How to Build Your Ministry Space without Hurting your Ministry

  • -The overwhelming majority of churches fail to get adequate funding for their building project.
  • -Over 50% of churches in theU.S.that start a building project never get past the design stage.
  • -Over 70% of projects that go on to construction fail to be completed on time and within budget.
  • -The average tenure of a pastor after a significant building project is only 22 months.
  • -More than 20% of pastors end up leaving the church due to a difficult construction project.

As you can see, the track record is not good when growing churches try to get the space they need to accommodate the growth. They work hard to hire the right people to help them design and build a new facility or to find an appropriate existing space only to experience disappointment and failure. Why do such a high percentage of projects fail? How is it possible to go through a thorough process of carefully choosing a great team and yet still fail to get the needed ministry space?

The church does not realize that the typical financial, design or construction professional, even those that specialize in church projects, are simply not qualified to help the church through a disciplined process that would ensure project success. These professionals can only work with the information and direction given by the church and, if the church has not done an adequate job of establishing project parameters, the work of these professionals will probably result in significant project difficulties or outright failure.

The church must take responsibility for developing project parameters that reflect their vision and strategy for ministry, the facilities that are needed to carry out this ministry and a realistic assessment of the resources that are available to do the project. If the church fails to do an adequate job of establishing these parameters and then using these parameters to keep the team accountable and on track, they will likely become another one of the statistics quoted earlier.

The following is an overview of a proven process, developed by The Trinity Group, that the church can follow to ensure the successful development of the ministry space that they need. This process has been used on a variety of projects and a variety of churches with very consistent and positive results. If the church has the qualified people within the body to carry out these steps, additional information and/or training is available. If the church does not have the qualified people necessary, additional help is available to ensure that the church successfully plans, funds, designs and builds the needed space.

Navigate each of these steps of the process in order to ensurea successful project.


1. Vision clarification and translation into specific activities and purposes for the future.

   Utilize a strategic outsider to facilitate, challenge and help build consensus.

2. Facility/site assessment, including a thorough codes, infrastructure and needs analysis.

   Utilize professional(s) with experience and expertise in facility and site assessment.

3. Resource evaluation and determination of financing and capital campaign potential.

   Utilize industry professionals to get accurate assessment and realistic expectations.


4. Strategy development for progressive realization of the clarified and translated vision.

   Determine if leadership can develop clear strategy or if strategic outsider is needed.

5. Facilities design and master planning based upon the strategy and projected resources.

   Utilize professional with experience and expertise in holistic strategic master planning.

   Hire design professionals that fit strategy, needs and personality of organization.

6. Financial package compilation including financing, capital campaign and project budget.

   Utilize professional with experience and expertise in securing financing for projects.

   Hire Capital Campaign Consultant that fits strategy and personality of organization.

   Utilize design documents to qualify potential builders and develop project budget.


7. Implement ministry strategy and begin life-long process of innovation and effectiveness.

   Determine if professional is needed to help navigate the implementation process.

8. Design and build facility through cooperation of church, architect, engineers and builder.

   Determine if professional is needed to help navigate design and construction process.

   Utilize contractual agreements that ensure cooperation of design & construction teams.

9. Manage resources through financing, campaign execution and project accountability.

   Utilize professionals to maximize funding and minimize project issues and costs.

If the church has the personnel with the experience and expertise to successfully carry out these steps, there is no need to bring in any additional help. If the church needs help with any or all of the steps, a company like The Trinity Group can provide the help that is needed at the level that is needed to ensure the most cost effective process possible. The following are the levels of service that can be provided by The Trinity Group: 

Project Execution Services:

Trainer – To equip the church’s building team to successfully navigate the process:

Training Sessions – preparation and kick-off of Discover, Plan and Act Phases

                     Resource Manual – process guidelines, timelines, checklists and related forms      

                     Ongoing Support – help in addressing issues that arise during process


Navigator – In addition to training, resources and support provided by Trainer:

Weekly Review – follow up on individual team member responsibilities

                          Monthly Meetings – project budget, schedule & quality issues overview

                          Project Navigation – process/project execution tracking and reporting


Manager – In addition to the services provided by the Trainer and Navigator roles:

Church Advocacy – insuring that the church’s best interest is being served

                        Project Accountability – team direction and performance accountability

                        Resource Management – alignment of cash, loan and campaign with costs


Turn-key – In addition to the services provided by the Trainer, Navigator and Manager:

Complete Team – provision of expert financial, design and construction teams

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