Guest Post: 5 trends in church facility development and life cycle management

As we look into the horizon of 2012, there are several obvious trends related to our ministry facilities that I think will be true this coming year:

  1. Going Green – This is not longer a fad. Going green is not only environmentally wise, but also fiscally and operationally responsible (you can actually save money). This applies to new facilities and existing ... and it does not mean you have to be a tree hugger!
  2. Smaller is Better – According to Jim Tomberlin, the multi-site guy, the trend is churches that are growing were doing smaller facilities ... but possibly more of them. In fact, he stated that the 800–1200 seat worship center was becoming more the 'norm' for large churches with the initiative of opening satellite campuses or other onsite venues. I think this is not only a trend ... but a really good use of dollars. Churches are also finding a way to do ministry in less space, whether it is owned or rented. This is good stewardship.
  3. Save Operational dollars – How do we reduce our operational expenditures. How can we reduce utility consumption? How can we lower or budget? Can we in-source or outsource and save money? These questions have become very prevalent the past few years, but I believe they will continue as they are the RIGHT questions we should have been asking all along. This also includes the implementation of web based software solutions that can assist churches be more effective and efficient in the planning, care and scheduling of their facilities.
  4. Planning new buildings with a keen awareness of operational costs – Over 71% of the total cost of ownership of our ministry facilities can be attributed to operational cost where only 20% is for 'sticks and bricks'. So, as we plan buildings, churches are going to have to be more cognizant of the future and ongoing operational costs. Those who do this will save significant monies in the future.
  5. New Church Construction will remain sluggish ... and here are the reasons why:
  • Churches will be more intentional and deliberate about any new construction initiative. They will explore other ways of doing ministry before they venture off to build a new building or a new campus.
  • Smaller projects will be the rule instead of the exception. Smaller venues ... smaller additions ... smaller project size and scope ... more renovation and re-purposing of existing spaces ... more up-fits of commercial space and 'big box' retail sites.
  • More will be done to improve the condition of existing facilities. Churches are and will realize the value of their existing campuses and will be more proactive in the care and life cycle management of their current facilities before they embark on a new project.

There you have it: my 5 Trends in Church Facility Development and Life Cycle Management for 2012.

How do you see these? Are there more you would list?


Tim Cool is President and CSO (Chief Solutions Officer) of Cool Solutions Group. He has helped churches maximize their facility planning and investment for most of his professional career.

Topics: This entry was posted in Leadership Roles, This entry was posted in Facilities Management

Posted by Steve Caton on Nov 16, 2011 10:39:12 PM