We’re honored to help you realize your God-inspired vision. We do that by creating spaces that inspire and allow your church to thrive.
Our values are a direct extension of our founder, Matt Burow – and Catalyst Construction is an extension of his dream to bring a holistic approach to helping churches, beyond just building a building. We are proud of our earned reputation for creating affordable, high-quality facilities with innovative designs that inspire. And we are leaders in church construction with experience in creating both modern and traditional spaces.
In addition to our standard commercial projects, we’ve built Catalyst Ministry Solutions to help churches of all shapes, sizes, and denominations realize their God-inspired vision.
Is Your Church Building Affecting Your Ministry?
Your ministry is more than just a building. A building is a physical structure, not a church. Bottom line is it’s a tool, and it needs to allow you to run your ministry at a highly effective level.
Your church is where your congregation gathers to worship and celebrate God, to learn and connect with God, maybe for the first time! A building should allow for people to join in a community with others in a shared and growing faith. At best, a building can become an accelerator toward a vision, or at worst, a roadblock. Is it possible that your church is experiencing the adverse effects of a building that may be hampering the growth of your ministry, as well?
Here are a few telltale signs that it may be time to evaluate your physical spaces and the impact they’re having on your ministry:
You’ve Experienced Rapid Growth
A vibrant, growing ministry is always a good thing. It means you’re reaching those far from God and growing others in their faith. However, when you’re cramming your congregation into your church like sardines, or you need people to leave the fellowship hall or connecting area quickly in between services to accommodate the next service, well, it may be time to talk to us.
There was a time when a growing church could simply start adding services, a Saturday evening and three or four on Sunday. Times have changed and churches are finding it more difficult for people to commit to times that interfere with other things competing for their attention. Inconveniences caused by outgrowing your facilities will begin to erode away at your effectiveness for ministry and impact.
You’re Experiencing Declining Attendance and Participation
While declining church attendance can be attributed to a variety of causes, inadequate facilities may be among them.
At the end of the day, people want to feel inspired and connect with God. While your worship and the teaching may provide the spiritual inspiration they need, the space in which they’re delivered should not be a distraction. For some there was a time when the quality of worship was not an issue, rooms were designed in a way that did not take into consideration, echo reverb, sound traps, or video screens.
Overtime, styles change, priorities change, how people communicate and learn changes, and so, too must church facilities.
The way people engage has changed in ways your current church facilities may not be able to accommodate. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, many churches were seeing a shift to web-based and on-demand programming – something that couldn’t have been anticipated a decade ago. Are you ready?
Your Facilities Are Affecting Your Programming
One of the most common facility challenges we see is lack of space to accommodate the programming that is central to your mission. For instance, Sunday School is central to many Protestant denominational programming, and while other parts of their church facilities may be perfectly adequate, a lack of space for these essential programs means it faces functional challenges that hamper the long term health of the congregation.
Your ministry’s impact extends beyond your church’s four walls. Churches have long been the hearts of the communities in which they reside. Not only do they serve as a gathering place in which to reaffirm one’s faith, they provide the facilities and venue for your congregation to act on the teachings of Jesus Christ and employ them in meaningful ways throughout your community.
But even when there’s a need for new programming in your community and desire to make it happen within your church, your facility can limit your ability to expand the reach and effectiveness of your ministry.
Where Do I Start the Church Construction Process?
“I wish I’d have known that ahead of time…”
This is one of the most frustrating and gut-wrenching things we hear from our prospective church clients.
As a construction firm with a passion for helping churches thrive, we share and support the vision that you have for your ministry. So when a client is compelled to say, “I wish I’d known that ahead of time,” it indicates that something as prevented their goals from being reached and their vision from being realized – and if it had been taken into account earlier, that something very likely could have been avoided.
Catalyst has more than 50 years of combined experience working with churches and church leadership staff. We draw on that experience to help you avoid the unnecessary roadblocks that can impede your church’s progress in realizing your vision.
We understand that no two churches are alike. Even within the same denomination, every church and congregation is unique in terms of its needs and the challenges it faces. One thing that every church ministry has in common, regardless of denomination, leadership, or congregation size, is that they can all benefit from the insights and resources available to them from a team that has the right experience. They can benefit from a team that has successfully traveled the church construction path many times before and is able to offer valuable leadership and counsel to help clients navigate that path and make the right decisions regarding issues such as:
Declining membership and participation
Proper ministry space planning
Current space updating and renovation
Best use of underutilized space
Utilization of current space for additional revenue
Excess land assets
Generosity or financing challenges
Church leadership and team development
What is the Catalyst Ministry Solutions Framework℠?
Something that we felt was lacking in the church construction industry was a process that helps you plan for the journey you’re about to take with us, from vision to fruition.
All decisions have consequences. Some are good while others can be costly. The good news is that by working with Catalyst, you have the luxury of a trusted resource who has a vested interest in creating the best possible product for your church ministry and who has successfully traveled the road to that exciting end so many times that they have becomes experts in navigating it.
Our experience and our process gives you the confidence and peace of mind that is needed in every church building and development project to make smart, well-informed decisions every step of the way.
Four Steps to Success
The Catalyst Ministry Solutions Framework℠ is comprised of four pillars. Each pillar is comprised of three reinforcing steps with each step building on the one before it. This Framework has been designed to ensure flexibility for addressing the broadest possible spectrum of issues, solutions, and outcomes.
An illustration of how a project moves through the CMS Framework, from DISCOVER to DELIVER.
We’re all familiar with the adage, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This applies to your church and its future.
The initial step in any church building project sets the tone for the course of that entire project. Too often, we’ve seen the unfortunate results of a construction project that began with the wrong first step. It could be, for example, that the timeline of milestones and to-dos are improperly prioritized. Missteps like these can cause scheduling and budgetary issues that are very difficult to overcome as the project moves ahead.
With that in mind, it’s critical that the strategy and planning toward your vision are well thought out and guided by experience. If they are not, your path forward will be unnecessarily stressful, complicated, and anything but smooth. Creating clarity and alignment upfront will help ensure all options are presented and understood, helping you make the best possible decisions to achieve your goals and realize the vision you have for your church.
Turn “I Wish I’d Known” Into “I’m Glad I Knew”
Catalyst Ministry Solutions exists to help you make the decisions that will produce the best results for your church.
Our team of seasoned industry professionals includes several with experience as church leadership staff and/or working for para-ministry organizations. Our goal in assembling this church building dream team was to create a group of like-minded individuals who understand what it’s like to be faced with the kinds of questions, challenges, and decisions that you’ll encounter and who understand the pressures inherent to answering those questions, overcoming those challenges, and making those decisions the right way at the right time.
With Catalyst Ministry Solutions, it’s our hope that we can turn the “I wish I would have known” church construction horror stories into “I’m sure glad I knew” success stories for you, your ministry and your congregation.
How We Help You Discover Your Vision for Your Building
The DISCOVER phase is the cornerstone of the Catalyst Ministry Solutions Framework℠ and serves as the guide for every recommendation and decision.
This phase involves our team garnering a deep and thorough understanding of your Church’s vision and goals for the project. We look for potential obstacles that could arise on the road toward your successfully completed project as well as identify the possible resources God has provided to overcome those obstacles.
This deep dive in the DISCOVER phase helps us design a complete strategy and timeline of milestones and priorities which substantially increases the likelihood of achieving the desired outcome of your project.
Step 1: Identify Your Ministry’s Vision, Goals, and Needs
Your Church’s needs for the future are of paramount importance and having a thorough understanding of those needs is always our first step. The true north for any church strategy and supporting plan must align with your church’s goals and objectives. The plans we develop together need to be realistic and attainable with room for God’s plan to deliver more than expected. This will help you make the right decisions for your church and congregation.
Step 2: Identify Current Resources and Gaps (SWOT)
No two churches are alike. Therefore, we make no assumptions and always start with a blank slate. Each church is blessed in its own unique way and it is important that we discover all of your church’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).
You may think you already have a thorough understanding of everything affecting your church and its future. However, our SWOT process will help you look at your church from new perspectives and help you assess its strengths and weaknesses.
Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to your organization; they’re things generally within your control that can be changed. Examples include your staff, who attends your church, and your physical assets such as buildings and land.
Opportunities and Threats are generally external; they’re things going on outside your church beyond your control, including broader demographic or socio-economic trends, the cost of building materials, and labor.
The SWOT analysis is a critical step in gathering all the information needed to paint a complete picture of your church’s current circumstances and begin compiling a comprehensive list of its unique “needs”.
Step 3: Identify Potential Obstacles and Opportunities
As a church leader, it is judicious on your part to have a good handle on what you know, and an awareness of the things you’re uncertain about. This step brings to bear all our collective experience and wisdom to identify things you may not have considered.
As we discover your vision for your building, our goal is to help you assess and weigh the broadest set of options for achieving your church’s vision and goals and minimize or even eliminate situations that would prompt you to say, “I wish I’d known that ahead of time.” On many of our projects we were brought in too late in the church planning process which on nearly every occasion has resulted in us hearing those dreaded words.
Our collective experience can help you avoid saying them. Catalyst’s approach gets all the issues out on the table at the outset so we can plan your project with the highest chances for success.
Why It’s Important to Determine Your Project Needs
For some congregations, there can be multiple options for achieving the next step towards fulfilling their vision – each worth careful consideration. For others, the options may be fewer.
Know Your Strategic Options
Strategic options are goal-oriented alternatives that your church can consider in achieving its vision and goals in the face of uncertainty. Taking into consideration goals, vision, needs and available resources, each church’s strategic options are unique and may include:
As a church, it is important to fully understand your options before choosing a strategy. The best option for your church’s unique situation may require trade-offs for which you need to be prepared.
Prioritize Your Needs
When facing multiple options, prioritizing those options is a must. The chronology of your time and resource expenditures will help ensure smooth transitions between milestones.
Catalyst uses the Needs, Action, Benefits and Risk framework tailored to your unique ministry. In this process, needs and initiatives with the highest scores should take priority over those with lower scores.
The key to building a successful internal team is to find the individuals who are the right match for your church – both situationally and culturally.
Assemble Your Team (Internal and External)
The key to building a successful internal team is to find the individuals who are the right match for your church – both situationally and culturally.
While there are parallels between business skills and skilled labor, applying either skill set in a church environment, as opposed to just about any other environment, becomes a different animal altogether. A mediocre or misaligned team developing and executing a plan is a recipe for disappointment and failure regardless of how good the plan seems. And a team of role-based experts who lack executional expertise can become a liability when putting your project plan into action. The right balance for an internal, modern church building team will consist of an even mix of experience and expertise.
What Goes into Developing a Construction Plan
We’ve been in this business a long time and we’ve witnessed firsthand what happens when the wrong team is in place on a project. It’s not a pretty sight.
They may not understand a church’s true identity in Christ and how the ideal church design needs to fit that identity.
They may not appreciate that churches and schools typically have very tight budgets and require a design that is on or under budget.
They may overpromise and underdeliver, affecting or even fracturing a congregation.
Our collective tenure has allowed us to develop a network of tried-and-true organizations and outside consultants that deliver results. Our development team has an impressive bench of experience in financing, tax credits, government funding, and foundational support. We also have access to and experience with top-tier capital campaign consultants with a strong track record of producing quality results for churches like yours. Bottom line, if we bring them to the table as a recommendation, we are supremely confident that you will see the same high-quality results. We stake our reputation on it.
As we develop your construction phase, you will collaborate with your assembled team to further refine the options identified in the DETERMINE phase and create achievable, time-bound plans that line up all the resources needed to complete development and begin the DELIVER phase.
Ultimately, the goal of the DEVELOP phase is to make sure we are fully prepared going into project kick-off, and you and your team are confident that your project is in good hands.
Develop Specific Plans
Every initiative is a new adventure into the unknown. We are pursuing something new and different from the status quo that will move us closer to fulfilling your vision and achieving your goals. To be successful with any new project or initiative, you need to plan to be successful.
The Catalyst Ministry Solutions planning process means thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve your desired objectives. This includes:
Identifying existing and as-yet needed resources and capabilities
Assigning and prioritizing tasks
Establishing evaluation measures and acceptance criteria
Developing protocols for dealing with the unexpected
It is not uncommon for plans to require refinement once a project is underway, but a benefit of the planning step is that contingencies will have been considered and planned for appropriately. Processes are built into our overall plans that allow us to address most challenges that can arise.
It is not uncommon for plans to require refinement once a project is underway, but a benefit of the planning step is that contingencies will have been considered and planned for appropriately.
Building holistic and comprehensive timelines will not only ensure that you get your project off on the right foot but also that a course is set for its on-time, on-budget completion. Additionally, the potential for costly disruptions to other parts of the organization is substantially minimized if not eliminated altogether. We call this timeline creation Vision to Turn Key.
The Vision to Turn Key timeline needs to capture the following key pieces of information:
The starting line
Milestones and the tasks to be completed between each
Durations and deadlines for tasks
Dependencies between tasks
Who (what role) is responsible for each task
An accounting of your existing operations and events
Gather Your Resources
Identifying what resources will be needed for our projects to be successful is important, but it’s equally important we secure the right resources and that they are utilized most effectively and at the right time.
Our project plan development and timeline creation process will likely identify potential resource pinch-points and gaps. When it comes to addressing them, hope is not an acceptable strategy. It is important to identify all necessary resources and to categorize them in terms of when they are needed throughout the project and how important they are to making sure our project is successful.
Our development team has a vast array of experience that not only includes building construction and planning, but we also have extensive experience and deep relationships with experts related to financing, tax credits, government funding, foundational support, capital campaigns and communications. Bottom line, if we bring them to the table as a recommendation, we are supremely confident you will see high-quality results. We stake our reputation on it.
How Catalyst Construction Delivers on Your Project
Much like your ministry, a church isn’t built overnight. It takes vision, communication, and the right partners to make it happen.
Our Ministry Solutions Framework℠ is designed to gather the information and resources to make sure that, as your church construction project ramps up, your ministry doesn’t have to slow down.
From project kickoff to completion, the team we’ve assembled will be with you every step of the way to ensure your plans are executed in the most efficient and least disruptive way possible. We know that maintaining operational continuity and project momentum is critical for success and all plans are created with this firmly in mind.
We know the work involved in church leadership can be stressful. Our Framework respects the talents of those in your ministry and recognizes that complex issues can be simplified by working with a partner you can trust. You will find our communication strategy, task lists and overall development process an extremely helpful blueprint that puts the plan for your vision into action.
The most successful projects share one thing in common – a smooth initial phase spearheaded by a strong project kickoff.
With the project kickoff, we set and reinforce expectations for the project team and key stakeholders by covering five key points:
Vision – The “why” behind your project that will unite the team around shared goals and expectations.
Scope – Articulation of what this project will accomplish as well as identification of elements outside the project scope.
Team – Assigning of roles and responsibilities. Everyone involved needs to have a clear understanding of his or her role.
Roadmap & Timelines – Reviewing the high-level project plan including timeline, key milestones, dependencies, and deliverables. This will allow stakeholders to see the path for achieving the strategic vision and allow you to see where there is room for adjustments to your normal workflow so you can plan accordingly.
Communication Plan – What needs to be communicated and when. This plan will help build consensus within your church project.
Integrated Project Management
With years of experience leading some of the most complex developments in America, we’ve developed an approach that isn’t about buying or selling a product but rather is about developing a relationship that produces something of tremendous value to the community and to His Kingdom. Catalyst is steadfastly committed to developing that relationship and creating that value. To that end, our construction management process consists of the following:
Assigning the right project manager with the right experience for your project
Assuring that budget and cost estimates stay on track
Creating opportunities for members of your congregation to lend their time, talent, and resources to the project
Establishing key milestones that allow your congregation to build relationships and promote your project and ministry to the community
Arranging schedules that align with established timetables and which keep ministry disruption to a minimum
Selecting the most efficient methods to deliver success and bring value to your project
Excellent communication touchpoints throughout the process
Managing staff on-site to meet professional standards
Building productive and on-going relationships with outside professional contacts and local building code officials
Analyzing the project in real time and providing relevant feedback
Meeting every legal requirement in the contract relationship
Planning for the turnkey opening that builds the excitement and energy you want for your ministry
Reviewing project success and evaluating the work and processes undertaken while providing necessary support after the project is successfully completed
Project Completion and Beyond
The Catalyst Ministry Solutions Framework℠ builds in steps throughout the project that minimize the need for postmortems or retrospectives. Our project will always be designed to meet your expectations and our goal to exceed them.
As we go through the warranty period following a project, we want to hear how the ministry is being impacted. While we will track issues that may develop after project completion, the most important assessment will always be: is our work making a positive impact for the good of the church? If not, we haven’t done our job.
And, we recognize that the completion of your project is the beginning of a new phase for your ministry. The Catalyst Ministry Solutions Framework℠ is designed to allow your ministry to “hit the ground running,” carrying the momentum forward as your project ends and your post project phase begins.
Catalyst has designed this Ministry Solutions Framework to be a valuable resource for our church communities. Our goal is to provide churches the resources necessary to successfully fulfill their mission and minimize the need to say “I wish I’d known that ahead of time.”
LET’S START BUILDING
Contact Catalyst Ministry Solutions to begin your church construction journey.
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