By Katie Albrecht
How do you adjust for new growth in your church?
As a leader, you might believe that the more people you accommodate, the more room your facility needs.
However, before you look at building on additional facility space, consider the resources you already have.
Proper stewardship of your environment typically entails careful planning and efficiency of time, cost, and adaptability. Building a new facility doesn’t always allow you that flexibility, and portable room dividers might be a better option.
How much growth are you expecting?
The growth of your church can vary based on location and a variety of other factors. Even though most churches would like to grow their numbers, be realistic about it. Before you construct new space, you should be considering how much capital you can raise from donations and sponsorships. You should also know that your people might not increase their contributions for only a building or structure itself — they have to see value in the community created inside the walls. To get worshippers to rally behind your expansion, they need to believe in your dedication to them and the Lord’s plan.
Even large / megachurches have grown their communities into a few thousand followers for years before constructing a more substantial and permanent facility. Like these bigger congregations, if you have tracked your membership growth and expect the numbers to increase by a large percentage, it might be the time to build. Otherwise, creatively using your current space to fit everyone properly is the better option.
Potential investment savings
When you add space to your facility, it’s no secret that the investment can accumulate quickly. For example, if you have a church following of 2,000 and expect to grow at a rate of 40%, you’d be looking at accommodating roughly 800 new members. According to the chart at right, the expansion cost for that many worshippers falls between $1.61 – $2.83 million. It’s important to note that that cost only applies to expansion while building an entirely new facility would likely double the investment.
After experiencing a significant boom in young family attendance for several years, a Springfield, Mo., church faced a similar dilemma in early 2020. The church originally planned to create an entirely new kids’ wing beginning in 2020 before the pandemic took over. However, once COVID became a crisis, their building plans
naturally took a back seat. After the enforced lockdown and safety protocols were put in place, these church leaders needed a temporary solution of fitting the additional members in their existing space. By purchasing Screenflex portable dividers, they saved nearly $1 million while housing the entire congregation in one spot. The portable partitions maximized the use of the existing space into kids’ classrooms for around 2% of construction costs. That’s good stewardship of space and finances.
Time savings potential
Not only do construction costs add up when creating an entire building, but these projects require a significant time investment too. One factor to consider when constructing from the ground up is that before you or any workers set foot on the property, there is an entire laundry list of tasks to accomplish.
For instance, setting up a new construction site requires proper zoning and countless other legal approvals before you even get started. Then there is drafting and editing the architectural design plans as well. The entire process can be as quick as one year if your construction is reasonably fast, but it takes multiple years to accomplish in general.
As an alternative, portable room dividers can help maximize the use of your existing space in much less time than building a new facility. In general, after working with a Screenflex Portable Room Dividers representative, most orders ship fully assembled within two weeks after the order is placed. Additionally, these reps work hard and efficiently to make sure you purchase the correct product for your needs.
It’s no secret that when the world was shaken up in 2020 from COVID-19, churches had to improvise how they renovate and expand their reach. When it comes to church growth and enrichment, learning to choose between construction or temporary room-dividing ultimately defines good stewardship.
Katie Albrecht is the Content Marketing Coordinator for Screenflex Portable Room Dividers, a leading manufacturer of freestanding, portable partitions.
For a little over a year, Albrecht has been creating and overseeing all of the content for the Screenflex website and social media profiles. Outside of her time at Screenflex, Albrecht is an accomplished author and podcaster on topics of mental health.