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3Circle Church experiences 30% growth after 3 months in new building

3Circle Church Case Study

3Circle Church

Each church needs a plan to grow their ministry capacity. Most of the time this includes building plans. Instead, churches waste millions every year on solutions not suited for their situation. It doesn't have to be this way. 

Meet 3Circle

Located in south Alabama, 3Circle Church is a fast-growing church with a passion to make disciples “locally, regionally, and globally.” They are consistently one of the fastest-growing churches in the country, and a top church in Alabama. 

Pastor Chris Bell joined the team as Lead Pastor in 2012. Under this leadership, the church went from 1,000 attendees to 3,500 in just four years. 

Growth means more people hear the hope of Jesus. It also means more space is needed to accommodate the continued growth. 

3Circle Church 1
3Circle Church 2

The Attempt at Expansion

The team at 3Circle church used an Alabama-based design-build firm. Unfortunately, the project was done beyond the original specs. As a result, the church paid over $1 million to fix the problems left by that firm's plan. 

With that lesson in the rearview mirror, the team sought a better way. Greg Morris (Generis) introduced the pastoral team of 3Circle Church to the experts at Ministry Solutions.

Challenges

During the initial analysis, Ministry Solutions discovered three key challenges:

  • With a $12 million budget, the only building plan 3Circle had in hand would cost $15 million. This can create a long term burden on the church. 
  • Their weekly attendance is 33% children, meaning they required a significant space allocation to family and children’s ministries.
  • Having just 300 uncovered parking spots was problematic. It was a problem both in terms of traffic and weather in a rainy southern climate.

With reality defined, a plan was conceived. 3Circle needed more space for children's ministry and more parking. Typically a church building project doesn't start here. But building solutions should relieve the greatest pain points faced by the church. In this case, it required a more creative approach. 

Focus on the Children

Instead of expanding worship center space, the plan started with the children's ministry need. Shifting the focus meant the priorities of 3Circle Church stayed at the forefront of the project. 

Success means looking for a win-win solution. Here it meant meeting the needs of families while also creating the right budget. Building a brand new building wasn't the right approach. It was too expensive. 

Instead, a second floor would be added to the existing building. Thirty thousand feet could be renovated and a 12,000 square foot worship center created. With this new, creative solution, 3Circle would get:

  • 25,000 more square feet of space for $3 million less than originally budgeted
  • A 12,000 square foot worship center with an expansive lobby
  • A large children’s space with first floor access for drop off and pick up
  • Sufficient parking space
  • State of the art media and technology
3Circle Church
3Circle Church
3Circle Church

Funding the Vision

The first lender gave 3Circle a mediocre deal. Ministry Solutions created an executive summary for the project. This document alleviates the concerns of lenders by showing the funding strategy for the project. And, since the new project budget was lower, lenders were far more favorable in their terms.

With assistance from Generis’ One Fund led by Greg Morris, 3Circle secured a 10 year fixed rate of 3.89% from the lender. 

Ministry Solutions provided translation between lenders and the church, articulating the nature of One Fund and securing financing earlier than anticipated. Ministry Solutions help 3Circle get funded faster with more competitive offers than they could get on their own. 

Ministry Solutions saved 3Circle Church enough money to renovate their north campus for about $1 million. The money saved on the main facility added 550 seats at an additional campus.

Ready to Reach South Alabama and Beyond

3Circle Church partnered Ministry Solutions for a series of services, including:

3Circle was a great example of a common problem: churches being burdened by ineffective and cost-prohibitive solutions. Instead, what they needed was a team of experts who knew how to find the right plan for their needs and their budget. 

With more seats, expanded parking, and an expansive children's ministry area, 3Circle is now poised to further fulfill their mission. 

3Circle Church Case Study
"Ministry Solutions is one of the best organizations I’ve worked with.  They helped us make better decisions that led to a great project.  Our partnership with them was a game changer."

Chris Bell
Lead Pastor, 3Circle Church