A Debt-Free Church Building
By Paul A. Murray
I have heard pastors give all kinds of reasons to justify going into debt to build a church building. As I work with churches on building infrastructure and reviewing finances, the one thing I see is how churches say they want to reach out to their communities, yet budget very little if any for outreach efforts. I notice the more debt a church has, the less financial freedom for ministry it has. What would happen if churches built, but built debt-free? What if all efforts where redirected to ministry? Many churches that asked me to help raise money needed to first focus on people, then become debt-free, and finally learn to creatively use their current buildings.
The focus must be to invest in ministry and outreach before a new building is considered. A facility and financial plan outlines how a church can get out of debt, be positioned to go after funding through grants, and build a structure. While plans must be tailored to each church’s specific needs, the same basic steps will work for most growing churches.
Phase 1 Fully utilize your present facility
* Replace pews with chairs. By replacing pews with chairs, a church could make their largest single space useful for ministry seven days a week.
* Move classes to the right size rooms.
* Add additional service time(s).
Phase 2 Remodel
Churches can often increase usable space by taking a wall out or by installing a folding wall across part of a foyer or hallway.
Phase 3 Add on to make facility more useful.
For a growing church to get out of debt, it must make multiple use of all its space.
Phase 4 Build new building
After completing the three phases, you would be fully utilizing your building, so the next step -would be to build
Thee second part of the master plan is the financial plan.
Step 1 Start with the least expensive changes
Step 2 Increase giving by introducing a capital campaign
why? To get the church out of debt as quickly as possible without sacrificing spending on ministry and outreach}
Step 3 Set money aside
Once the debt is paid, set aside money monthly with the goal of paying cash for at least half of the next major building project.
Step 4 Continue to set aside the same percentage of income for building
By setting aside a percentage cif income rather than a specific amount, the amount will increase as the church grows and giving increases.
Step 5 Build the next building for cash!
There is nothing complicated here. What makes this initiative successful is instilling a passion for ministry and a willingness to wholeheartedly support o teat egy that will keep the church focused on people rather than buildings. By doing this, your church will be debt-free and growth conscious at the same time,
This article “A Debt-Free Church Building” written by Paul A. Murray is excerpted from ________.
This article “A Debt-Free Church Building” written by Paul A. Murray is excerpted from Apostolic Witness Magazine the November 2007 edition.