What Can a Construction Process Look Like for a Church?

The church construction process can be divided into 5 phases. The following is one way to divide the process along with the services performed in each phase. Any process you select should enhance the ability of the church to fulfill its calling by aligning the new facilities with the church’s values, mission, vision and strategic planning. There is much you will want to capture in the process to help you maximize the potential of your congregation to fulfill the Great Commission. Aligning the new facility with the church’s ministry design is key. Build what is critical to help you accomplish your mission.

The Discovery Phase

This is the foundational phase in the process. Get this one wrong and it is difficult for the rest of the process to go well. The Discovery Phase takes a close look at the following:

  • The church’s culture. What is the congregation’s core DNA?
  • The church’s community and its culture. Who is the church trying to reach and what are they like?
  • The church’s connectivity to its community. How is the congregation connecting with the community? Are the connections working to reach them?
  • The clarity of the church’s mission and vision. Is the leadership able to clearly communicate these?
  • The health and fitness of your congregation and leadership. Is the church both healthy and fit to take on a construction project?
  • The church’s ministry design. What is generating growth or holding growth it back?
  • The programming for each current ministry along with projections for any ministries you wish to create in the future.
  • The church’s financial bandwidth. How much can the church afford to spend on the construction project? How much should it spend?

The Dream Phase

This is the futuring phase in the process. The Dream Phase brings together the following things to help you move forward by adding the right ministry space.

  • The Long Term Vision for your ministry and campus. What will you do on your campus and what will you not do? Where do you intend to end up when your ministry is fully grown and your campus fully developed?
  • What is next? What should the church build next to help it accomplish its mission? Establishing clear ministry priorities will bring clarity to the next phase in the process. Without it the process will not produce a finished product that will effectively and efficiently serve your ministry for years to come. Churches usually can not afford to build everything they want so they have to pick and choose what to build next. Some one has to answer the hard questions and make the difficult decisions to move the church forward.
  • The church’s strategic plan with the goals, objectives and tactics of each ministry so you can orchestrate each ministry in your church to fit and function on your campus and in your buildings, both existing and new.
  • Don’t forget to match your financial capability to your dreams. Can you afford to build your dreams or is it time for a reality check to bring your wallet in alignment with your wishes? Can you divide your dream into affordable phases so eventually your vision is completed as you build each phase over the years ahead?

The Design Phase

This is the formation phase in the process. This phase brings together the Discovery and Dream phases to produce the following.

  • A master site plan showing all existing and future facilities and ground’s development. It is a road map to show your congregation the mile markers along the way during your journey. Where are you going and how will you get there. As you look at your future what will you build first, second, third and so forth to accomplish the mission and reach your future destination?
  • A floor plan for phase one in the site plan.
  • An elevation of the next phase. What will the outside and inside of the building look like?
  • A presentation model. How will you help the congregation visualize what the new building will look and function?
  • A ministry game plan that shows in detail how your ministries will successfully function in the midst of a messy construction project. Minimize disruptions and distractions during construction.
  • A financial pathway that matches the design to affordability.
  • Release the design team to develop the construction documents once everything is in order.

The Development Phase

This is the building phase in the process. This phase makes the first three phases a reality.

  • Often church leaders, in the midst of the pressure of the first three phases, forget about the spiritual opportunities the construction process brings to the congregation. You may have hundreds of individuals on your campus and interacting with your members that would have never stepped foot on your church grounds or come into contact with you. This is a golden opportunity to reach these special sets of people in  your community. Don’t miss it!!! Plan for it! Pray for it and then look for ways to express your gratitude and appreciation for their hard work. You can show your appreciation and the love of Christ to them by providing a “truck” wash once a week where you vacuum out and wash their vehicles while on your site. You can feed them lunch or simply provide cold bottles of water for them all through the day.
  • It is important that plan well, spend your money wisely and maximize every dollar ear marked for your project but the souls take priority. I mean, isn’t that why your church is there in the first place. What good will it do a church if it gain the whole world but lose the souls entrusted to their care during the process?
  • The construction process is usually sprinkled with bumps and bruises all along the way. There are going to be challenges during the process and certainly during the construction phase. It is just the nature of the beast. Don’t forget God’s purpose for trials and tribulation. James 1:2-12 may be a good passage to revisit all during the process. Just saying.

The Direction Phase

This is the follow through phase.

  • This is where you manage and maintain your facilities and grounds.
  • I believe you should design and build your facilities with the end in sight.
  • Research has shown that around 70% of the overall cost of your facilities for the first 40 years of existence is maintenance.
  • You have to live with the decisions you make in the first four phases…so make informed, wise decisions about the facilities you design and build. It can reduce the financial burden you will experience if you make good choices on the front end of your building program.

If you want to discuss your plans to expand, renovate or relocate your campus please reach out to me by email at [email protected] We offer a number of ways to engage with us to help you navigate the construction waters you will be facing.



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