Several weeks ago, we responded to the question, “Is now a good time for churches to build?” by discussing forecasts for construction pricing. But the answer to that question is not about money, it is about ministry priorities.
A church in northern Virginia, for whom we recently completed contract documents for a new children’s ministry building, delayed start of construction for at least six months. Initially this pause was driven by the need to postpone their capital campaign, connected to uncertainty about regular giving. However, church leadership came to realize focusing their energy on making disciples was their number one priority at this time.
Another client put the design of their sizeable addition on hold pre-COVID. When the pandemic hit, we inquired about the status of the project, assuming the crisis would result in further delays. But in talking with the pastor and trustees, we learned that giving has remained strong even though they were not holding services. This steady giving, along with very conservative financial management, has put them in a position to address a different facility-related issue caused by COVID 19. The church had been using nearby public school for their middle-school ministry. Recognizing that when everything re-opens, the school will likely not be available, the church is now considering a different building project that will accommodate ministries displaced from the public-school facility.
In all, most churches we are in conversation with have seen some reduction in giving, but not to the degree that it threatens viability. All are asking, “What does it mean to be the Church during this time?” For all of them this means finding creative ways to encourage, teach, minister, whether meeting virtually or at reduced capacity.
The answer we most often hear to the question, “Should we keep going with our project?” is, “Not now, we’re too busy being the Church!” That, indeed, is Good News.
Randy Seitz, AIA
Chief Executive Officer