Remember that Kevin Costner baseball film, Field of Dreams and its famous line, “If you build it, they will come?” That line has become a catchphrase for many different types of construction projects.
When someone sees a new building going up in the neighborhood, it’s natural to be curious. We all want to find out what might be coming to our part of town. No matter what the building turns out to be, people are likely to visit at least once to find out what it’s all about.
The same is true whenever a new church building goes up in a neighborhood or an existing church property undergoes significant and obvious remodeling. People will be curious and come visit once the work is finished, but a building isn’t what grows a church.
A Building is the Starting Line
While it may be natural to view the completion of your church building construction project as the end of the job, it is not the time for church leaders to take a break and rest once the punch list is complete. It is actually the time when all church leaders need to be rested and ready to put forth the energy needed to welcome guests, spend time getting to know them, and work to integrate them into the church community.
Yes, a new or remodeled church building may alleviate a problem that previously frustrated regulars and guests alike. Perhaps the foyer was too small or the parking lot over-crowded. As with our opening illustration, once everyone comes to visit, they will see the improvements to the building, but they will stay because of what goes on inside of it.
This means that you must make a good impression, not just with your beautiful new church building, but with the ministries you have to offer and the energy of the people who are making it happen. And it needs to begin day one.
Avoiding Distraction and Exhaustion Over Your Church Building
There’s another moral to this story. We get a lot of church leaders asking if they can save money by recruiting volunteers to work on everything from demolition at the beginning to painting and laying tile and carpeting at the end. While we’re open to it if the work is done with quality and within the agreed time frame, we see another concern. If you exhaust your volunteers with church building work, they won’t have energy left for the critical job of welcoming and integrating guests into your church building when it opens.
As we say so often, there are definite roles for professionals to play in any church building project. Volunteers have limited time and energy to devote to your church. Give them the jobs that outside professionals can’t do. Only leaders and regular attendees at your church can speak for your church and its vision. We can’t do that, so hire us to build your church and, when they come, give them a warm welcome and they will stay.
We shared this wise perspective in one of our recent free i3 webinars. For more helpful perspectives from church building professionals, sign up for our next i3 webinars.