way: If God gives someone a vision for a certain ministry then He will provide the resources to help it flourish.  Your church simply may not be where God wants that ministry to grow, and His plan for that ministry will not succeed or fail based on your decision to support it.

Churches with a clear vision have ministries that reflect that vision.  They also have facilities that reflect that vision.

How Vision Plays into Building a New Church

Why am I so concerned with vision?  Because when we begin work with a church, it can be easy to dream of all the ways a facility can support a church’s ministries.  I frequently find myself saying, “your vision is most likely bigger than your wallet.” Difficult decisions have to be made about what you can afford to put into your building.  Similarly, difficult decisions must be made down the road to ensure you can be a good steward of the resources God has given you in your new facility. There are important questions that must be answered:

  • How will you prioritize what gets built first?
  • Whose ministry will have to wait?
  • Whose ministry won’t get everything they hoped for?
  • How will you remain unified as church staff, leadership and congregation in light of these decisions?

Define Your Vision and Church Design

A clearly defined vision will provide the tools you need to answer the questions above.  Instead of focusing on why one person doesn’t have everything they wished for in the new facility, you can refocus people’s attention to the higher priorities and defuse issues that can sidetrack progress.  Staff members who know the vision, understand that sacrificing their wants can help accomplish the church’s vision.  Also, a unified vision lets people feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves.

I recommend you find a way to develop your vision into a tool that aids you in your church design quest (having witnessed first-hand, the troubles that can result from not doing so). There are many good books and sites out there that can help you, but start thinking sooner rather than later.

2016-09-14T14:48:25+00:00 September 14th, 2016|Church Design, Uncategorized, Vision|