Lutheran Homes Kitchener-Waterloo, Outreach Services Program in support of Re-Imagining Church through Property Redevelopment and Renewed Mission. Called to love and honour the church and community, by assisting congregations to unlock their property assets for greater service, it’s a calling LHKW takes to heart.
With a proven track record in community care LHKW is once again responding to a need and opportunity that is real and growing in significance.
We know communities are being shaped by a confluence of demographic aging, shrinking traditional main stream church congregations—and related pressures on financial and congregational vitality, a shortage of affordable housing and emerging social needs particularly for the frail, elderly and low income citizens, those LHKW is specifically called to serve.
Through partnering with congregations LHKW is assisting these shrinking church congregations/populations to adapt to today’s market forces. These congregations have increasing demands to direct their shrinking revenue dollars towards physical infrastructure rather than expressing ministry/serving community through programming. LHKW believes it can assist in unlocking this economic value currently tied up in single purpose church lands and buildings and guide the creation of vibrant, relevant communities, where residents can age in a harmonious sense and experience community.
Essentially, LHKW sees a future whereby Church congregations transform their properties and aging physical church buildings and set about redeveloping or divesting/pooling their lands and buildings to serve the community better and differently. The physical church could form part of the broader community campus.
Statistics indicate that over the next 10 years 30% of the congregations across Canada will need to take a critical look at their property use and LHKW will be there to assist them. They will be recognized as congregations who would be open to exploring ways to unlock their balance sheet equity, reinvest their equity into the creation of vibrant community campuses where the target demographics can be served, and the physical church can be incorporated into multi-purpose community facilities incorporating a mix of rental and life lease residences, be they townhomes, condos or low rise apartment complexes.
Access to safe, affordable housing is an important determining factor for a person’s health. An established body of evidence links housing to health outcomes, and a variety of expert organizations and stakeholders have produced documents outlining the key role that housing plays in the health of individuals and communities.
LHKW will take a leadership approach providing a range of services assisting congregations in earlier stages through awareness to community engagements, property and missional assessments. Further supporting through the re-imaging stages of partnership development, proposal and project management and managing the redevelopment process. Finally, ongoing support will be available to include property and lease management, to provisioning of care services for seniors where applicable. Congregational sustainability and viability is foremost in the thinking of LHKW.
LHKW believes that this approach will lead to explore ways to re-invent the way congregations serve in ministry and reinvent for relevancy and future impact of church and community.
#1 Churches; numerous congregations are in decline and daily churches are facing closure. Affirming and support of congregational mission is at the heart of LHKW, who appreciates ministry may need to take new forms, using the assets as tools to unlock property value for greater service. LHKW is here to assist since we have the technical knowledge, necessary skills, supportive partnerships and the ability to sustain the kind of pace required to deliver a new outcome.
#2 Affordable Housing; many of our communities’ lack affordable housing for seniors and low income citizens. Affordable housing has many forms and even more definitions; however it’s about safe, secure and adequate housing whose cost allows a lower or middle-income household to meet basic needs.
#3 Health Care; delivery is changing in an effort to effectively meet the demands of our aged population. The Canadian health care system has faced its own trials in recent years due to a number of factors, including changes in the way services are delivered, fiscal constraints, the aging of the baby boom generation and the high cost of new technology. These factors are expected to continue well into the future.
LHKW begin its Outreach Services Program within the greater Waterloo area before moving geographically wider. With the support of its partner, the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada work is underway with many congregations.
Embracing change and having the confidence our forefathers exhibited in previous generations, while believing the message of the Scriptures is relevant today and will serve for the future, hope can abound and a promising future can be realized.
Teamwork and partnering can transform congregations for those who choose to seek a new and different ways to live out their vision, mission and values for the 21st century through property redevelopment. Congregations will need to reflect on their own identifiers and seek community engagement through this period of re-imagining. The outflow from these exercises defines how a church can be the catalyst for care, support and hope within its community.
LHKW will offer to aid congregations, through its service offerings, in the necessary and complementary missional discussions and road mapping that will bring about property repurposing as an extension of missions. Congregations that are choosing to make this change will be, faithfully stewarding that which has been entrusted to them, believing for a more hopeful future, and guided by the experiences and the services of a trusted advisor. LHKW is that trusted advisor with a proven track record through its own redevelopment known as Trinity Village.
Developing a new and viable Congregational Ministry Plan is an achievable outcome. Our approach carefully examines Mission from the view of a congregation’s current identity and augmenting it with a renewed community engagement, while unleashing its property value through a comprehensive phased Real Estate Property Plan.
LHKW understands the concerns facing congregations today and comes alongside the congregational leadership, leads the development of an overall plan, and has the ability to execute through to full implementation and offering post development support.
LHKW believes a successful end-state would be for the larger Church community being vibrant, energized, hopeful and affective, ministering to the needs of its target ministry. Since this end-state will most likely look different between congregations, the appropriate mix of professional services are available to bring the missional emphasis of the congregation together in synchronicity with the physical reimaging and repurposing of their property and its assets.
For this reason professional consultative services are shaped around assisting congregations with revisiting their critical missional questions, ensuring lasting success and a greater blend of innovation and flexibility, while engaging community support groups and the neighboring community in which the church physically resides.
The complexity of a redevelopment, from interacting with a congregation and the community, navigation of a partnership development, managing the construction processes while ensuring all appropriate processes are adhered to and ensuring funding is in place can be overwhelming for a church to undertake on its own. Appreciating each engagement will be unique unto itself; LHKW has developed a full complement of services that will assist in the physical transformation, redevelopment and reimaging of property.
Within the reimaging of a congregations property, opportunity may present itself for community partners who share common values and desire to expand or relocate to be involved in the development. Many of these potential partners wrestle with their own challenges ranging from lack of volunteers, constrained operational budgets, assistance in creating effective partnerships and lack of developable land that is affordable.
LHKW has puts strategies in place to achieve the goal of loving and honoring the church and community, through assisting congregations to unlock their property assets for greater service. Resources dedicated to this initiative assists congregations to remain good stewards of what has been entrusted while creating a strong legacy for generations to come. Successful reimaging stories are now emerging under the leadership of LHKW just as they have across the nation. The task is bold, challenging in nature and not without difficulty but we accept the call to action and understand the timing to be now.
Chief Strategy Officer, Lutheran Homes Kitchener-Waterloo