The most important task for any parish is to try to work through, honestly, objectively, and prayerfully, what it means to be the people of God in their own community, location and circumstances. So working on a mission statement for the parish is the first step, which must underpin any proposals to change or develop the building. But if new activities, and reordering of the building, do seem the right way forward, these pages should help you.

Remember though that every church building really is unique, as is its community. Some churches are best suited to remaining in their traditional use: a quiet place of prayer, without additional activities. Others thrive on encouraging a busy and varied range of activity throughout the week. Both models, and the whole spectrum in between, are equally valid; what matters is that they are carried out with care, sensitivity and conviction. But what is right for one context may not be right for another, however similar the circumstances may seem to be. It is important for each parish to assess what is right for it - not for its neighbour down the road.

If you want to develop your church building and open it to the community for activities beyond regular worship - whether this means hosting a project, service or commercial activity, or helping to fulfil a local need - you will need to sit down first and think your proposal through. Careful planning at the beginning is essential to ensure the success of the project.


You may find helpful the toolkit 'Crossing the Threshold' prepared by HRBA in collaboration with the Diocese of Hereford. This toolkit, revised and relaunched in November 2017, is a step-by-step guide to developing your place of worship for wider community use and managing a successful building project. You can download the whole document or individual chapters by following this link to the Diocese of Hereford website:


Historic seating can be significant in its own right as well as contributing to the overall significance of the church building, and whilst replacing pews with chairs can seem an attractive idea it can have a major impact on your church's interior. The CBC recommends a step by step approach to assessing your church seating and you can find it here: Assessing the Case for New Heating


You may be considering sharing your building with other Christian groups or community groups. The CBC has guidance on how to make more imaginative and strategic use of your building to open it up to the community and encourage more people to cross the threshold. You can find it here: Sharing Your Building They have also produced a guidance note on legal options for the complementary use of church buildings.

[Page updated 18th Aug 2022]

Our Church Buildings Adviser, Keith Halliday, can offer advice, ideas, and put you in touch with other churches who have successfully developed their church building. He can be contacted on 01904 699523 or email:

Suggested Reading

Re-Pitching the Tent: The Definitive Guide to Re-Ordering your Church. By Richard Giles (2004). Canterbury Press.

Buildings for Mission: A Complete Guide to the Care, Conservation and Development of Churches. By Nigel Walter and Andrew Mottram (2015). Canterbury Press.