Mission Lab

SBTC’s facilities consultation service gets warm reviews

February 9th, 2014 / By: Kay Adkins / comments

SBTC’s facilities consultation service gets warm reviews

KEMP—The facilities consultation service of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is a “hidden jewel that I wish more churches would get in on,” says Pastor Russell Bryan of First Baptist Church of Kemp.

The 130-year-old church meets in a multipurpose building on 21 acres the church owns. It includes a large meeting space and gym surrounded by Sunday School rooms and a kitchen, with an outlying building for student ministry. The congregation has grown significantly in recent years, filling up the auditorium and classroom spaces. So Bryan and church leaders began studying a 12-year-old master plan to decide the next steps for continued growth. Bryan said it became clear there were some oversights in the master plan.

Mark Yoakum, SBTC church ministries director, helped Bryan and his church better understand their circumstances and where they would be in 15 years if the present rate of growth continued. Yoakum and an architect who partners with the SBTC helped the church evaluate their needs and make master plan revisions.

Yoakum explained that SBTC churches can receive a one-day architect consultation free of charge. The SBTC provides the professional specialist with an honorarium and travel expenses paid for through Cooperative Program gifts.

Yoakam said, “We have nothing to sell, and we are not trying to push any professional services on the church—just unbiased evaluation. We will say what we see are the needs, and we can provide a list of recommended resources.”

Specialists in several areas of expertise are available, including sound, lighting and projection systems, remodels, and new construction. The sound, lighting and multi-media consultations are provided by five specialists who do worship technology visits. 

“Sometimes churches just need someone to train them on their equipment, and we do that too,” Yoakum said.

Remodel and new construction consultants include one construction manager and two architects who also have ministry backgrounds. 

“They are very spiritual guys and they understand Southern Baptist churches,” Yoakum said. If the church ultimately chooses to use one of the consultation architects, the church and the architect negotiate the fees for post-consultation services.

“Being this close to the [DFW] metroplex, there are lots and lots of architects,” Bryan said. “But you want to make sure you work with someone who has an eye for ministry. It isn’t just about enough parking spaces or how people will flow through the building, and it helps to work with someone who understands about ministry. That was what was neat about the help we received—a kindred heart for ministry.”

The Kemp church now has two master plans they are merging before they begin a capital campaign.

“The Lord loves his church and loves his people, and he has a desire to reach the community, and we want to have space for them. But at the same time, we don’t want to be building just to build. We will be using space off site as well,” Bryan added.

Regarding newer approaches to ministry settings, Yoakum said churches are doing multiple venues now—“maybe several different kinds of worship services will take place during a weekend like international, Hispanic, contemporary. They may all have the same preacher, but be different styles. Or they might have satellite campuses where each campus would have its own praise service, but the message is brought by one pastor through video.” 

These trends open up some more possibilities for churches to think through in their facilities planning.

To request the SBTC’s consultation services church leaders can complete an online Facilities Request Form at sbtexas.com/facilities.