Who we are and what we do

Congregational Redevelopement Services (CRS) is a Ministry of The Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

We are here to help congregations discover solutions where mission and capital resources meet community opportunities.

The Challenge

Congregations face declining membership and income, while property value continue to increase. Leaders must balance these realities as they plan a path forward. Without expertise in community engagement and church real estate planning or even knowing what options might be available to them, many congregations fear their only choice is to sell the property and close the church.

There are other options

Over the last five years, Congregational Redevelopment Services has worked with 15 Eastern Synod congregations to find solutions that honour their visions and identify a clear and achievable pathway forward, providing options with the goal of increased financial sustainability.

Congregational Redevelopment Services

  • Helps congregations envision and implement renewed missions, including the goal of increasing financial sustainability.

  • Provides unbiased discovery, innovative option explorations and sensible economic feasibility studies.

  • Procures and partners with real estate, development, and other experts needed to create and implement a plan.

Phase 1: Taking Inventory

  • Assess all options, including collaborative community partnership, developing or selling the property, leasing it back, etc.

  • Ensure that mission is integral to the decision-making process.

  • Address emotional issues and potential sources of conflict.

  • Protect church interests in discussion with real-estate or property development groups.

  • Present go-forward concepts for congregational approval.

Phase 2: Building Capacity

  • Explore and choose partnerships

  • Assess real estate options.

  • Identify income opportunities.

  • Analyze  ownership and governance models.

  • Determine funding sources and create a financial pro forma.

  • Develop a project brief for congregational approval.

Phase 3: Implementation

During the final phase, CRS can oversee design and implementation of the project in collaboration with congregational leaders.

The degree of oversight will vary depending on the complexity of the project and your in-house expertise.

Project outcomes could range from creating a social services hub, to partnering with a developer to provide supportive or affordable housing, or something that has not yet been dreamed of!

80% of congregations surveyed would recommend CRS to others.

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