The Post-Construction Blues

Few projects excite and galvanize a congregation more than a new building or a major renovation. People complain about construction delays, capital campaigns, and the general din and dust, but their blood pumps, their wallets loosen, and their enthusiasm rises. Lyle Schaller went so far as to generalize that congregations that build capital are happier than those that spend it. Most congregations in the midst of a construction project illustrate his point: as they convert their members’ cash into real estate, their spirits rise, peaking at the dedication service.

But what happens then? Usually there is a period of euphoria. Occasionally a congregation goes on from strength to strength without a pause. More often, though, there is a letdown, a period of slump in finances, in program, in morale: the post-construction blues.

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