This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
When once it has been determined that a new church is to be erected, one of the first things to be considered is a proper site. A good location ought by all means to be secured. In a city the selection is often limited to a choice between two or three scanty lots; but it must be kept in mind in building city churches, as Bishop Asbury said, "If you are going to catch fish you must either go where they are, or where they are likely to come." But there are some considerations never to be lost sight of. Let the surroundings be such as will awaken only feelings of veneration. Often churches are built where the attitude of every building, and the uses to which they are employed are such as awaken anything but reverence, because they are discordant to every thought of Christian worship. Where circumstances will allow, other things being equal, a corner lot is much to be preferred, as it will allow the church to front on two streets, giving easy entrance and exit, besides affording better light and ventilation. Among the many other things to be looked after, due regard should be paid to a location where the service will not be interrupted by the rumbling of wheels over the hard pavement of the street, or the noise of passing street cars, or railroad trains. Avoid a proximity to buildings of such magnitude as will mar the architectural proportions of the church by their overshadowing uncomeliness, or will cut off a good supply of light and ventilation. Where space sufficient can be secured it is by far preferable to place the building back from the street, so as to afford space for an ample court. In large cities, where the cost of land is excessive, it is not always possible to stand the church back from the street, but the effect is often marred by this necessity.
It is often the case that a church site is tendered to a congregation free of charge. This may be a fortunate or an unfortunate event, according to circumstances. It is sometimes found to be the case that some wealthy parishioner desires to improve the value of adjacent property by the near proximity of a fine church, erected at the expense of others. In this way some men try to appear generous, while they are purely selfish. In the country, where land is comparatively cheap, the church should occupy the best site the vicinity affords. Let the space be ample, and by all means avoid barren, bleak, treeless locations, exposed to the driving storms and winds in winter, and the pitiless heat in summer. Let the location be central and desirable, not selected because remoteness and barrenness render it cheap.
When once the site has been determined upon, let the architect look over the ground and surroundings so that he may submit such a draft as shall be best adapted to that particular location, for a structure that would be adapted to one location might be entirely unsuited to another.