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Mark Twain is credited with saying, “distance lends enchantment to the view.”
When you see and experience something for the first time, you see things differently. This is often the case when I visit one of the many ELCA churches in the area. The staff and members know the ins and outs of the building. I experience something else.
“Where do I park?”
“Which door should I use?”
“Once inside, where do I go?”
In my travels to congregations, I find myself asking these very basic questions. It’s a delight to see a sign that says “Visitor Parking” and a door marked “Office Entrance.” Then I am at ease, knowing where to park and which door to enter.
Imagine a visitor’s experience on a Sunday. For us “regular” church goers, we know where we are going. It’s not that intuitive for someone new to your church. That’s one of the many reasons the Mission Investment Fund offers a Church Building Consultant service. Whether you’re building a brand-new facility, undergoing a modest renovation or identifying ways to be more welcoming by using space effectively, our Church Building Consultants can guide you through the process.
MIF Church Building Consultants help congregations assess building needs so that facilities effectively support the congregation’s mission. Church Building Consultants help ministries develop financial plans for new projects, recommend sustainable building practices, and offer practical suggestions to be more welcoming. They are also available to discuss steps in a building project, including funding options such as Mission Investment Fund loans.
Here are a few snippets from pastors who engaged a building consultant:
“The team from my congregation working to redesign our Narthex space had a wonderfully inspiring and productive consultation. The consultant’s energy, insight and experienced perspective gave us a lot to think about as we move forward.”
“I especially appreciated the focus from the viewpoint of visitors and the need to make sure that our building is a ministry tool rather than a monument.”
The value in an MIF Church Building Consultant lies in the fact that they are not part of your congregation. They will see things differently. They will put a voice to what your visitors wonder. Their perspectives will be fresh, practical and without pretenses. It might be time for a fresh set of eyes to offer some perspective on your church building. You can request a visit here. They will not only lend enchantment, but provide new ideas and practical guidance. After all, “the best things in life aren’t things.” (Art Buchwald)
LuAnn Ferguson, Regional Manager, Mission Investment Fund (MIF)
Mission Investment Fund is a ministry of the ELCA, providing special expertise in church building, loans, investments, and consultation. Learn more about how they can help your ELCA congregation or ministry at www.mif.elca.org.