The Critical Path for Building a New Church

“We need to build a new church, where do we start?”

ChurchFundraisingCriticalPath-Flickr-LivingOS2Many churches start in the wrong place: by engaging an architect to design a building that they cannot afford. This could lead your church into great financial difficulties.

Starting with an architect may get you into problems, not because they are troublemakers, but because you may give them the wrong impression of what you can afford to build. As we flesh out this important topic of the critical path for building a new church, there are four areas to consider in the right order.

  1. Development Feasibility Study. This is a study conducted jointly with the fundraising consultant, architect, and contractor and includes three components.If these three components can be accomplished concurrently, you as church leaders can make an intelligent decision along with your financial institution, as to how to proceed with your building project.
    1. Financial Capabilities: The initial purpose of the study is to determine what you can afford to build, and is a detailed assessment of the current giving patterns of the church as compared to other churches similar to yours. If you are prepared to sustain a manageable mortgage which can be paid off with future campaigns, the consultant will take that into consideration when doing the analysis and writing the report. Many banks ask to see this report as a basis for bridge financing.
    2. Needs Assessment: At the same time, your architect will work with you to develop a needs assessment, which is a thorough analysis of your current facility usage, growth patterns, and perceived facility needs in future, along with suggested line drawings.
    3. Cost Estimate: The contractor is often included in this process in order to provide cost estimates of the conceptualized building.
  2. Capital Fundraising Campaign. This phase needs to be conducted prior to completing a building design or putting shovels in the ground in order to determine if the actual funds needed will be available at the appropriate time for construction. It will typically take 4 to 6 months to complete properly, and usually requires the outside help of a fundraising consultant.
  3. Architectural Drawings and Contract Tenders. The architect will want to know how much funding he has to work with before he puts pencil to paper, as he tries to combine your future needs with your financial potential. While he or she will be included in the process from start to finish, allow 4 to 6 months for drawings to be made and approved by you.
  4. Construction. The process of actually completing your new church building, addition, or renovation could take up to a year or more depending on the size and scope of your building project. It is often best to start building within 6 to 12 months of completing your capital fundraising campaign so that people can see that their funds are being used for the purpose given.

Faith Based Fundraising understands every stage of the critical path to building a new church and can help you navigate each one to ensure success and enhance your ministry capabilities.

Image via Flickr: Living OS2