How to Present Site Plans to Your Church

Anderson Mill Road Baptist Church, otherwise known as “The Mill“, is a large church located on the westside of Spartanburg, SC. This church started in a home in the 70’s, grew into rented a space in a strip-mall, grew and built a small church building, grew and then built a much larger Sanctuary and Family Life Center and currently is in midst of another expansion.

They launched into a Capital Visioning Project back in April 2016. After over a year of work, on Sunday, June 4th 2017, they presented proposed site plans to their people. They did such a superb job of it, I wanted to share it with you.

I’ve included a link to the full video at the end of the post.

As a note, I’m not a member of this church. I have family who are, and I’ve attended on several occasions.

If you want to know how to present your Site Plans to your church – Read the post and then check out the video.

 Notable Highlights and Takeaways of the Service:

#1. In spite of having a rather lengthy presentation prepared, the Pastor still took the time (15 minutes) to bring the Word. It was based upon Acts 9:31.

Takeaways

Don’t forget the Word. Shorten the presentation if you must. I do know they shortened the musical worship portion of their service to accommodate on this particular day.

Don’t relegate to a Sunday evening as there are way more present on Sunday mornings.

Pastors can be brief if they wanna be. (smile)

#2. Pastor connected the scripture into their church’s journey. The sermon was entitled simply “US in a Verse”. He took that one verse and explained 5 characteristics of a church that God is blessing.

Takeaway – Always tie what God says in His Word to where your church is currently and is striving to become.

#3. Pastor took a few moments to explain why the church tracked numbers and the role that numbers play.

TakeawayTake the time to explain why you use numbers. People sometimes think the church is only about numbers. It’s not. It’s about Jesus and Him changing and growing people. Behind every number is a soul. It’s about being good stewards and planners as well. It was a good reminder, particularly for guests.

#4. The bulk of the presentations were given by Lay Leadership. As part of Pastor’s introduction, he said he surrounded himself with others that were smarter than he was for this project.

Pastor then introduced the Chair of the Building Team. (17 minute mark) The Chair person began by introducing the Building Team members via a brief video presentation. This was really good because I’m sure there were a lot of people who did not know who was on the Building Committee. They got to see each team member’s viewpoint and what the building committee went through to get to where they could present a proposed site plan. Other than different ages being represented on the building team, what stood out to me was the interior designer on the team. (good call).

Takeaways

Involve your lay leaders. Empower them to make recommendations and decisions. Make sure your church knows who is on the building team. You’ll note that the team took recommendations from the church during the process. Give your people a voice in the design.

Aesthetics are important. Ask any real estate agent. Ask any woman. Look at the huge popularity of shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers.

Always surround yourself with those who are smarter than you. It’s a great leadership principle, don’t be afraid to do so. You’ll go much further, much quicker. There are others gifted differently with expertise the Pastor needs. It’s also a great guard against pride.

#5. Pastor worked in tandem with the lay leadership in guiding the conversation to the audience.

Pastor asked 4 basic questions and let others address.

1. How did we arrive to where we are?

2. What are we going to build and what’s it going to look like?

3. How much will it cost and how will it be paid for?

4. What do we do now?

A. Question 1: How did we arrive to where we are?

Plans were discussed, history was reviewed. Schematics were shown with different areas highlighted as to the new building and how it fit into the master site plan.

Emphasis was given to Children’s areas and Sr Adults.

TakeawayChildren are the future. Honor your Senior Adults.

B. Question 2: What are we going to build and what’s it going to look like?

A virtual tour of the project was given. (34 minute mark) This was really revealing and brought the proposed project to life.

TakeawayPeople can’t see it until they see it. People understand and visualize much better when they can see it.

C. Question 3: How much will it cost and how will it be paid for?

The original cost based upon specifications given to the Architect was shown. (47 minute mark) The Building Team Chair walked the church thru how they addressed cost reductions as well as explained what the non-negotiables were. They reduced the cost by nearly 22%.

A financial presentation was given by the Executive Pastor (XP) and the Treasurer of the Finance Committee. Note, the congregation wasn’t inundated with numbers. (Go figure). Trust me, they could have.

To answer the question of how the church would pay for it, the XP showed a simple chart of how the cost compared to previous construction costs as a ratio to the church budget at the time of each construction. Even though this project was the most expensive to date, as a ratio of budget, it was significantly lower than the last project. The XP then simply demonstrated in chart form their past ability to service debt. He spoke to process of choosing a lender as well.

The Treasurer (elected position) spoke to her role on the finance committee, which was to hold the staff accountable to be good stewards.

Takeaways

Due diligence must take place, it’s part of good stewardship. It helps to build trust with the congregation to know the leadership is taking proper care of donated funds.

Don’t overwhelm with numerous charts and numbers. Briefly get across that due diligence and analysis, prayer and oversight took place.

Should you have someone elected by the congregation on the finance team, have them take part in the finance presentation.

D. Question 4: What do we do now?

Pastor took them back to the vision launch of the project. (55 minute mark) Pastor said the leadership did not even set a $ goal. (Never heard of that before, I think that might be a sin). All he asked the church to do was to commit to give. Pledges made were $5.4 Million over 3 years. 22% of the way in, they had received 39% of the funds pledged. He acknowledged the amounts received so far included some large donations and some were giving that didn’t make a pledge. BTW, they did their own capital campaign.

Takeaways

You don’t always have to do an external Capital Campaign. [wrote about that here] You don’t always have to set a goal. Let your people set the goal. That way, there’s no let down if they didn’t meet YOUR goal.

A lot of people these days won’t make a written commitment, but will give. Just celebrate the commitments people make and the gifts they give.

Church and Financial leaders give first. Let them lead the way.

It ended with the Pastor challenging the church on how they would pay for it – by being good stewards.

#6. Next Steps

Pastor extended four opportunities to come back for a “town hall” type meeting before the next Sunday. The Pastor, Architect, Building Team and Finance Team would be present in each one to answer questions.

Pastor announced that the church would vote on the proposed building plans the following Sunday at the close of each service.

Pending outcome of the vote, Pastor announced the groundbreaking date.

The Pastor ended with a Giving Challenge. Simply to give over and above on a sacrificial basis.

Takeaways

Always close with next steps

Give people plenty of time to think and pray about what they had seen and heard. In other words, don’t pressure to vote immediately

Always go back to vision

Commit to be accountable, good stewards

Challenge those on the sidelines to get involved

It’s not about equal gifts, but equal sacrifice

In closing:

At the close of each morning service, the church gave a booklet to each family that covered everything in the service in written form. Wise. (A Commitment Card was included as well).

Based upon the “Forgetting Curve” research that shows that within one hour, people will have forgotten an average of 50 percent of the information you presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70 percent of new information, and within a week, forgetting claims an average of 90 percent of it.

BTW, the result of the vote on Sunday, June 11th was nearly unanimous – 99% in favor.

Here’s the link to the video. Since this video was part of their live stream, they kick it off with a 1:20 intro.

Enjoy.

2 Comments


  1. Robert, thank you for writing this article regarding The Mill and how we presented the site plans for our new worship center. I appreciate the observations and takeaways you made; this will serve as a great recap for us as we continue to critique our processes.

    As you mentioned, the effort to drive a successful building campaign requires input and partnership from our lay leaders and key volunteers in the church. We have been blessed to have active participants from the congregation to aid us in this journey.

    I hope you will stay in touch as we continue through the building process of our new worship center. We pray God will lead us and continue to provide wisdom and discernment as we move forward.

    Thanks again.
    Ken Fisher
    Executive Pastor – The Mill

    Reply

    1. Ken, thank you for taking the time to read this post and for your kind comment. I really do appreciate it.

      I will continue to pray that God will provide you and your team with wisdom and discernment needed for the journey ahead.

      I’m here to serve, so give me a shout if you ever have a need.

      God bless you and your ministry brother.

      Robert

      Reply

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