Are you wondering whether your church could use larger facilities? This is a valid question that virtually every church leader asks themselves at some point. Many pastors fear expanding the church building is a misguided decision motivated by pride rather than faith. In many cases, though, a church legitimately needs to expand.
Here’s how to know if your building has a practical need to grow. When your church has some of these issues, it could be time to expand your facilities.
Your Ministry Is Hindered by Lack of Space
Does the church need to turn new members away because it lacks the space for them? Does it struggle to accommodate and welcome in church visitors? Perhaps you’d like to start a new children’s ministry, but you just don’t have the resources to do so. If your church cannot conduct its programming, or struggles to find room for new members, this is a major sign that it could benefit from a bigger building.
You Could Expand Your Ministry with Bigger Facilities
Do you know there is a need or desire for new programming in the community, but your leadership team is holding back due to space constraints? A new building could expand the reach of your ministry.
It can be difficult to determine if a new building is necessary. Be sure to prayerfully consider whether this is something that could truly benefit your church. Discuss the matter with your leadership team, and gauge interest from the community before making the decision.
You Have Safety Issues with the Current Space
There is nothing wrong with an older building that is structurally sound. However, if your current space constantly needs repairs, or has safety issues, a new building could be the best decision for your congregation. Although a new building is a big investment to make, the peace of mind is well worth the cost.
Your Worship Services Are Packed to Maximum Capacity
Look around your church during the worship services. Are people crammed together? Do families have trouble finding enough seats? Are people leaving your church for another? If your current facilities are packed to capacity, then a bigger facility will ensure everyone is comfortable. Keep in mind that you don’t have to fill all the seats to be in need of more space. When your church is consistently at about 80% capacity for worship services, this is a sign it could benefit from expanded facilities.
You’ve Ruled out the Option of Planting a New Church
A church plant can be the perfect solution for overcrowded facilities. Planting a satellite church from your main congregation accomplishes two important goals: it relieves the pressure on your facilities, and expands your ministry in the community. However, if your church does not have the resources, or your leadership team doesn’t feel that establishing a church plant is the right decision at this time, it could be best to expand your facilities instead.
What to Consider Before Expanding
If you feel your church could benefit from a bigger building, here are some things to consider before you begin an expansion project.
Determine Your Budget
Before you start the project, determine how much you can spend, and then firmly stick to this amount. You don’t want to be poor stewards of your resources by going deep into debt. If you determine your church simply doesn’t have the resources to expand right now, then don’t expand. It is better to turn people away than to build beyond your means.
Have Realistic Expectations
Always understand what you are building or buying, and how it fits in with your ministry. There is no such thing as a “perfect” facility. There will always be budget constraints. You must carefully consider how much space you require, and what features you absolutely need or could live without.
Consider Your Seating
An important aspect of a worship service is the type of seating. Consider whether pews, theater seating, or church chairs would be the best option for your needs. Although pews can have the illusion of more space, this is not always the case. Research has shown that pews are not used beyond 80 percent of the manufacturer’s claims, due to Americans’ sense of personal space. Chairs, on the other hand, sit exactly one person each, so you know how many people can fit in the church.
How to Calculate Seating Capacity for Your Church
There are many factors to consider when expanding your church facilities, and this is certainly not a decision to take lightly. As with every decision you make for your church, it should be carefully considered with much prayer and discussion.