The church (written in lowercase) is a building or a space dedicated to the liturgical service. This is what the Holy Apostle Paul had in mind in his first letter to those in Corinth, in verses such as: “I hear that when you gather in the church, there are divisions among you” (I Corinthians 11, 18); “if he is not an interpreter, let him keep silent in the church and speak only to himself and to God” (I Corinthians 14, 28).
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Church?
When talking about the cost per square foot to build a church, you should know that this is influenced by various factors such as the size of the construction, location, budget, finishes, design, the existing conditions, contractors you hire, landscape you’re building on, and collaborators.
The average cost of building a church is somewhere around $120 per square foot, but we will go into detail about this in the rows below.
The table below gives the price estimates for a church with data from 2021:
|% of Total
|Cost Per SF
|Total Building Cost
Factors that affect the cost of building a church
Size and location
According to several online sources, the average size of a church is 17,000 square feet. It can be located in a family center, in a building that underwent a major renovation, or it can be a new construction on existing church campuses.
Total project budget
There are some other costs you need to consider besides the cost of construction itself. These are named “Soft Costs” and, in general, amount to 25% to 40% of the total project budget. These would include everything from permits to lighting, audio, thematic design, and visuals. So, if the construction costs around $4 million, it can be translated into $5 million or more in total project budget cost.
The expenses you can afford
Before designing the future church, you should determine how much you can afford to spend.
Some of the many design factors that influence the cost per square foot of a church include the ceiling heights, the number of walls, and the square footage. The cost will vary greatly between a building that is twenty-two feet tall and one that is twenty-five feet tall.
The cost to build a new church will be greatly affected by the overall feel and look of the space, flooring types, trim, and countertops.
The costs will be affected by the state where you want to purchase or build, and the type of land you want to build on. It is recommended to spend some money on a site plan before purchasing raw land.
You can save anywhere between 10% and 15% on your church building project if you have a good collaboration with all the parts involved in this. For instance, you may save $500,000 to $750,000 on a $5 million project.
Before you can worship in your church, you will need to work with an army of people. The overall cost will be greatly affected by your key partners.
Church building types
The construction shape of the churches, as well as the division of the interior, was closely linked to the needs of divine worship. As is known, the Church has a precise functionality, namely that of serving as a place and framework for the fulfillment of divine worship which, through its component parts, through the totality of rites and ceremonies, with their rich theological and symbolic significance, seeks to reproduce the history of our salvation, the life, and activity of the Savior Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints.
The earliest form used in church architecture was the elongated or rectangular one, recommended by the Apostolic Constitutions since the 4th century. This form, which predominated in church architecture at its beginnings, reminds us of Noah’s ark.
The second and most widespread form in which Christian churches are built is the cross form, either inside or outside, symbolizing the truth that Christian teaching, as well as public divine worship, which has the Holy Liturgy at its center, is founded on the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ on the cross.
The least widespread and used in church architecture was the round shape. Although this form suggests perfection, the Church being the “pillar and foundation of the truth”, as the Scripture says, it was still used rarely, especially considering that Christian churches do not resemble heathen theaters and temples built in this form, as well as for the fact that such a form did not allow the traditional division of the church into sanctuary, naos, and ante-temple.