Church Design & Pre-Design Consulting

Church Design Consulting. What to do before you call a church architect

A church design consultant provides invaluable input and guidance in the earliest stage of a church building program. It is in the pre-design stage when strategic and financial mistakes are most easily avoided, and at the lowest possible cost.

Understanding your actual needs, based on your ministry plan in concert with understanding your financial ability to build is the first in the typical 11-step process for building a church.

Save Time – Reduce Risk – Avoid Mistakes

We offer a wide variety of coaching and consulting services all related to planning, designing, financing, and building your church. We feel we are unique both in the scope and synergy of services offered and the method in which we provide those services.  While we offer both services, often as a single engagement, there is a subtle but important difference between pre-design consulting, and church design consulting.

Church Pre-Design Consulting

Churches that are hoping or planning to build often make the faulty assumption that the first thing they should do is hire an architect or even a builder.  In the decade plus of ministering to churches, I have heard hundreds of horror stories that clearly show that more often than not, this is NOT the first step in church design! On average 4 out of 5 churches that begin the church design process this way end up paying for plans they cannot afford to build.

There is great VALUE in a qualified and objective opinion from someone not trying to sell you architectural or construction services.

Our God is a God of order.  You will find that your building program will go much smoother, probably cost considerably less, and have a better overall outcome if you follow this simple rule, “Do the first things first, and the second things second.”

Before your church has even the first conversations with a builder or an architect (especially those that do not specialize in church design), it must know that it knows the answer to these (and other) questions:

  1. What is the long-term vision for our church facilities?
  2. Do we really need to build, and if so, why?
  3. What do we need to build, and why is that the right thing?
  4. What can we afford to build, and how will we pay for it?
  5. Will our land support the vision?
  6. If our vision is bigger than our budget, what do we do?

ONLY after objectively asking and answering these through a church needs and feasibility study, is the church ready to talk to a church architect or builder and begin the process of church design and construction.  Asking and answering these questions is the goal of the pre-design engagement.  A church building or church design consultant will lead your church in this process in an objective and experienced manner.

If the church is found to be financially ready to entertain building, the pre-design consulting can be expanded or combined with church design as the next logical step.  For many churches, these two services are combined into one.  However, if there is a question as to the feasibility of the project, the church may elect to do this in two steps.

A needs and feasibility study is the critical first step for any church looking to build in what we refer to as the WISE BUILD process.  If you don’t know the 11 basic steps of a church building program, follow the link to our sister site, Church Building Services to learn more about the total process.

Church Design Consulting

The outcome of the pre-design phase is to understand the needs that must be met in the building program, the wants it should hopefully address, and a project budget that it must stay within.  With this information in hand, the consultant can determine the space plan that will meet the needs within the budget of the church.  It may be that the church can reasonably afford a 25,000 square foot facility.  The church design consultant can then assist the church in a space plan to meet the needs of the ministry.  The outcome of this church design engagement is to provide a budget and space requirements definition that may be submitted to a church architect.

A consulting engagement early in the process of preparing to build will help you determine your readiness and ability to build.  
This engagement will prepare you for the next steps of capital fundraising and church design.

In Conclusion

You can know that you know what you need, why you need it, what you can afford, and how to pay for it. A coaching or consulting engagement is a great way to develop consensus and support in the congregation. And when we say support, we mean emotional, intellectual and financial support!

A church design consulting engagement will prevent mistakes that are expensive in terms of:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Emotional Support
  4. Congregational Unity
  5. Wear and Tear on Pastors and Leaders

For More Information

Contact us today to learn how all of this might apply in your unique circumstance.