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How a Master Plan can help avoid future problems

January 29, 2016

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How a Master Plan can help avoid future problems

January 29, 2016


What is your Master Plan? It can mean different things depending on the context. It can refer to your financial master plan or your ministry master plan or it can indicate your overall site and facility master plan. Our definition of a Master Plan is a holistic view and includes a financial and ministry plan that will inform a facility master plan. To be successful, a comprehensive Master Plan will integrate all aspects of your church.


Most church leaders understand the significance of developing a financial and ministry master plan, but often under estimate the importance of a well thought out facility master plan. Embarking on a facility master plan can save you money and headaches down to road. A facility Master Plan will:

  • Identify current space requirement and clearly prioritize future needs

  • Can identify logical placement and sizes of current and future facilities

  • Can improve accessibility for all ages including addressing ADA requirements

  • Define the most efficient parking and traffic flow

  • Can determine facility orientation for integration of nature light

  • Identify logical adjacency placement of functions

  • Improve way-finding

  • Develop a plan that optimizes flexibility for future growth

Too often we are hired to work with a church that has poorly placed facilities on their campus. Their predecessors randomly placed buildings without regard to the long term effects resulting in a lack of flexibility, connectivity and inhibiting future expansion. Often a site is not optimized due to buildings constructed in the wrong place. The first building on a site is the most important. Ideally you have a facility master plan before any construction begins. By doing so you solidify a logical plan for each phase of development.


When we meet with a church to develop a facility master plan, we embark on a fact finding mission. You will be led through a series of workshops and collaborative meetings to kick the tires and leave no stone unturned. Each ministry should be identified and represented.  It is imperative to think long term and consider possible future ministries. Churches are continually evolving so it is important to know your past, document your present and anticipate your future.


Each ministry has a unique set of needs and requirements. These needs equate to manpower needs, space needs and resources. Many people are hyper focused on their own personal ministry; as a result they may not be aware of the needs and resources required by other groups. It is important for everyone to have a voice and requirements should be documented. We often find that many ministries can use shared space due to different schedules and functions. The goal is to comfortably accommodate all of the ministry functions in the least amount of space.


When you have an unbuilt campus you are given a blank canvas to create a master piece. But your first move is crucial and engaging in a well thought out master plan can save you money as well as future headaches. Even on an existing site there are opportunities to correct past mistakes and make your campus a more logical and enjoyable place. Dwight D. Eisenhower said “Plans are nothing; planning is everything”. Investing your time in a comprehensive master plan will alleviate future problems and allow your congregation to concentrate on what really matters to your church.

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