What pastor doesn’t want to see his facility filled to capacity? Church growth is every pastor’s dream. But as more and more people come into the fold, the need for a bigger facility becomes a necessity.
Unless pastors have had experience in the building industry, they often don’t fully understand what it takes to build a new facility, or renovate their existing building. Oh sure, they know they need a 500 or 1,000 seat auditorium. But knowing what it costs to build an auditorium of that size or what’s involved in figuring out how to calculate the cost is a different story.
Some pastors like the layout of churches they’ve been in and would like their church to be designed in a similar way. But they’re not sure if they can raise or borrow the money they’ll need.
The reality is, very few pastors are called to build churches. But pastors need buildings to facilitate their ministry.
Eliminating the Pressure
What pastors need is a Nehemiah. That’s someone who can come along side of them and guide them through the building process. That’s someone who will do the following for them:
- Obtain the favor of the government
- Plan the work
- Order supplies and materials
- Coordinate the work
- Accomplish the work
With someone like this helping them, a pastor can continue doing what he’s good at: ministering to the needs of the people. And ministering without being stressed or overwhelmed during the entire building process.
This is what Churches by Daniels is called to do. With over 30 years of construction experience and a passion to help pastors and churches, Charlie Daniels — President and CEO of Churches by Daniels — can alleviate the pressure that comes with building programs. Charlie and his team are experts at what they do.
Charlie Daniels is a problem solver. Anytime any kind of problem arises during the building process — whether there are unexpected delays, the plans aren’t working, or wrong material was delivered to the job site — Churches by Daniels will work out the issues. Charlie and his crew are the pastor’s eyes and ears on the job site. The pastor never has to worry or lose sleep at night wondering if everything is being taken care of.
No Surprises Here
Many pastors get tripped up in the building process because due diligence wasn’t done at the beginning of a project. Site work costs are estimated instead of bringing in a civil engineer to do a thorough analysis of the property. No one sat down with the city to find out if they were going to require any unique things before the project can begin.
Is the water pressure and water supply on the property adequate for the building’s fire protection? How much will it cost to bring utilities to the property? What are the parking requirements? Will the parking lot be able to accommodate future growth?
These are only a few questions that need to be answered during the discovery phase. If they aren’t, a lot of unknown numbers aren’t calculated into the budget.
When Churches by Daniels gets involved on a project early in the process, nothing is guessed or assumed. Their due diligence process ensures that all of the costs associated with a project are discovered. And all of this happens before the design of the church is ever started.
Once all of the costs are uncovered and added to the budget, the pastor has an accurate picture of what the project will entail. While there’s never a guarantee that a hiccup won’t pop up in the middle of a project, the due diligence process is aimed at not leaving any stone unturned.
One thing is certain, if these numbers are not discovered early in the process, they will put construction costs over the budget at the end of the project.
Here are two examples of how unknown costs eventually find their way into the church’s building budget.
The Perfect Property
Many times by all outward appearances a piece of property appears to be the perfect location for a church. But once a civil engineer steps on the land and takes a closer look, many different problems with the property can be uncovered. The issues can include anything from wetlands and flood plains, to easements and setbacks. All of these things can keep a facility from being built on the land.
Of course, it’s better to learn about site issues before the property is purchased. Afterwards, a lot of money will have to be poured into the site just to get it to the point where you can start to build.
You Want Me to do What!
Another area most pastors don’t consider is the city requirements. When a pastor in Alabama commissioned Churches by Daniels with his $3.2 million building program, he never dreamed the city would require his church to build a street for them. Before the church could occupy the building, they had to build a street, run the utilities underneath the street, lay a tremendous amount of sewer and water lines, provide electricity for the street lights, and put in curb, gutter and storm drains⎯all for the cost of $600,000.
Although $600,000 is a big chunk of change in a $3.2 million project, the city’s requirements didn’t come as a surprise to the Daniels’ team. That’s because this expense was uncovered at the beginning of the project when the Daniels’ team sat down with the city. Right from the start, these costs were included in the budget.
By always doing due diligence at the beginning of every project, Churches by Daniels is able to design the entire project to the budget rather than only designing the building to the budget.
The Budget Does the Driving
Churches by Daniels has come to understand that when designing a church building, the vision and needs of the church need to be married to a practical budget the church can afford. The budget then becomes the driving force for not only the design of the building but for the entire project as well.
Unfortunately, this is not always the way pastors plan their building projects. It’s not unusual for a pastor to take his vision for a new facility straight to an architect. The architect then designs a building according to the pastor’s vision.
The architect will usually design the plans in one of two ways. He’ll include everything in the pastor’s vision, regardless of cost. Or if the pastor says that he has a $5 million budget, the architect designs a $5 million facility. And none of the previously mentioned unknown costs will have been included in the budget. In either scenario when the plans are complete, the pastor pays the architect for a set of plans he can’t afford to build.
Although Churches by Daniels will work with any architect, they are partnered with a group of architects so they can provide a full scope of services to their clients if need be. Because of their close working relationship, Churches by Daniels serves as the middle man that guides the project. By doing this, they are able to control the costs by letting the architect know what can and cannot be put in the design.
The budget answers all questions and becomes the guiding factor in both design and construction. At every step of the building process, the Daniels’ team looks at the budget and asks, “Is there money to do this?” The budget determines what can and can’t be included in the project.
Ways to Save
After the plans are drawn up, the team studies them and looks for opportunities to save money. And they find many opportunities. Keep in mind that significant savings are made during the planning process. Once construction has started, only small amounts of money can be saved, because at that point, everything going into the building has already been decided upon.
It’s through value engineering and the design/build process that Churches by Daniels can realize substantial savings on their projects. Here are some examples where money was saved through value engineering.
In the original design of one church, engineers put a 100-gallon water heater in the plans and the copper line to feed the bathrooms went all the way around the building. The cost for labor and materials to do this was $60,000. Simply by removing the 100-gallon water heater and installing a 10-gallon water heater over every bathroom $55,000 was saved!
On another project, the engineer designed the HVAC with a cooling system. Churches by Daniels looked at the plans and came up with a new idea — a different idea. They hired an independent engineer and asked, “What if we did it this way?” They saved that church $4 million on their HVAC system!
Churches by Daniels saved one church several hundreds of thousands of dollars simply by changing the way the building’s foundation was laid.
Through the years they’ve learned some cost effective ways to value engineer a project since they specialize in designing and building churches. These techniques allow them to be able to save substantial amounts of money.
Many times the pastor reallocates these savings and puts the money back into the building. He may put it into the sound, lights, and video. Or the pastor may use it for a more elaborate stage or lobby. This is often how the pastor is able to build the beautiful building he always dreamed of but wasn’t sure he could afford.
Giving Money Back to Pastors
With the budget driving the project, Churches by Daniels has an excellent record of staying on budget or coming in significantly under budget.
On a $1.9 million renovation of a 22,000 square foot facility in Oklahoma, Churches by Daniels was able to give back $90,000 to the pastor at the end of the project.
On another occasion, Churches by Daniels gave back $66,000 on a $7.6 million project.
On a $3.5 million church in Alabama, Churches by Daniels saved enough money over the course of the project to be able to add three things to the facility that weren’t included in the original budget. This job finished right on budget. Although there wasn’t any money left over, they didn’t go over budget by adding the extra items to the project.
How Can We Help?
Charlie Daniels believes he is called of God to serve pastors and churches. He never looks at what he does as a job, it’s his ministry. His staff feels the same way. It’s the goal of Charlie and his team to help pastors have a successful building project from beginning to end.
Churches by Daniels doesn’t just bring construction experience to the table. They also bring ministry experience. They understand pastors and know what ministry is all about.
Charlie grew up in a pastor’s home. Several people on his management team have either been pastors or are currently serving as a pastor. Because they have been involved in ministry and have served in ministry on staff levels, they understand the challenges that are unique to churches. They are well qualified to coach and help pastors, staffs, and building committees to make the right decisions and move in the right direction to make their building project successful.
Charlie and his team go way beyond what any construction management company, general contractor, or design/build firm normally do for their clients.
Here are some areas where Churches by Daniels helps churches beyond the bricks and mortar of building:
Sometimes a pastor approaches Churches by Daniels ready to build. But after talking with them, it is apparent that they are far from having their financial house in order. Charlie’s team will work with the pastor and develop the steps he needs to take before approaching a bank for a loan. Once they are ready to meet with the bank, Churches by Daniels will help the pastor put together a financing package so the church looks good on paper.
If the church decides to obtain their funding through a bond program, Charlie’s team can help with that as well.
2. Capital Campaigns
After sitting down with a pastor and going over the church’s financial records, Charlie’s team can give a pastor a ballpark figure of how much he can expect to raise from a capital campaign. If the pastor has no idea where to start, Churches by Daniels has partners that can help him set up a capital campaign.
Before dirt is ever moved, Churches by Daniels provides a fly-through video of the entire building so the church congregation can see what the building will look like inside and out. If the pastor feels it will be beneficial, one of the Churches by Daniels management team can talk to the congregation about the building process.
4. Leadership Tools
The most successful building projects are the ones where the pastor is able to drive the vision of the building program in his church. If the pastor feels he needs help in better sharing the vision, Churches by Daniels has leadership tools they will give the pastor to help do this.
5. Video Conferencing Equipment
Churches by Daniels is located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, but they build churches across the 48 contiguous states. Once a church has commissioned them, modern technology enables them to hold meetings through video conferencing, Skype, and conference calls. However, if the church doesn’t have video conference equipment, Churches by Daniels will put that equipment in the church board room during the course of the construction project.
Churches by Daniels is called to help pastors and churches walk through the building process. They have many resources at their disposal they use to help the pastor have a stress-free experience building their new facility. Because many pastors have had such a great experience with Churches by Daniels, they call them back to complete Phase 2 and Phase 3 of their building project.
Even if Charlie doesn’t build the facility for a pastor, he still wants to help in any way. If a pastor would like someone to review his contract or if he just has questions about the building process and how to get started, Charlie and his team are glad for the opportunity to help.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to build or renovate your existing facility, or if you just need some advice, give Churches by Daniels a call at 918-872-6006, or click here to request more information. They are ready to serve you and help guide you through your building project.