Church Building Myths

We recently finished construction on a 13,000 square foot tilt up building as our new home. It’s small, but it does the job (for now). I’ve been at a “church in a box” for over 10 years now, and have been looking forward to someday being in a building. Everyone always says things like, oh it will be so awesome to have a building, and if we only had a building, well – I’m here to say that even though it’s an INCREDIBLE blessing – there are some myths to debunk.

Myth #1 – “You won’t have to get up so early on Sunday mornings to setup”

False! I’ve been going to setup for the past 10 years anywhere from 5:am – 7:00am, and our first services were usually at 9:00am. Well, we are still getting there at 6:00am and working just as hard to prepare for our first service, which is at 8:00am now. And it still seems like there’s not enough time!

Myth #2 – “You won’t have to stay as long after to tear down”

False! I’ve been at church consistently until about 2:00pm every Sunday, before it was tearing down, now it’s cleaning up, putting things away, talking with people, locking doors, turning off lights, kicking people out, taking down signs, etc.

Myth #3 – “It will be so nice to just leave everything up!”

False! What exactly can be left up depends on what you want to still be there when you come back. OK, I’ll give you the screens, lights, stage, and tech gear – but even that’s a crap-shoot. We pretty much strike the stage every week. And you never know what you’ll find when you come back. Decorations, chairs gone, or rearranged, sound system tweaked (we’re working on that one – that won’t happen again), remnants of parties, tea’s, youth group, etc. You definitely don’t have that with setup and teardown.

Myth #4 – “We’ll be able to try new things all the time!”

False! (so far)… Right now we are just barely getting things to work right – we can’t even think about trying new ideas. I know it’s sad. Before it was like, OK this weekend let’s do this idea or that, and we’d just make it happen. Now things are a little different. We are focusing more on making a home than creating a space each weekend. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad yet.

Myth #5 – “We can set it and forget it!”

False! Whoever came up with that is a complete idiot. That’s NEVER going to be tru, anywhere, I don’t care what you do. Something always changes, something always fails, someone always forgets something.

Myth #6 – “Attendance will immediately double or even triple!”

False! Maybe if you build your church on a freeway offramp with the road dead ending right into your parking lot! Now we’ve seen a good strong crowd each weekend, but as of yet (5 weeks), we’ve not seen a doubling or tripling in attendance. We have done a fair share of advertising as well: 60,000 mailers to the community, 4 giant 4×8 foot signs on the main highway by our church, 2500 phone calls from an automated system, 2500 “We’ve Moved” postcards sent to anyone who has ever visited LifeChurch.

Myth #7 – “You’ll be able to work in an office and get a lot more done”

False! When I go to the office I get about 10% of what I could get done from my home. I get sidetracked, derailed, stuck on projects that take forever, in conversations, working on fixing things, etc, etc. It’s all good because it’s building relationship with staff and people who drop by, but sometimes you just have to be productive!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER grateful for our building. And we are making it work and I know it will just get better. I’m just saying to all you church planters who are in schools, gyms, and theaters – it’s not as bad as you might think. Enjoy your time there and realize how freeing it is to throw the “church” in the back of a trailer and go home each weekend! (and before I get someone ranting that the church is the body of believers and not a building or a bunch of stuff you throw in the trailer… nevermind).

5 thoughts on “Church Building Myths

  1. Fred McKinnon

    Good stuff, Alex – we’re moving into our new offices Jan 7 and having our first worship services on March 2 … I can imagine that all of these myths will prove true!


  2. John Woolsey

    Alex, I really appreciate what you are saying with each one of your points. I remember those days talking about how great it would be to be in our own building but deep down I knew it would have its own issues. I especially appreciate the comment about having an office! I know about these things, I have worked in several. A church is the last place to have ‘offices’ in the conventional sense. I could go on, but I will leave your commenting space in peace. I need to come check out the new place, maybe this week?

  3. Pingback:Woolsey Life » Blog Archive » Thought | The Church Building

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