Step 2 Finding the Land and Master Planning
Finding the land is the next step in the process. I have a previous post outlining some pitfalls to watch for so take a look at that but consider the Vision and Mission and what may be required to reach the goals listed there. The location and size of the property have everything to with the Vision and Mission of the church. For instance if serving a particular neighborhood or area of the city is crucial to your ministry then locating far away makes no sense, unless the Vision considers long-term growth and a need for a ministry in the future in that remote area. Having a rough idea of the program for the master plan is critical at this point. Rudimentary land planning should be performed on any site being considered for purchase, too often the architect is brought in after the land has been purchased and there is little to do but make it work.
This is a good point to answer a question you may be asking yourself, when do we hire the architect? We have been hired at the beginning and have helped communities develop their Vision and Mission, we have been hired after the land has been purchased and everywhere in between. All churches would benefit from land planning performed by an architect prior to the purchase of property unfortunately this does not always happen.
Land Planning and Master Planning can be very different tasks or they can be an integrated process that builds on the Vision and Mission. Land planning in this due diligence period is about studying the land for the capacity of building and parking in relation to zoning and land features that may limit the use of the property. Having the architect do this planning with the help of a civil engineer can quickly identify suitable properties that will meet the Vision and Mission of the church not just the rough calculations of area. Relying on engineering alone typically will not address the church specific planning aspects that can only be known by designing church buildings.
The master plan is the graphic manifestation of the Vision and Mission. The process of planning can be delivered in a Charrette format, see discussion in previous post or in a more traditional longer repetitive process of meeting, design and review. The process of Master Planning looks at near, mid and long-term potential growth of a church community to verify if the property can support the Vision and Mission of the church and to provide a road map for growth. Having the master plan in place allows the church community to dream and say look this is our future come grow with us. The Master Plan is a draft document that needs to be reevaluated on a regular basis. Depending on the growth of the community, reevaluation the plan every 5 years or as the Vision and Mission change will assure that the mid and long-term goals for a facility remain aligned with the Vision and Mission of the church.