data from the Fact2000 study
With the vitality and growth shown by congregations, it is not surprising that many report a need for additional space. Although worship space is reported as a less critical need — perhaps because it is a priority in initial construction — almost half of congregations are in some or significant need of additional space for education and fellowship.
Congregations feeling the greatest pressure for additional space are located in the growing suburbs.
The most crowed facilities are directly associated with membership growth, Heavy use of the building is linked to increasing financial health, sense of vitality and number of regularly participating adults.
Many congregations outside the suburbs report more space than they need. Fortunately, many of the congregations with additional or unused room are located in communities of greatest need for human services in rural and central city settings.
They are uniquely situated to respond with space and facilities to provide faith-based social ministries to strengthen their communities, where no other such buildings may be available.
The need for additional parking presents a very different profile than the need for building space.
In all, 45 percent of congregations report the need for additional parking.
Older congregations, that typically have sufficient or surplus building space, are often land locked in their aging neighborhoods without parking space to accommodate their increasingly commuter congregation.
As a region, the Northeast feels the parking crunch most sharply.
The physical condition of congregational buildings is more solid than troubled. Some congregations, however, do face challenges in regard to the maintenance of their buildings. Problems are more evident in smaller congregations that are lacking resources and larger congregations that are overused than in mid-sized congregations.
The stronger the denominational tie, the better the condition of a congregation’s buildings. Perhaps this is an expression of denominational pride.