If your car’s shocks break every time you drive into your church parking lot, it might be time to fix or repave your parking lot.
If your church’s furnace forces you to wear your winter coat during worship, it might be time to upgrade your heating system.
If you feel droplets of water on your head in the sanctuary every time it rains, it might be time to replace your roof.
While these are somewhat humorous examples of what can go wrong at your church, they are, in fact, not really laughing matters. Every church facility, regardless of age, must tackle these problems—and many more—in order to ensure their facilities are working well for them.
This also might include space issues, which can prevent churches from growing or effectively meeting the gospel needs of those in their communities.
Anytime these issues present themselves, it can prevent churches from fulfilling their mission and advancing the Kingdom of God. But you may find yourself asking, “Is it wrong to want to upgrade church facilities?”
In our work with churches over the last 60+ years, here are some things we’ve learned about when it’s time to upgrade—for whatever reason—your church facility.
1. Ministry capacity is negatively impacted because of maintenance issues.
Your mission includes reaching people with the gospel, and that most likely means inviting them into your facility. But if your facility’s shortcomings have deleterious effects on potential congregants, then you are unable to completely fulfill your mission.
These shortcomings run the gamut, but can include the previously mentioned parking lot issues, a leaky roof, mold issues in the basement or a variety of other related issues.
2. Safety is compromised because of outdated or overused facilities.
If we want to invite—and care for—people into our facility, we want them to feel safe. But if safety issues distract people from hearing the gospel or learning how to grow in Christ, then we are not serving them as well as we could.
Safety in our facilities can revolve around a variety of issues, including outdated electrical wiring, hallways or stairways that can pose dangers to kids and adults alike, or even the lack of an elevator, which can force some people to use stairs who otherwise would be better served in an elevator.
3. Facility capacity—or even overcrowding—is holding back your ministry
The capacity of your facility includes not only your sanctuary capacity, but also the capacity of your kitchen, your classrooms, and the general flow of your building. Some churches have old or outdated kitchens that can’t accommodate the food needs for the size of your congregation.
Or think of your classroom space. Are most classrooms full, and are you developing creative ways to find places for everyone?
What about your worship space? Is it getting tight?
Or your space for teenagers and young adults, who might treasure their own space more than other age groups.
These—and a host of other—challenges can hamper your ability to completely satisfy the needs of your people and to grow effectively.
4. When a church plant or satellite location are not viable options
If extra space or additional services are required to meet your overcrowding needs, many churches will look at developing a church plant or establishing a satellite location. These have become popular options during the last few decades.
However, if you are unable to pursue these options—for whatever reason—then your best option might be to update or upgrade your current facility. This could be something as simple as remodeling space that’s currently not useable. Or it could involve building on to your existing space or even constructing a new facility altogether.
These are just a few scenarios that churches face. We’ve been working with churches—of all sizes and locations—for more than 60 years. We’d love to talk to you if you have questions about your church’s next steps. Our Campaigns & Consulting ministry can provide the necessary answers or direct you the right resources for whatever your situation.
In addition, our loan team is available to discuss various competitive options for wherever you find yourself.
Regardless, your mission is to present the Gospel and to help people grow in their faith. Make sure your facility limitations aren’t preventing you from this important charge.
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