Q: Are other members struggling in the religious market?
A: Yes they are. I was speaking to a couple companies about this recently who are both convinced that the level of giving (which is way down in most churches) directly impacts their worship market business. They believe that the reduction in home equity, retirement portfolios and less discretionary spending keeps this market stuck where it is. The good news is the pent-up demand is extremely strong as every facility wants something new or improved. High demand – low available funding.
I have a slightly different twist on this, but it ends up in the same place. As I review the level of construction put in place since 2006, the largest decline is in the religious sector. We’ve gone from a high of 50 million net square feet of new worship facility construction in 2006 down to 15 million in 2010 and 2011. It’s predicted to remain this way throughout 2012 as well. So, why do we see a new mega-church being built in every city we pass through? I can’t really explain that, but on the surface the market seems healthy, yet the construction numbers don’t lie. It could be that these churches are being built in more visible locations.
Don’t give up on the worship market. Be smart and strategic, and position your company for future business by offering superior service on what your customer can afford. This market should rebound nicely as we climb out of this economic slump. Capital campaigns will resurface, additions and renovations will happen quickly and then the new construction will follow. Remember the pent-up demand and keep in mind every church you pass by wants something new and improved. They just can’t afford it…yet. — CW