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Plan Planning Guides

Planning Guides

Is your congregation considering a new building or capital improvement project? These Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF) Planning Guides are designed to help you get started:

Buying Church Property

Purchasing property involves more than simply selecting a site. It includes the necessary steps of investigating the property, creating a financial plan and completing the various legal and financial requirements to finalize the transaction. Most importantly, before a congregation decides to purchase a piece of property, it first needs to determine if the property matches the church’s long-term financial and ministry goals (see DCEF’s Choosing a Site planning guide below). Read more.

Choosing a Site

The old adage in real estate is “Location. Location. Location.” However, when choosing a site for your church, location is only one of the many factors that can affect the future ministry of a congregation. Before a congregation begins to search for a specific site, it should evaluate as many of those factors as possible. Read more.

Church Facility Maintenance

The goal of every facility maintenance program is to preserve and maintain the resources of a building for its use and operation. For congregations, this goal should be expanded to include the stewardship of resources for ministry and their communities. Read more.

Environmental Sustainability/Stewardship

Every year, congregations spend thousands of dollars to heat, cool, light, and use their buildings. With a few energy-saving renovations, these churches could save hundreds and thousands of dollars each year in operational expense, which could be used to improve their facilities and fund their ministries. In essence, the idea of “sustainability” is the biblical and financial concept of “stewardship.” Read more.

Flexible Space

Historically, churches have had single-purpose rooms. The library of the church stored religious books for members to study. The choir room was designed for choir practice and to store robes and music. And, Sunday school classrooms were only used on Sundays by a specific class for Christian education. However, as the cost of construction, maintenance and operations of a facility have increased, many churches have started to design flexible spaces that can be used for many purposes. Read more.

Radical Hospitality

While many churches claim to be friendly and hospitable to visitors, most churches are unaware of how a visitor really experiences a congregation for the first time. Unlike members who know how to navigate the facility, visitors usually struggle to find their way and are often excluded or ignored by members who are already a part of the church. Read more.

Renovation or New Construction

“If you build it they will come.”

How many of you remember this quote from the movie “Field of Dreams?” Don’t we wish that this is as true for bringing new people into our churches as it was for bringing back the ghosts of baseball greats to a baseball field built in the middle of an Iowa cornfield? Read more.


Signs do more than just point the way. They help visitors feel welcomed, direct people safely through a building, and communicate the culture and feel of an organization. When signs are adequately displayed and helpful to the user, they convey a positive message. Conversely, poorly designed or inadequate signs relay a negative image to the visitor. Read more.

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