“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household?'” (Luke 12:41)
Once again, “Insights into Religion” provides a plethora of useful information and tools for exercising good stewardship of what has been entrusted to us.
A facility assessment is a perfect way to develop a “big picture” understanding of your building’s current state. A good general contractor with experience in church building renovation and construction can help your parish conduct a needs assessment that identifies what immediate repairs need to be made, and develop an ongoing plan for repair and maintenance. Such an assessment can also help you discover any latent problems, such as the discovery by one parish, that a 10-year-old classroom addition had been poorly done, resulting in accumulating water damage. The Center for Congregations offers a number of guides relating to assessing and improving your sacred space.
Your congregation can particularly benefit from an energy audit. Not only does it have the potential to identify ways that your congregation is wasting money, but it can help you learn how to improve your stewardship and reduce your congregation’s carbon footprint. An energy audit can also provide a good example for members and improve your image in your community.
Conducting a study of your facility’s structural needs and energy consumption patterns can be leveraged into a larger exploration of your current and anticipated facility needs. As your parish membership ages and as the baby boomer generation passes the 60-year-old threshold, issues of accessibility will become increasingly important. The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship explores worship accessibility and the steps to making your building more accessible to people with disabilities.
Because congregational vitality is strongly linked to the presence of children and youth, consider improving and updating your children’s and youth spaces as part of your building plan. The Center for Congregations provides more on the benefits of making your church youth a priority in your congregation. The center also offers lists of resources covering planning, design, funding and maintaining of faith community buildings.
Helpful Resources And Checklists
Renovation of sacred space requires paying attention to the message delivered in the architecture and appointments of your facility. Read the “Ten Things You Need to Know about Sacred Space Projects,” culled from the extensive experience of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations’ years of helping local churches on issues related to their buildings.
For more on meeting the needs of older adults, read this account of a pastor who asked what her older members needed, and what came of it, from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
Also, be sure to explore the range of articles and links in Insights Into Religion’s Building & Grounds section.
For more on teens and young adults – how they see the world, the role of faith in their lives and what attracts and keeps young people in church – explore the articles and resources in our Youth Research section.