When Ministry Solutions connected with Grace Community, they were meeting in two different schools. Despite the challenge of finding a permanent property, the church had positive momentum and was growing. Grace Community has established robust local outreach in their community. They focus on providing for practical needs in the community and have been able to grow this ministry despite no physical location to operate out of. Although successful, their ministry model became tenuous based on the school’s discretion around meeting and worship. One of their school meeting places began renovations with very little notice and it became difficult for Grace Community’s ministries to function.
Ministry Solutions built a strategy with Grace Community 18 months ago to see what could be secured in this expensive real estate market. Together, we studied the church’s finances and real estate in the area. Lease rates were going for around $40 a square foot- a tall order for the amount of space Grace Community needed.
Ministry Solutions’ Team took Grace Community’s leadership through our Clear Path Forward two-day onsite and conducted a deep dive to:
- Listen to and discuss Grace Community’s vision for their future
- Reviewed applicable areas of expansion such as: amount of seats, family ministry space, parking, and other space-related needs
- With a comprehensive grasp of Grace Community vision, we applied options, costs, and potential funding strategies to their vision
- Constructed a high-level plan of how to move forward, molded by Grace
- Community’s specific culture and mission
The Clear Path Forward process probed Grace Community’s vision for their first ever home for worship. We secured not only the correct numbers and parameters, but also fostered conversations to understand the heart of Grace Community. We can find a space that meets the parameters, but the heart behind a church needs to be the primary consideration. Based on discussion around the vision, we garnered how much lobby, office, kid, and other core ministry space they would need, and the hopes for the ministry in these areas. With these conversations in hand, Ministry Solutions’ team created a prototype space. Frugality was key in Arlington’s expensive real estate market, and we did not want to waste even a square foot. We then began our search for real estate that would allow Grace Community to continue to pour into the community and furthering their mission.
Negotiating Through Challenges
The space did not come right away, and the months began to pass. Ministry Solutions and Grace Community reached out to other churches about acquiring or sharing property, but nothing came to fruition. Grace Community did not lose heart.
Finally, we began to see deals as a result of COVID softening retail leases, and buildings started becoming available. In an effort to get ahead of these trends, Ministry Solutions’ suggested a commercial realtor and led the interview process with Grace Community leadership. Together we found the right agent and passed along their unique building parameters. Ministry Solutions interacted with the agent regularly, making sure the parameters of square footage, adjacent parking, and ceiling height were taken into consideration for each reviewed property.
Several properties were located, but the one that emerged was the Ballston Quarter, a unique second floor mall property with tremendous potential! We looked at the space with Grace Community and did a test fit floorplan to determine if this building would work. Additionally, our team was able to negotiate the lease down to $20 per square foot and secure a tremendous price for this location. This is an outstanding rate at about half of the standard rate in the area.
From Dreams to Reality
At this point, one year had passed since we took Grace Community through our Clear Path Forward process. The building project was turning from a long-shot dream into a reality. The Ministry Solutions’ team re-examined budget requirements to ensure they were still correct, and implemented any changes to ensure the project plan is up to date. We took the prototype created during Clear Path Forward, and after configuration updates and a few rounds of feedback with Grace, we had a viable building project plan to move forward with.
We are excited to announce the Grace Community Church building project is now underway! Dave Benham’s drawings will be the beginning of this beautiful new location. We’ve partnered with Grace to secure and manage the project architect, engineers, and interior designers. Our team will regularly meet with Grace to ensure their vision is coming to life and they are pleased with this building project process. Ministry Solutions is excited to lead the process and ensure Grace Community’s new home stays on schedule and budget.
Our team is ecstatic for the leadership and congregation of Grace Community Church who have so faithfully prayed and waited for this space. When real estate didn’t appear immediately it would have been easy to lose heart, but they did not. Their trust in us and more importantly their trust in God allowed this space to be discovered, negotiated, and designed to be the right place for The Grace Community Church family. They will continue to be a multi-site church, and this second-story space will be home base for worship, ministry, and broadcast.
After 20 years of being a nomadic church, Grace Community Church has found a home.
“Your team developed a beautiful, pragmatic design that will serve us well. It meets all our requirements while maintaining affordability. Dave did a wonderful job with the design. Everyone is very excited with how he manifested the vision.”