January Building Update

Please read below for an update from Chief of Staff Tom Pilsch on our building expansion.
We are completing the design phase with our architects. On February 11, our building committee will present the design to the Session for approval along with a recommendation for selection of a general contractor. Upon approval, plans will be on display and available on our website.

Additionally our generosity campaign team, chaired by Jeff Skeen, has been developing a plan to gather resources to fund the expansion. Our team’s prayer chairman Eddie Isler calls us to prayer:

The generosity campaign that we, as a congregation, are beginning to undertake is a substantial step in the life of our church – certainly not too substantial for our God, who is capable of all things, but substantial nonetheless.

As we consider the months to come, how do we pray for the campaign?

  • May we pray first and foremost for God’s hand to guide, direct, and rest upon us (Psalm 127:1).
  • May we pray that the entire congregation (and especially the leadership) would never lose sight of the purpose of the building – to see God glorified and his song of redemption go forth throughout our community (Psalm 96:1-9; 1 Chronicles 16:23-29).
  • May we pray that our enemy never be allowed to get a foothold to bring about division as we go through this process (1 Peter 5:8-9).
  • May we pray to be reminded that he who brings forth manna in the desert (Exodus 16:4) and feeds the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26) will provide all that we need to sustain us and our families so that we need not fear giving generously (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

December Building Update

Please read below for an update from Chief of Staff Tom Pilsch on our building expansion.

Since our congregational meeting in October, we have worked with our architects to refine the design of the building expansion. This latest iteration incorporates much of the feedback we had received from the congregation and our ministries into a design that we are excited to move forward with. This design includes sufficient space for all of our students and children to meet simultaneously, additional family restrooms, and a shared space for our staff and congregation to gather. Adult ministry will have meeting space for both large and small classes including another “McLean Room” style area for adult gatherings. This design is almost complete and will soon be on display in the church.

We remain on schedule to break ground next fall, but ask for your prayers for the long and complicated permitting process between now and then. Please also pray for our architects and our committees as they work on various aspects of this process. I am constantly reminded that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement that keep our focus on our heavenly builder.
Our Generosity Campaign will begin in earnest in the new year, but we encourage you to consider getting a head start by designating a gift toward the building in your year-end giving for the “Future Growth Fund.”

Read below for more about this building project and to find answers to frequently asked questions.

Congregational Meeting Recap

At our October 20 multisite congregational meeting, 95% of our congregation voted in favor of expanding our McLean building. God graciously answered our prayers for unity and clarity of his will.

We now continue with the design and permitting process and begin our generosity campaign as we trust the Lord to provide the required resources. Stay tuned for updates. Scroll down to view more details about the building plans and the background for this project.

On to the next 75 years!


Do you have questions? Email Tom Pilsch or view our FAQs.


As we seek to continue to make disciples who make a difference, we are pursuing a modest building expansion that will allow us to continue to grow in depth of discipleship. This is the final phase of our McLean site, and will allow us to bring all ministries back to this building, expanding our capacity to offer grace-filled discipleship opportunities. Building concepts are available to review on site in the hallway between the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall.

Building Goals

  1. Secure children’s wing: single location with lockdown
  2. Student ministry on site
  3. Adult ministry space – education and care – on site
  4. Ample parking and admin space
  5. Budget of approximately 2x annual budget

Learn More & Give Feedback

Before we make any changes to our church home, we want to hear from our church family! Our elected leaders have been helping guide the process and we want every member to be able to participate in this process. Click here for a timeline.

  • The architectural drawings are displayed near the Welcome Center and available for your review.
  • Monthly Updates will be posted online and sent via the Weekly e-mail on Fridays. You can subscribe to this e-mail at mcleanpres.org/weekly.
  • Plan to attend one of our Town Hall Meetings in the fall. Keep your eye on the website and worship guide for dates and times.
  • At any point, feedback and questions can be sent to [email protected].



Church members took a survey regarding our space needs and the issues we were experiencing, and continue to experience, around classroom space and parking. In God’s providence, we purchased the house next door, 1026 Balls Hill Road, and continued to assess our needs and the options before us.


We received a first-round estimate to expand our building to accommodate 200 additional worshipers and found the cost to be quite prohibitive ($18M). This led us to explore other options, as well as pursue a multisite strategy that allows us to engage more of our area with the gospel.


In this year, we re-assessed our needs and began reviewing building options that would allow us to accommodate the necessary children’s ministry, student ministry, care and adult ed. resources for the current number of weekly worshipers that our building can support. We began pursuing county approval for this expansion.



How many square feet do we currently have? How many are we adding?
Current: 51,090 Adding: 26,266

How many parking spaces do we use today? How many are we adding?
We have 330 in our lot and use 75 at Cooper and 75 at the Mason Lodge, a total of 480. The construction will add 175 on our property for a total of 505.

Does this expansion meet all of our needs?
Ministries will have their core needs met by this expansion. There are some areas where we’d love to have even more flexibility, but this is the max we are allowed to build based on our property size and we are being intentional to ensure that our priorities for secure children’s space, on-site student space, and on-site adult ed. and care ministry space are being accommodated.

When will the expansion be completed?
The target is spring 2022, Lord willing.

Will there be a strategy to improve security?
The new Children’s Ministry area will be a secured wing with lockdown capabilities. We will continue to have FCPD officers onsite during morning worship.

How many children can be accommodated in the proposed building updates? What’s the difference in square feet between our current children’s space and what is being proposed?  
The new wing will accommodate approximately 225 children and increases the available space for children by over 1,500 square feet.

Who has been giving input into the design?
A committee comprised of women and men of the congregation, ministry directors, and other relevant staff members have been coordinating with the architects to ensure all needs are met.

Will there be a time for the congregation to comment on the design?
That time is now! Comments have been open since May 2019 and since then we have hosted four town hall meetings and Tom Pilsch, Chief of Staff, has met with individuals and Community Groups. Plans are available at mcleanpres.org/building and displayed on site near the McLean Welcome Center. You can contact Tom Pilsch with questions and comments at [email protected].


How did we arrive at the total of $12 million?
This is the amount that is required to meet our current needs. We want to undertake an expansion that will best fulfill our needs for all ministries. This amount is also 2x our annual budget and is a reasonable goal for us to meet our needs without incurring debt.

What happens if our fundraising falls short? How will we decide to take on debt?
Plan A is to raise the necessary funds in a two-year window and proceed with the full building expansion. We hope to raise $12 million over a two-year period without taking on any debt, relying on God’s provision and the response of our members.

Plan B, if the necessary funds don’t come in, is to approach the expansion in three stages:

1. Parking
2. New Building
3. Renovation/repurposing of the current lower level

We would commit to each stage only when it is financially responsible to do so. If necessary, a recommendation to take on debt would come from our Session and then be voted on by the congregation.

If I go to Fairfax or plan on going to a future site, why should I give to this effort?
We are one church working together toward the vision that the Lord has given us. We see this McLean site as fueling current and future sites through healthy, vibrant core ministries and robust administrative capacities. Additionally, we see this expansion as an opportunity to invest in generations to come. We currently stand on the investments of the generations before us for the last 75 years and we are excited to look to and invest in the future together in this season.

future planning & logistics

What has been the process up to this point? How was the decision made to expand and what planning has been done to this point?
This process began in 2016, when we surveyed the congregation in regards to our space constraints. Our initial conversation with architects yielded a Sanctuary expansion plan that would cost $18 million for only 200 additional seats. At that point, we began exploring our current multisite strategy as well as looking at other options to expand.

Since then, church members and staff have been assessing our needs and working with architects on this current expansion plan. The Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals granted approval in June 2019. Since then, we have hosted four town hall meetings and have met with individuals and Community Groups to discuss the plans. Engineering studies and plans are now underway and we are fine-tuning the building plans as we prepare to break ground and enter a capital campaign together next year.

How do we see this impacting the Kingdom?
We want a new generation to be brought to faith in Jesus and equipped to live for him. Our church has undertaken four building projects in our 75-year history, each time stepping out in faith and trusting that God would use their investments to grow the Kingdom in a way they would not see. It’s our prayer through this expansion that we will grow in depth of discipleship and be equipped to make more disciples who make a difference.

Are we anticipating growth beyond the next few years? At what point would we need to build again?
Our prayer is that we will continuing growing in breadth and depth, making disciples who make a difference, and that every 2 or 3 years we will start new sites and/or plants.  We anticipate that this will be the final building addition.

Rather than spend a lot on the current campus, why not accelerate new sites and church planting?  This would also us to establish more churches closer to where our people live.
This is not something we see as an either/or approach, but rather a both/and strategy. A healthy, growing campus here is what fuels new sites and planting. A church dies when it forgets its purpose of growing in breadth and depth; building and multiplying will allow us to facilitate and encourage more disciples who make a difference.

We hope and pray that this building will continue to grow God’s Kingdom, producing fruit for generations to come, something that is far outside of ourselves and will bring glory to God.

What will we do in the meantime without Cooper MS?
Cooper MS is scheduled to go under construction in spring 2020, at which point parking and classrooms will no longer be available to us. We are actively researching other options, including nearby Churchill ES which has the same number of parking spaces as Cooper and the potential to rent space.

How is this project being staffed so that current church leadership is not distracted?
Tom Pilsch has transitioned from his Chief of Staff role to solely oversee the building and fundraising. Ministry staff will be engaged periodically to ensure their needs are being addressed, but day-to-day needs will be handled by Tom and contractors.

What are the major milestones for this project?
• Congregational approval Fall 2019
• Capital Campaign Spring 2020
• Permitting with Fairfax County Spring 2020
• Hiring of General Contractor Spring 2020
• Demolition of 2 residential properties and the Lodge Spring/Summer 2020
• Grading of the property Summer 2020
• Parking construction Fall 2020
• Ground breaking for the building Fall 2020
• Completion of the new construction Winter/Spring 2022
• Renovation/repurposing of the current lower level Winter/Spring 2022

When can we start giving to the building fund? How do we designate these gifts?
Right now! You can designate “Future Growth Fund” on your checks or select “Future Growth Fund” on our online giving form at mcleanpres.org/give. Thank you for coming alongside us in this gospel work!

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Tom Pilsch
Chief of Staff
[email protected]