What size is your church building?

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Hamalas

whippersnapper
Hello brothers and sisters!

Our congregation is in the process of purchasing land to (Lord willing!) build on in the future. One of the things we have to work through at this stage is the basic details for a concept plan for a building (square footage, number of classrooms, types of space, etc...).

Our ultimate goal will be to build a building that would have a capacity for up to 300 people (our vision is never to grow beyond 200-300, but to be planting churches as we grow instead). I'd be particularly interested to hear from those who may be in churches of that size to know how many square feet you have, how large your sanctuary/fellowship hall is, how many classrooms etc...and if your building is meeting your needs well or not!

I know each congregation's needs are a bit different but just trying to get a sense of what other churches have found needed/helpful when approaching this size.

Also, if we could please keep responses to the questions I've raised and not to side discussions about how large a church should or shouldn't be I would appreciate it. :) I know that these questions can stir strong feelings!
 
I don't have the numbers but the one thing from our experience I would say is allow for maximum parking as possible; think, what would a packed funeral be, etc. LPC was built in the late 1950s and parking is woefully one of our biggest issues; big events spill onto sidestreets and that makes for unhappy neighbors.
 
So I believe our church was founded in the 1980s, and I have to say it is gigantic. I've never seen a PCA church so big. And it has a traditional/brick feel to it too. It is three stories, I don't know the square feet, but I would guess at least 50,000. There is more than enough room to do just about anything that's needed involving the church, which is pretty neat. Maybe it's more of a Southern thing, and we are in South Carolina, but it is impressive how it is literally a church on the hill that can be seen very clearly by the public eye.
 
Jarvis Street Baptist Church, at the intersection of Gerrard Street and Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto, is one of the oldest churches in the city. Its congregation was founded in 1818, and the present church constructed in 1875. 1000003780.jpg
 
parking is woefully one of our biggest issues
It's always been one of ours, as well.

@Hamalas

Have you checked out this site?


I've never seen a PCA church so big.
Briarwood near Birmingham has an impressive complex (it used to be the second largest Anglophone PCA church before Coral Ridge had its problems - we were number 3 behind them. Post Coral Ridge meltdown, looks like they are still ahead of us on communicant members , but we have a slight lead in total members (2022 statistics from the PCAAC). Our church has a nice facility, but is somewhat constrained by land for expansion running $5 - $10 million an acre. The largest PCA churches are Korean congregations. And it looks like the largest PCA church in Palmetto Presbytery is Northeast with just over 1000.
 
Five staggered stories (added onto through out the decades)....it's not that big really, but it is like the Blue Clue's house (bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside).
 
We have an older worship that feels pretty tight at 150. We have around 200 on attendance on an average Sunday, and we have had 2 AM services for a while so that we can all fit. One evening service. Most folks are agreed being able to meet in one place together would be preferred, but we also invested in a new education wing first.

In general I think it is good to have a bigger space than smaller. One caution is that I visited a church whose worship space sat around 300, but they only have 60-80 in attendance on any given week. So folks were spread out among a big area and it felt like a really small congregation, much smaller than they were. I think they had built back the building in the 60s and the church had never really grown.
 
One caution is that I visited a church whose worship space sat around 300, but they only have 60-80 in attendance on any given week.
One solution for that is to remove some of the seating and spread things out. Same thing for an overbuild on new construction - spread out the seating, have more open space, and as you grow to fill it add seating. A sanctuary is generally considered full at 85% of capacity.

Another thought is design for expansion - I remember Pear Orchard north of Jackson MS knocked the end off their sanctuary and lengthened it at one point. Come to think of it, I think First Baptist in Jackson made their sanctuary longer about the same time, and I don't think it had been originally designed for that. Or build a room that can be re-purposed as the congregation grows.

Here is ours.
My thought when I looked it up on Google last night was the education wing looked large for the reported size of the congregation. It is a nice looking facility
 
One solution for that is to remove some of the seating and spread things out. Same thing for an overbuild on new construction - spread out the seating, have more open space, and as you grow to fill it add seating. A sanctuary is generally considered full at 85% of capacity.

Another thought is design for expansion - I remember Pear Orchard north of Jackson MS knocked the end off their sanctuary and lengthened it at one point. Come to think of it, I think First Baptist in Jackson made their sanctuary longer about the same time, and I don't think it had been originally designed for that. Or build a room that can be re-purposed as the congregation grows.


My thought when I looked it up on Google last night was the education wing looked large for the reported size of the congregation. It is a nice looking facility
Lol, you are right.
 
If you're going for 300, as I'll reiterate what previous comments made about parking. You're going to want to talk with a contractor about ideal parking to consider funerals. I'm not sure the exact ratio which is why I recommend some kind of consultation.
 
Parking - other factors
Availability of neighborhood parking - on street? Deals with local businesses?
Congregation makeup - lots of singles, you'll need more parking, lots of families with 3.5 small chlidren, less; but remember those children are going to bee teens some day.

But I don't know that I've ever heard anyone complain about too much parking.
 
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