October 15th, 2014

Moving from Temporary to Permanent Space

David Putman

David Putman

(This is a guest post by David Putman, Auxano Navigator)

I’ve had the opportunity to consult with a number of fast growing new churches that were stuck. Without exception at least one of the factors that attributed to their plateau related to space. Sooner or later most new churches have to grapple with the question, “How do we move from temporary space to a permanent space?” Here’s what I found, “The right permanent space resulted in rapid growth for churches that were already on a growth trajectory even if they were stuck.”

At the same time, moving from temporary to permanent space isn’t a simple solution, but requires time, planning, and many resources. With this in mind I’ve discovered that churches that solve the space challenge have leaders who are thinking about permanent space long before they need it. Here are some principles you need to consider.

Operate out of a Preparedness Paradigm

Just the other day I talked to an XP of a fast growing new church. He had contacted us about some vision clarity work and a potential capital campaign. When I asked him what their specific goals were for the campaign he replied, “We just want to be prepared. If an opportunity comes our way we want to be ready.”

We see this with Abram, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.’” (Genesis 12:1-4 NIV)

Abram heard the voice of God and it appears that he simply gathered his family and animals and set out on a bold adventure that would change all of history. I often ask, “If God was to call us to do a new thing or to do something specific, how long would it take us to prepare to do it?”

We often blame missed opportunities on bad timing when in reality it’s poor planning. We need to get prepared before the opportunity comes our way.

Budget on 90% of Last Year’s Income

Pastor Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands and board member for ARC (Association of Related Churches) encourages all churches to budget on 90% of last year’s income. You read this right! In other words if you take up $100,000 this year set your budget for $90,000 next year. If you take up $150,000 next year, then you will have $60,000 you can place in a fund for future opportunities. This is great wisdom for any church especially those considering moving from a temporary to permanent space.
Know Your Numbers

“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds” (Proverbs 27:23 NIV). Knowing the condition of your flock was an ancient way of knowing your numbers. It is important not to assume anything when preparing to move from temporary to permanent space. I’ve worked with a number of churches that have purchased a piece of land, designed a building, and then visited a bank only to discover that there is no way they can build the building they’ve spent ten’s of thousands of dollars designing. Start by building a good relationship with a potential lender. Here are some numbers your potential lender will want you to be aware of when it comes to determining your capacity. They are:

• Maximum Annual Debt: 30 to 35%
• Maximum Capitalization: 3 to 4 times your annual income
• Loan-to-Value Ratio: 75%
• Debt Service: 1 to 1.25 annual income
• Consistent History: 2-3 years

 

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