In a recent column, you talked about a strategy for
developing the church. That's where we want to go. But we seem to
have too many imponderables at the beginning: shall we sell
property? shall we keep our hall? and many more.
YOU probably have several key values and concerns, which may be
expressed as wishes and hopes, or even fears, but it will help to
write them all down, and try, together, to rate what is most
important to you.
I suggest that a group, preferably the PCC, brainstorms issues
such as: sell the hall, dispose of the church, keep the church
going as long as possible, make changes to reach out, and so on.
Then each person rates all these issues and values in order of
importance, using 1 for the most important, and numbering the
others from there. Add up the scores against each point, and you
will arrive at a collective rating that takes everyone's view into
There will need to be discussion. For example, if you dispose of
the church and worship elsewhere, then you will not need the church
hall; so selling it to develop the church is less of a loss than
disposing of the church. This is, however, a summary of values, not
a decision. It simply gives you a sense of direction. You should
now find out what is possible.
A solid strategy has solid foundations, so that decisions are
rational and informed. This is a research stage. Bring together the
quinquennial report on the church, and the statement of
significance; and prepare a statement of need, records of
attendance and giving, and a list of assets, such as a hall or a
With the latter items, which might be sold to help your church
development, more information is needed. Is the church able to sell
them, or were they donated in such a way that they revert to the
donor's family if the church stops using or needing them? For this
information, you may need to look at past records of the PCC,
records in the diocesan property department, and so on.
When you discover whether these assets may be sold, get them
valued by a professional, such as an estate agent, so you know the
potential market value.
Into this mix add an indicative budget from your quantity
surveyor and architect for a possible option for developing the
church building - I would recommend adding "modestly" - and you
have enough information to determine an outline for how you might
This brings you to a position where you can say: if we follow
our preferred values to keep and develop the church, it makes sense
to sell this property to enable us to do it, even though we would
need to move the church office to the church.
In other words, you now have enough information to lay out a
line in which decisions can be made sequentially and relatively
coherently, and will follow one another like falling dominoes. And
you can list them off and see the sense of each possible
Even as you lay out this preferred strategy, you will see that
there are moments when it may have to be modified further down the
line. The faculty process may affect design options. Money raised
may be less than the target, and you may need to phase works, but
at least you will be able to see a way through a series of
interconnected issues and decisions.