Last week I wrote about the five options that I perceived our congregation had in front of us regarding a building. A few people left comments and gave suggestions. Now it is time for me to weigh in with my opinion on the options.
Option 1 is to build the big building that we would like to own. This is appealing because it is exactly the building that will best serve our needs. This option is not feasible at this time because it is too expensive. The Executive Director of our denomination told me that this option is financially not an option to us right now- though it might be in the future.
Option 2 is to do nothing. Our Executive Director also informed me that this option is not an option to us either. It was very clear to him that our facilities do not facilitate our congregation. We need to do something. While we have made these facilities work for us for a period of years, we have not seen any growth. It is likely that our facilities are hindering people from checking out our congregation.
Option 3 is to build an addition to our current chapel. There are several ways that this could be done, but the elders have suggested that the best type of addition would be a multi-purpose room that would initially serve as a sanctuary and would have bathrooms. Our current chapel would be converted to classroom space. This is a very attractive option to me. It is far less expensive than building an entirely new building. It could be built much sooner and would make our current property usable to us. This option could be done in such a way that the addition would not infringe on the site plan for the larger building and parking lot. That means that if God chooses to bring many more people to our church, that we would still be able to build the larger building where we had originally planned to build it. This first addition could later become a fellowship hall, or we could add onto it in the back to make it a gym.
Option 4 is to sell our property, buy a parsonage, and lease a meeting space for the church. This option is unlikely to work from a strictly financial standpoint.
Option 5 is to sell our property, purchase a building as a space for the church to meet, and help the pastor find his own housing. This option is also appealing to me, but I fear that I need to be careful of my motives for liking this option. I have worked out financial scenarios where this option is possible for our congregation. The advantage is that the church gets into a usable and more affordable property, and perhaps is able to do it in a short period of time. The disadvantage to the church is that it would only own a building and not a parsonage. This is where I say that I have to watch my own motives. Parsonages can be very good investments for churches because once the house is paid for, the church only needs to pay utilities and maintenance for that house instead of paying a pastor enough money to rent or buy a home. Some pastors appreciate not having to be responsible for the home in which they live. But many pastors (myself included) enjoy the experience of home ownership and appreciate the security it provides. It seems to me that many churches that already have parsonages tend to keep them, but churches that don't already have them don't bother acquiring them.
The elders of our congregation have had some extended conversation about these options. At this time we recognize the need to continue to reach out to our community and strive to grow our congregation. At the same time, we want to make plans for facilities that actually will serve our congregation. I would say that we are leaning toward eventually adding an addition to our current chapel, but that decision is certainly not finalized. We are currently trying to improve our financial situation so that we can pursue better facilities. Please pray for the church and leaders to have wisdom. Pray for God to provide opportunities and finances. Pray for us to act with wise faith.