When you are thinking about moving and relocating your church building, there are many things to consider. Apart from logistics, you must consider the deep emotional and spiritual connection your congregants have to the building where they meet weekly to worship together. Relocating your church building can be a painless, pleasant experience when you consider these five tips:
Make Church Members Aware of the Relocation
Moving your church building is something you want to bring before your congregation early on. Don’t wait until a few weeks before the move to let them know that a move is taking place. Your church members are probably very invested in not only the people in the church but in the building as well. The building is a marker that reminds people of where they worship and who they come to worship. For this reason, moving your church building can potentially upset or shock some of your members. Listen to their concerns and feelings, and remind them of the benefits (or necessity, depending on your circumstances) of relocating your building.
Relocating a building of any kind takes a lot of planning, manpower, and heavy equipment. It is a great investment for both your building and the church members to hire a structural mover who has experience, equipment, and expertise in this field. To keep the move as low-stress as possible, make sure you have financing options. Involve your church members in paying for the move by designating a special building fund where they can contribute directly to the costs. Or hold fundraisers, like a bake sale or garage sale, to offset expenses. A church building relocation doesn’t have to—and shouldn’t—break the bank. Working with a responsible and fair mover means your move can happen without any issues and at a reasonable cost for your church.
Remind Members of the Reasons for the Move
Churches are made up of all kinds of people, and you might have some members that are unsure about the decision to relocate your building, even if you have very good reasons for doing so. That’s ok. Your job is to care for members even if you don’t see eye-to-eye on this issue. A helpful way to combat pushback on a big move like this is to remind members why your church is relocating. If there is a logistical need to move, such as a new highway or bridge being built, remind them. But also help them see that relocating a building is a great option instead of building an entirely new structure. Relocation is an excellent means to preserve history. It also saves on the cost of building a new building. Relocation is also a responsible way to care for the environment instead of demolishing the structure. Relocation, as opposed to new construction, saves time, money, and energy for everyone involved.
Communicate Logistics Clearly and Often
Moving a building is a big undertaking. Moving a church building presents its own unique challenges in that a large group of people are affected by such a move. As soon as you set a date for the move, let your congregants know. Some folks will want to be in the know as much as possible with all of the details; giving them the move date as soon as you get it will help them feel included and cared for. Remind members both verbally and in written form. Make announcements weekly from the pulpit or stage. Include the move date in the bulletin or online newsletter so people can be prepared even if they haven’t been to your worship service in a few weeks. As moving day approaches, make sure your members know the plan for church services directly before and after the move if services will be affected. You don’t want anyone to be surprised on a Sunday or Wednesday if they show up to worship, and the entire building is missing!
Make it a Group Effort
Have your church members work together so that the relocation is a success. Involve them in taking out furniture, art, or other things that won’t stay in the building during the move. Once the move is complete, encourage your members to organize the church building so that it is ready for everyone to worship in and enjoy. A great way to mark the start of your time at your new location is to have a celebration or a meal together.
Church relocation might be intimidating for some of your members. Remember that their feelings are valid, and keep everyone informed and involved in the process, so that when the move is over, you can all gather together and enjoy your old building at your new location.