September 20, 2010 Tony Morgan

10 Things Every Church Should Know About Expansion

Over the last 40 years, my friends and strategic partners at Cogun have partnered with hundreds of churches and ministries. They’re a pretty knowledgable bunch when it comes to church expansion. With that in mind, I invited them to share with me some key considerations every church should know about expansion. Here’s the list they offered:

  1. Clarity is king. Know who you are, who you’re called to reach, and then over-communicate it. This is the rudder that will allow you to end up with the right expansion when it’s done.
  2. Expansion options abound. Additional services, multi-site campuses, church mergers and building expansion/relocation are all great possibilities.
  3. Understand the budget. When you build new facilities, the building itself is only part of the total cost. Non-building costs can add up to 20 to 40 percent of your total costs.
  4. Choose partners wisely. Look for people who have done what you want to do, and choose individuals who you would be proud to have on your staff for a few years.
  5. Start your financing plan now. Cash flow is the new benchmark for lending institutions, so begin increasing your monthly surplus immediately. Cash has been king; cash flow is now the emperor.
  6. Remember to staff adequately. A new expansion project will require additional staff and/or training when it’s complete. Think through the learning curve on new building and technical equipment.
  7. Prepare your congregation. Give mental pictures of the new space and cast vision of the changed lives that will result. Always tie it back to who you are and who you’re called to reach (see #1).
  8. Don’t always hire the expert. Choose people with vision first and technical expertise second. Your team should focus on how vision is translating.
  9. Observe, don’t emulate. See what others have done, but realize it’s based on their vision and may be outdated already. Look for the transferrable principles that relate to your church.
  10. If you’re growing, start planning now. Develop interim growth options and start planning the new facility now. It will likely be two to three years until you occupy a new building so keep your momentum going.

Cogun acts as a liaison between churches and independent architectural firms to consult churches on the best building and expansion projects. Beginning in the drafting and budgeting phase through post-construction, a team of professionals manages the project along with church leadership.

If you’re interested in learning more about their consulting process, I’d love to connect you with their team. Shoot me an email, and I’ll make sure someone at Cogun keeps the conversation rolling.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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