Financially fit to build?

By Rodney C. James

Any church that has a God-given vision to advance the Kingdom should be anticipating facility growth in their future, whether expansion, renovation, or new facilities.

The question is not a matter of if, but when.

So, since we will need a facility project of some type in the months or weeks ahead, how do we plan financially?  What can you do today to be prepared to take that step when God leads?

Generally accepted accounting

First, ensure you have a good accounting system in place and functioning properly. Such a system should at the very least accurately tracking donor giving, church income, and church expenditures. Good financial records and financial statements will be a must if the time comes to borrow funds for a project. The better the records reflect a detailed picture of the church’s financial status, better opportunity and more attractive terms will be afforded your ministry from a lender.

The donor tracking data from your accounting system will be invaluable should you engage a capital or generosity campaign consultant to assist you in raising funds for your project as well. The number of donors, the average size of their annual giving, and more can be considered in the formulas to help determine accurate goals and budgetary expectations.  Tracking giving throughout the campaign also ensures that your campaign is on target so you can react quickly should your data show a trend in the giving during the project.

Make a payment to your building fund

The Master’s Plan — Your Partner Podcast helps church leaders understand the “how to” of a new church build, expansion or remodeling of an existing building — issues such as purchasing land, budgeting, choosing the right team members, how to finish project at or under budget, and more. It’s available here.

Even though your project might be months or years in the future, the best way to prepare financially is to begin making a payment to a building fund in preparation. Working a payment from your operating budget into a building fund will set you up for success in multiple ways. First, it provides funds for expenses you will incur prior to beginning the actual project. Due Diligence, preliminary concept designs, renderings, consultants, etc.

The second benefit this provides is that it shows your membership and your lender that you can afford a payment from your current operating budget. If you have been making a payment to your building fund for several months or longer, you prove you will be able to sustain that payment after campaign funds are no longer an extra source of revenue.  This creates a strong case for a lender to provide funding and even more favorable terms.

Being financially fit before you are ready to embark on your next facility improvement project will ensure a much easier start and provide an extra measure of peace through the journey.

A good building partner should be able to assist you far in advance of designing and building with many helpful resources, so you are prepared when the time comes to “Arise and Build.”

Rodney C. James, a former pastor, is president and founder of Master’s Plan Church Design & Construction in Tulsa, Okla.

Additional resources are available at Master’s Plan University




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