By Tim Dittloff
November 29, 2021

This blog article is part 2 in a 4-part series

As we stated in the previous article in this series, Catalyst Construction’s Ministry Solutions Framework has been developed for churches to provide the help they need completing that all-important church construction project. The Framework consists of four major phases – Discover, Determine, Develop, and Deliver – that define the steps involved in the building process and details involved in each of those steps. It is specifically designed to ensure flexibility in addressing the broadest spectrum of issues and finding the right solutions to ensure the best possible outcomes for those issues.

In the Determine phase, we provide additional questions within the Ministry Solutions Framework that can be applied to your specific ministry situation and which when answered will help you advance further down the road toward a successfully completed church construction project. Below, we’ll look at this phase of the framework through the lens of four questions designed for success in achieving the next step toward fulfilling your vision for your church building project.


Have we clearly defined our church’s vision and goals?

As is the case with any major project, taking on a church construction or renovation project without having a clear vision for the finished product and how to achieve it is, in a word, unwise. The vision for your new or renovated space goes beyond what it should look like or what color the interior walls should be. Your vision should take into consideration things like the rate of growth that your church is experiencing in conjunction with its anticipated growth over the next several years.

Moreover, as church membership grows, your need for additional staff will likely increase as well, which will likely mean more space will be needed in the form of offices, conference rooms, and the like. Expanding your church’s sanctuary and foyer is good but it may not be sufficient and, if your budget allows, additional space may be required. You’ll need strategic options to really make headway in moving forward on your project. Strategic options – which we discuss in greater depth in our free Ministry Solutions Framework ebook – are goal-oriented alternatives that need to be considered in light of your specific church ministry, your vision for it, its unique set of needs, and the resources available to you. Some of the strategic options include:

  • Acceleration
  • Expansion
  • Diversification
  • Reinvigoration
  • Divestiture

Choosing the strategy that is appropriate for your church may require you to give up something in order to get something else more important for your ministry. Determining your church’s needs and setting goals to satisfy those needs and clearly define and ultimately fulfill the vision for your church is made easier when you work with experienced construction professionals like the team at Catalyst. If you’re having trouble answering this first question in the Determine phase, or any of our Questions for Success throughout this blog series, we can help.


Have we identified all our church’s SWOTs (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)?

This question is foundational because it prompts church leaders to take inventory of how well they know their own ministries. Within the context of these categories of identifiers – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – the process of answering this question is an opportunity to learn things about your ministry you didn’t know and may not have otherwise discovered. That deep-dive process of SWOT identification should be driven by the needs of the project and partnering with a trusted builder like Catalyst to help identify your church’s SWOT before even pre-construction commences puts everything out there on the table so that challenges can be foreseen, planned for, and overcome. Ultimately, by answering this question you are, at least in large part, determining the needs of your project and prioritizing those needs into a chronology of proposed time and resource expenditures.

Who makes up our congregation and who is our church designed for?

In a way the answer to this question is in the question itself but it is still well worth asking. The ‘who’ element of your church construction project is arguably the most important because your congregation is who your church should be designed for. Your congregants should be the inspiration for what you want your construction project to produce and who you want working with you on it. In fact, your congregation almost certainly has membership with myriad skill sets or who just have a desire to serve their ministry and can be part of the construction process. Catalyst Construction’s Time & Talent program gives our team the opportunity to work with you to incorporate volunteer labor from within your own congregation and is an ideal way to fortify a spirit of community among your members.

Do you have a High-Capacity Leader Plan?

High-capacity leaders are critical in the success of a big project. There are two groups that we want to engage early in our project in this regard:

  1. High-Capacity Influencers —These are the people that have a large sphere of influence with many people. People look to them to help frame how they should feel or view what they are hearing. We must get this group informed and on board with the vision early. We want to ask them to be ambassadors to the vision when people come to them with questions.
  2. High-Capacity Resources —The bottom line is that in most churches, 20% of the givers give 80% of the giving. And within the 20%, a few have the means to move the needle in a big way with their generosity. This is the group that is already generous to many non-profit groups who are approaching them. As the church, we need to do a better job bringing them into the vision early and allowing them to make a sizable impact on what God is doing.

Do you have a high-capacity plan in place for your project?


The ‘Determine’ phase takes your church project preparation to the next level by allowing you to take a deep dive into your ministry’s needs as they relate to your project and present the opportunity to work with a team like Catalyst’s Ministry Solutions group to provide for those needs. As the leader of a church ministry, you have a lot to think about. Consequently, when you’re in the early stages of planning your new church building or addition it can be easy to have blinders on, focus only on the actual construction element, and miss a myriad of the necessary details that need to be addressed before construction even begins. The questions addressed in this series and article in particular can help make sure the blinders are kept off. Whenever you need help finding the answers, Catalyst Construction is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us here when you’re ready and we’ll be happy to partner with you on your church construction journey.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


Tim Dittloff
As Principal with Catalyst Ministry Solutions, Tim has more than 20 years of experience leading change in stewardship and generosity. As a certified coach and trainer through The John Maxwell Team, and as a credentialed Christian nonprofit leader through the Christian Leadership Alliance, Tim has focused his career on helping leaders of organizations navigate the course of stewardship and generosity by setting actionable steps toward a common goal.