If you’re like us at Life.Church, you want to be good stewards of the money you’ve been entrusted with.
When it comes to budgeting for a new building, there will always be unanswerable questions—every situation is unique, and every set of resources and limitations affects the decisions you'll make. Over the years, we've developed a set of general principles to guide us through budgeting for new projects.
Proverbs 22:7 says: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” We know that credit and loans can be useful and necessary, but we also want to avoid being enslaved to lenders.
It's not always possible, but paying cash for a building project is biblically encouraged and can be a great testimony to church members and your community. Consider challenging your church to raise funds before you break ground. You never know what gifts and provision God may have in store for you.
Focus on the Mission
When considering if part of your building design is worth the cost, ask yourself, “Does this help us achieve our mission as a church?”
Our mission at Life.Church is “to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ.” Basketball courts and large cafeterias in our buildings aren’t necessary for us to achieve our mission, so we don't include them.
Your mission may be different, and a basketball court or cafeteria may be necessary in your ministry. But remember to stay focused on your core mission when making these decisions.
We're often asked about the exterior look of church buildings. Our goal is to create a building that draws attention, creates excitement, and stays on budget. You want a building that makes people proud to say, “This is my church—come be my guest this weekend!”
Your exterior doesn’t have to be extravagantly expensive. Look for creative ways to make an inviting and cost-effective façade. Also make sure to check on local building ordinances in your area before you lock into a plan for the look of your building.
Remember the Parking Lot
You want plenty of parking. Our rule of thumb at Life.Church is to plan one parking space for every two seats in your auditorium. A 500-person auditorium will need roughly 250 parking spaces.
If your land won't support a massive parking lot, get creative. You may be able to contract with a nearby shopping center or school for overflow parking.
What we've learned:
Balancing style and budget is important when investing in a new building. Stay open-minded and prayerfully consider where Christ is leading your church as you plan for a new building or addition. Keep focused on your mission and goals, and take time to seek counsel from other churches and building experts in your community.