Q & A – Buying Our First Building

Q: I recently was a part of one of your Top 3 Growth Barriers events. It was very timely and helpful. I greatly appreciate your investment in us.

We planted our church about six and a half years ago. We run just under 200, but we have been stuck on a seesaw there for a couple of years. We have an opportunity to buy an existing church building from a church that built a new building.

It is more traditional in appearance than we would prefer, but it would double our existing space and give us land to build on in the future for a reasonable price. Do you think it would hurt a church plant to be in a more traditional building?

Also, we have enough money for a 20 percent down payment and are approved for a loan. We don’t have enough money to do all the renovations though. Do you think it is wiser to try and raise that money first or do the deal and raise the rest as we go?

Thank you very much for everything.

A: Thanks for coming out to the Top 3 Growth Barriers event. It was so much fun I’ve decided to do a few more in different parts of the country.

Here’s the big point on buildings (that’s many churches fail to realize until it’s too late):

You will never raise more money for a building
than you will BEFORE you move in.

Once you move in, people get comfortable.

Money Matters in ChurchThat being said, I would raise the money to renovate the inside and do an overhaul of the outside (so it’s not so traditional) BEFORE I move in and complete the renovations before I move in.

You are at a good size to do a 3 year capital campaign (which should raise you 2 or 3 times your annual budget). For more on that, see “Money Matters in Church” by Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope.

You have a great opportunity to grow, but take it slow and do it right.

That said, I think my coaching network could be good timing for you. I’ve had a lot of guys tell me that gong in a new building is the best time to be in a network – think and pray about it and check out www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com/telecoaching

If I can be very direct – a building does NOT cause growth and most people do NOT grow when they move in to a new building. Mainly because they are NOT patient enough to do it right and do not have FAITH enough to raise the money ahead of time.

I’m praying that you will have patience and faith!

Your friend,


P.S. Have you applied yet for my Tele-Coaching Network for Senior Pastors? You can find more info and download your application at


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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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