Your church or religious congregation is quickly expanding and growing out of your current space. While this is an exciting time, church construction projects can be stressful for all of those involved…but they don’t have to be. Unless you have experience in church construction from within the congregation, you’re likely to overlook a few details. These overlooked issues can become problematic for church life and your membership down the road.  In this piece, we’re going to look at five details to consider before and during church construction for your congregation.

1. Remember to include your congregation in the church construction process.

Church construction is not something that just happens to a community — it’s something they do. Even though many of us speak about “going to church” like we’re visiting the store, it’s important to remember that the church building is just the structure. The church is actually the people within the structure. When building a new spiritual home for your church, it’s important to listen to their input. Welcome suggestions and listen to concerns. During the construction process, involve congregants as much as is feasible or legal. Let them feel that they helped in the church construction process.

2. Remember that not all fellowship happens in the sanctuary.

Even though worship and prayer is a huge reason why a church is built, the fellowship is also a very large piece of church life. The sanctuary of a church is often the focal point of many church construction projects, but don’t forget to consider where everyone will fellowship with one another. Keep in mind that before and after services, a large number of the congregants will be gathered in lobbies and narthexes to catch up. These spaces should be fairly spacious with room for some seating options. An ample lobby will also keep entrances and exits from feeling too crowded after services.

3. Remember the needs of growing families in your church construction.

When designing your new church, keep in mind that younger families have specific needs. Some spots that many overlook can be places for mothers to nurse or changing stations in both the women’s and men’s restrooms. Plan to have a nursing space for young mothers and their babies. Never assume that a mother will feel comfortable nursing in a restroom. When designing a specialized room or space where mothers can nurse, consider including a way for them to remain engaged with the service whether by having the audio transmitted to a small speaker in the nursing room or including one-way glass to the sanctuary. And while it is common to install changing stations in the women’s restrooms, remember also have changing stations in the men’s rooms.

4. Remember the potential for continued growth during your church construction.

You’ve been through a growth period at least once — why else would you be interested in church construction? Well, this can easily happen once again! It’s important at this stage in your community’s development to consider what options you could take if your congregation continued to grow. Is there ample land or space available around the church building to expand? It may seem premature to consider these bittersweet instances, but keeping them in mind before you build may change how you approach your upcoming church construction project.

5. Remember to choose a construction company with a proven track record in church construction.

A church building is a huge investment usually funded straight from the hearts of the community member’s pocketbooks. In order to avoid headaches related to the construction and continued function of the building going forward, it’s important to choose a company that has a long, proven history in church construction. Not only are church buildings quite unique, but communicating with representatives of the congregation is much different than talking with heads of business. In order to check all of these boxes, let Cowen Construction take care of all of your church construction needs.