Rebuild: What Do You Do When The Church Burns Down?

Despite the tragedy of the fire, a great number of friends stepped up to support the church and allow them to continue holding services while the church could move forward and rebuild.

Rebuild: What Do You Do When The Church Burns Down?
Grace Point Church, in San Antonio, Texas, shortly following a fire that destroyed their church building (left), a sketch of the reconstructed worship center (center), and the space being used for a recent worship service (right).

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Rebuild: What Do You Do When The Church Burns Down?

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Insurance and Internal Struggles

Then the doldrums.

Fifteen months of displacement, departmental assumptions, poor communication, fluctuating timelines, dashed expectations, and adding a fourth Saturday service to accommodate everyone.

I think it might be worth each church reassessing their insurance coverage. Ours was woefully underestimated, years after the policy was in place. There was decent coverage for our up and running costs, but the coverage on the actual building was bonkers and backwards.

There was a bucket for structural things and a bucket for contents, materials that go in the building. The structural bucket was pretty big, but the contents bucket was way, way, way too small for a church of our size.

So a conversation with one of the guys that comes and looks at our burnt stuff would go like this:  I would say this rack is structural,” and he would counter, “If you flipped the building over would it fall out?” I would reply, “It would, but by that definition our lights would be structural, since they are attached,” after which he’d say, “No they won’t, because if you left, you would take it with you.”

I would then be left saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, you can’t change the definition on what’s what just to suit you.”

Multiply that by a bunch and you get yourself a stress headache.

Rebuilding a Church

I really loved it when it came to for the design phase for rebuilding Grace Point Church.

We were able to rethink our worship, lobby and office space. I was able to redesign our worship center to be more inclusive and hospitable.

Along with Ryan Brown, the student pastor, we totally redesigned the office space. Before the fire, our offices received no natural light and it was just kind of gross how unkempt and cobbled together everything was. Honestly, it was a huge turnoff for myself and anyone looking to join the team, knowing they would then spend a third of their life in there.

Grace Point

We went from grubby little hobbit holes to a combination of larger collaborative open spaces and smaller private places to get work done.

Grace Point

We used a free program called Homestyler that was pretty neat and helped us cast vision to all of the staff and contractors or what we were thinking.


More About Nathan VonMinden
Nathan VonMinden is the creator of www.VisionMakersCourse.com, and has produced and directed hundreds of short films and the award-winning feature documentary Uganda Man (2011). He has spent the last 13 years serving in large churches as a full-time filmmaker and live producer. He currently serves the church by producing films, lyrics videos, and live production. Nathan is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently producing new films about Bible Smuggling and the Challenger disaster. Feel free to email Nathan with any questions or ideas at nathan@visionmakerscourse.com.
Get in Touch: nmvonminden@yahoo.com    More by Nathan VonMinden

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, September-October 2017
The September-October 2017 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers a glance at a Granger Community Church, and their recent install of a Lawo audio mixing console system.


Article Topics

Team Management · Budgeting · Leadership · Spiritual Health · Volunteers · Communication · Creative Arts · Experience · Grace Point Church · Insurance · Ministry · All Topics

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