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  • Writer's pictureSteve Baker PhD AIA

Leaving a Legacy: How to Start Planning Your Church Building Project

Building a church is one of the things you can do to help bring people closer to God and help them find eternal salvation. It’s the act of creating a place to call home and learn the Lord’s word and will in an environment free of worldly distractions and influence. 

However, it’s not a project to be taken lightly. 

Building a church is not only difficult from a faith-based perspective due to the intricate details you must ensure are implemented, but it’s also difficult from a building standpoint. Planning, funding, and ensuring everything goes right are complex processes. 

Much of your role in this process is done early on, and today, we’re going to help guide you through that early portion of the project to help you get the results you need.

Here are 6 essential steps to planning a church building project.

1: Form a Building Committee for the Project

First and foremost, this is far too complex of an endeavor for you to sit down by yourself and handle it all. Not only is it a lot to handle, but there are likely other members of your church leadership who need to have input and oversight, as well. 

That’s where the building committee comes in.

A committee for planning a church building project.

The building committee for your project will consist of church members who can provide educated input, help manage this early portion of the project, and generally form a team to tackle it together. 

By making a building committee and ensuring each member can contribute openly, you ensure that the church is coming together for a greater cause rather than just providing funding and seeing what happens. 

2: Get the Basic Ideas on Paper

Before you can move forward with planning your church-building project, you and your team need to have a good idea of what you want the church to be when it’s finally built.

This initial idea is going to help you with multiple steps going forward, and it will give you a vision to go off of when you do pull in professional help. 

At this phase, you’re not professionally designing anything. That requires years of training and experience to do it properly. However, you are fleshing out the idea of what you have in mind.

3: Make a Budget

Your budget is going to be extremely important when planning your church-building project. Building a church is not cheap. 

Some denominations that use simpler designs can get away with lower-than-average budgets, but many require multi-million-dollar investments, and Catholic churches can be extremely expensive

It’s best to get this part of the process out of the way as soon as possible. Sit down with your building committee and start figuring out how much your project will realistically cost depending on the type of church you’re planning on building. 

You can find the average cost of any type of given church with a simple Google search. For the high end, the cost of building a Catholic church is between $ 5 million and $ 14 million depending on its size. Some smaller, simpler, designs can cost as low as a couple hundred thousand dollars. 

While researching for your budget, keep in mind the size of the project, any premium materials you need to use, the cost of any fancy features or features not related to church activities, and more.

You should also consider where the church will be built, because different states, and even different municipalities, can have dramatically different average costs.

4: Create a Timeline

You don’t have to have a 100% concrete schedule for the project at this point, but if you have a rough idea of how long you want the project to take and when it should be completed, you’ll have an easier time with some funding methods, and you’ll be able to more effectively communicate with professional services. 

You don’t need exact dates, but a general idea of your expectations helps a lot. Just keep in mind that you have to be realistic. A church isn’t built in a day

5: Explore Funding Options

There are many different ways that you can secure funding for your project, and unless your church is particularly wealthy or stumbles upon a single wealthy investor, you’ll likely need to use several funding methods simultaneously to secure enough funding

The most basic funding options are to use church funds and gather donations from your flock. The church can achieve great results by simply working together and putting money back responsibly as donations come in. 

Extracurricular activities such as community events, bake sales, and similar things can also help boost funding for the project

However, depending on the scale of the project those efforts might take far longer than expected. In that case, turning to angel investors, loan lenders, and similar resources is a great idea

You can even engage with the local community to see if that helps not only gain funding but also bring new people to the church. 

Finally, technology has advanced considerably, and online crowdfunding programs can be effective if you use the right strategies. 

Whichever way you receive your funding, make sure you understand any strings that are attached, and remember that the more proof of concept you can offer, the easier it will be to get people on board with funding it.

6: Research Designers and Architectural Teams

This is a big project for you, and it can’t be taken lightly. The team you choose to work with throughout the project will greatly impact your experience and the finished result

It’s best to spend some time researching various architectural teams that offer design help from start to finish to ensure you’re working with a reputable, knowledgeable, and properly equipped team.

A man researching architectural firms for a church building project.

Make sure to learn about the tools they use, their past projects, and the experience that they have with church-related projects. Building a church is very different than building an office building or home.

Choose Baker AIA for Your Church Project

Now that you understand which steps you need to take in planning your church-building project, it’s time to find the best church architects for your endeavor.

For expert guidance and exceptional results, Baker Architects has you covered!

We not only use the highest-quality technological advantages and skilled personnel, but we also have a deep connection with the church and understand concepts that many other teams don’t. 

Contact Baker Architects today.

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