Finding a suitable property or space to plant a church can be difficult. Physically, there are several limitations including property size, accessibility, buildings, topography, and more. Cities and municipalities also impose restrictions on the use of a property through zoning, Official Community Plan (OCP), and Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP) designations.
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When planting a church, it is important to find what church style works with your budget, location, and demographics.
When attending the 2019 ARC Conference, a simplified guideline for planting a church was given:
1. Sit down
2. Estimate the cost:
1. Resources (finances, time, people, etc.)
3. Consider the costs
4. Understand the odds
5. Don’t lose what makes you stand out
6. Use your ears
Note: The denomination and guidelines of the church often have impacts on the options below.
To help figure out which church style works best for you, I have compiled a list of 5 common church residing options below:
1. Resale of Previous Church or Chapel
The resale of a church or chapel building from one church organization to another is the most common method for buying and selling a church building. In order to determine whether this is the best method for selling your church read For Sellers. This is a common practice as organizations often prefer to maintain the building for worship rather than a different use. This can often provide the buyer with a discount from the market value of the property. The building is often in "turn-key" condition and is ready for use.
2. Build A Church
Building a church is often the most appealing option to new or moving organizations. This allows the church to personalize and custom design the building to their liking. This, of course, comes at a premium. Finding suitable land to build a church can be quite difficult. In addition, the duration of the permit, engineering, and building process is lengthy. This option, however, does remain reasonable and common.
3. Commercial Space
Commercial (retail, office, industrial) space has become an increasingly practical option for churches in recent years due to the cheaper price point and flexibility. Commercial spaces can be found on endless street corners and strip malls plazas throughout the world. The large supply and often-flexibility of these strata units allow for a minimalistic style church at a cheaper price. In addition, it is more common to find zoning in some municipalities which accommodates church gatherings in Multiple Unit Buildings (MUB) than elsewhere in the city. The spaces also have the option of a primary or secondary use when not in service.
4. Partner With A School or Business With Large Space
Churches which operate without their own designated building is becoming increasingly popular. This is a result of lack of supply and increased pricing. Ideal businesses are those with mostly vacant spaces that are not in use at the desired times of services. There are several potential businesses to consider partnering with:
- Schools and institutional facilities
5. Repurposing Recreational Building
The option to repurpose an existing building is the least common method to reside a church. This option is mainly used when a unique property is found already matching some of the necessities for a church. Often someone will already own a property and once decided to plant a church, the already owned property is used. The desired style and design of the church also plays a factor in the choice of this option.
While other options do exist, these 5 points cover the major options when planting a church building. Most churches today begin a plant in a leased or rented space. This is a much more affordable option while still being able to have a space to gather. Moving between one point and another in this list is often quite practical with enough notice.
If you have any questions regarding starting, growing, or taking the next step in your church plant, I would love to Connect with you!