Recently, we’ve been sharing some of our expertise on the use of multisite facilities for your church. We conclude the series with a look at commercial buildings, which make up about 11 percent of multisite church facilities. There are some definite advantages to leasing or owning commercial buildings, especially when you employ a smart church interior design plan to make them feel like home.
The Advantages of Commercial Buildings
One of the keys of multisite facilities is being able to reach people where they are, and commercial buildings tend to be built in easy-to-reach locations. If you choose to use a commercial building in or near a shopping center, for example, people will find it easy to come to your worship service because they’re already accustomed to visiting the shopping center for other reasons.
Another advantage is that when you lease or purchase a commercial building, you have access to that building seven days a week, which means you don’t have to tire out your leaders and support staff by setting up and tearing down your worship space, café, and children’s spaces every week. You’ll also be able to hold your weekday ministries in that building, since you’ll have access to it all the time.
Other advantages of commercial buildings include the infrastructure that’s already in place for you: parking lots, drainage, water, sewer, etc. In fact, we have calculated that remodeling an existing commercial building to meet your worship and children’s church needs can cost anywhere from 50 percent to 66 percent less than constructing a church building from scratch. A remodeling job will also take less time than new construction.
The Disadvantages of Commercial Buildings
Of course, when you choose an existing building, you’ve got to make sure that the structure will fit with your interior design plan and vision for ministry in the community.
One important consideration is the structure of typical box buildings. They will often have columns supporting the roof, spaced 30 or 40 feet apart. You don’t notice them when the building is used for retail and filled with sections of merchandise, but those columns can block worship sightlines, and they are expensive to remove. If you want a large worship center, you need to make sure your church interior design can handle those columns.
You’ll also want to make sure that the building you’re renovating is in good structural condition, especially if it’s been sitting vacant for a while. Older buildings have to be carefully maintained or they can develop issues, so you’ll need to be certain that the building is watertight, the foundation is solid, and the roof is good, strong, and safe. Also, buildings from the 1960s and ’70s will potentially have asbestos that needs to be removed—an expensive additional cost.
In addition, you need to think long term when you’re making a commitment to a commercial building. If your church’s vision includes expansion of the worship center or other facilities at a later date, you want to be sure the building and site you lease or purchase can handle that expansion.
More Church Building Design Tips in Our Webinars
To learn more of the insights we’ve gained in working with church buildings for 40-plus years, please visit our website today and sign up for our free i3 webinar series. You’ll find many ideas and more information about how The McKnight Group can help you create a church building that meets your needs and vision.