Church Building, Expansion, and Relocation Projects:

10 Reasons to Consider Purchasing an Existing Building for Your Church Expansion or Relocation Project

Home | 40-Day Curriculum-Campaigns Bible Insights  Products  Committee Resources  Building Drives

 

10 Reasons to Consider Purchasing an Existing Building for Your Church Expansion or Relocation Project

By Brian Kluth, pastor, generosity speaker, bestselling author of the www.GenerousLife.info, and radio commentator (www.kluth.org)

Website Home Page

Info about Brian Kluth

Resources ON:
> Biblical Insights
>
Preaching & Teaching
>
Quips & Quotes
>
Statistics
>
Humor
>
Stories & Illustrations
>
Cartoons
>
Leadership Planning   > Building Projects
>
40-Day Study
>
Audio Messages
>
PowerPoint Slides
>
Ministry Fundraising    > Hotlinks - Referrals

Resources FOR:
> Pastors
>
Church Leaders
>
Church Committees
>
Individuals
>
Denominations
>
Mags/Media/Websites
>
Parachurch Ministries   > CEO's/Fundraisers

Speaking:
> Brian's Bio
>
Endorsements
>
Speaking Experience
>
Leadership Seminars
>
Financial Messages    > Sunday Sermons
>
Audio & Handouts
>
Denominations
>
Speaking Schedule     > Spkg Request Form

Contact Info:
MAXIMUM Generosity
Brian Kluth
5201 Pinon Valley
Colo Springs, CO 80919
Cell: 719-930-4000   Email: bk@kluth.org               Web: www.kluth.org

Click here to send this webpage to others

When it comes to managing facilities growth in most dynamic churches, many people traditionally think in terms of buying land and building a brand new facility. But in today’s changing world, there are at least ten reasons a church should seriously explore purchasing and renovating an existing building to meet their expansion needs.

1. Available properties. In many major cities, there has been a downturn in the real estate market for retail, office, and commercial properties. Large buildings with tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of square feet are sitting empty across America. Many of these empty properties have attractive exteriors, ample square footage, tall enough ceilings for sanctuaries and gymnasiums, plenty of parking, and are located on a major road. 

2. Affordable costs. Across the country, the price for new construction has been escalating beyond reach for many churches. On the other hand, the price of many existing properties is much for cost effective.  I was part of a growing church plant that purchased a bankrupt racquetball club for $500,000 that was listed for $2.2 million. Another church I know purchased a 50,000-square-foot school with a 600-person auditorium for $600,000. A church in Maryland paid $1 for a closed high school facility that only five years earlier had undergone $10 million in renovations. And in Chicago, a former international corporate headquarters on 80 acres with a 280,000-square-foot building and a 900-car parking garage that was valued at $53 million was given to a church for free! 

3. Quicker occupancy. It normally takes three to seven years to go from purchasing land to having your first worship service in your brand new (already-outgrown) multipurpose facility. The time needed to develop drawings, line up funding, work with city government, put in your infrastructure, and construct the first building will take multiple years and will frequently encounter delays, loss of momentum, senior staff turnover, and cost overruns. Existing facilities, on the other hand, can oftentimes be renovated within 12 months (and sometimes less) from the date of purchase. 

4. Less government hassles. When I was with a growing church plant in Milwaukee, we worked directly with our city government to choose an existing property for our future church home. We scheduled a meeting with the planning department to discuss existing properties and available land that we were interested in pursuing. After they looked over our desired locations, they told us they would fight us on five of the properties we had in mind. But they also told us that if we pursued buying the bankrupt racquetball club they would grease the skids and quickly approve this facility for use as a church. Guess which property we pursued and ultimately occupied with the city’s blessing? 

5. Less neighborhood opposition. If you want to begin a controversy in a community, try to buy a large piece of property and let the neighbors know you are going to build a church that will attract hundreds or thousands of people that will clog the roads and take up the land where they like to take their dogs for a walk! Across America today communities are rising up against new super-sized buildings, whether they be WalMarts, corporations, or churches. I know of a California church that had a multi-year battle with the city and neighbors and ultimately were only allowed to build on 25 acres of the 126 acres they had purchased. When you purchase an existing property, the building is already a regular part of the community’s landscape.

6. Ready-made parking lots. One of the greatest needs for growing churches is ample parking. Existing big box facilities or commercial buildings often have hundreds of parking spaces on their existing property. In many cases, there is additional parking at nearby businesses that can be used with special permission since these businesses often don’t need parking spaces on weekends.

7. High visibility location. In real estate, the motto is “location, location, location.” Many of these large facilities are sitting in prime locations with high visibility. When your church moves to one of these locations it becomes highly visible to the whole community. I know of one church that purchased an empty big box sporting goods store in a prime location. Within a year their attendance jumped from 1200 people to over 3000. A church in Florida purchased over 400,000 square feet of retail and commercial property that included a mall, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and restaurants, and turned it into a seven-day-a-week ministry and economic center in their community.  And Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston purchased a former NBA basketball arena for their church.

8. Keep your growth momentum going. Nothing will kill the growth of a church quicker than running out of facility or parking space. If church leaders do not strategically address the need for expanded space in a timely fashion, momentum can be lost forever as the church bogs down in inadequate facilities. By seriously researching all available existing buildings within a one- to five-mile radius (or satellite worship venues further away) you may find a God-given solution for your expansion needs.

9. Easier design decisions. When you start your design process with a piece of paper and empty acres of land that will be occupied in three to seven years, design decisions are difficult. But when you have a building you are going to occupy within the next 12 months, design decisions flow more quickly because you are concentrating on the best use of the specific space you have available. I heard of one church that purchased a Chucky Cheese Pizza restaurant. Guess what? They didn’t have to debate where the stage or the kitchen or the children’s play area would be. All they had to do was concentrate on the fix-up, painting, carpet/chair color, and deciding what to do with the life size mice and animals that were on the stage!

10. Easier to sell the vision and raise the funds. No matter how hard you try, some people will never be able to “see” what the church will look like if you stand them out in the middle of a cornfield on the edge of town. But when you can have them drive up to the existing building and let them walk around, they quickly and easily catch the vision and see the value of what their gifts and pledges will help accomplish. In Texas, a church purchased a beautiful newly-built Cadillac car dealership that went bankrupt. The congregation was blown away when they could walk in and see this beautiful new facility that was available to them at a fraction of what it cost to build.

I trust this article helped “stretch your thinking and stretch your faith.” I have opportunities to travel and preach around the country, and whenever I visit a city, I look for large commercial facilities that are sitting empty so I can pray that God will use some of these facilities for His divine purpose. Proverbs 13:22 says the “wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” I personally believe there are companies that have built wonderful facilities in prime locations that are now sitting empty because God has destined these facilities to be used by community-shaping and life-impacting churches. Maybe one of the buildings I have prayed for will be the God-given building for your needed expansion plans.

FOLLOW UP ACTION ITEMS:

In your community, research the following for-sale or rental properties: Grade schools, Middle schools, High schools, Movie theaters, Large restaurants, Shopping malls, Big box stores, Corporate offices, Manufacturing plants, Car dealerships.

4 Top Things Needed for an Ideal Property: (1) Highly visible and accessible location, (2) Ceilings of 18’ or higher for sanctuary and/or gym space, (3) Hundreds of existing, potential or surrounding parking spaces, (4) Sale price that is 25-90% below what it  would cost to build today

About the author: Brian Kluth is a Senior Pastor in Colorado Springs. He is the author of 40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life, a Bible devotional booklet (www.GenerousLife.info) that hundreds of churches have used to inspire generosity and increased giving (oftentimes for building campaigns). He is also the founder of www.MAXIMUMgenerosity.org and has a free e-newsletter on church giving that goes to over 18,000 pastors and leaders.

    

 

 "MAXIMUM Generosity" -  21st Century Biblical Generosity Resources and Training ( www.kluth.org )

Home

Biblical Insights for Preaching & Teaching

 Quips, Quotes, Statistics & Stories

 Leadership Helps  

 Building Fund Projects

Financial Counseling

 Products & Copyright Reprints

Audio Messages

Speaking Ministry

BIBLICAL GENEROSITY RESOURCES FOR: Pastors   Denominations  Church Ldrs  Individuals  Fundraisers   Mags/Webs/Media

(c)Copyrighted.  For permission to reprint Brian Kluth's matl for personal, committee, church or ministry use, click here or call 719-930-4000

Hit Counter