Having basic idea on church construction concepts can go long way in saving money, when you plan for church construction project during this hard recession times. It is common knowledge that other than square or rectangle, other church design shapes construction would be costly. This is so because most construction materials like clay bricks or cement bricks are rectangle or square shape. Using the whole blocks as such for construction would be easy rather than redesigning the blocks, so going for square or rectangle church design would save your money substantially and at same time, prevents wastage of construction materials. Be sure to mention the shape you desire to the church architect so as to make plan accordingly.
Value engineer all the constructions, drawings with your general contractor, this can save you lot of money and also the project would run more efficiently at lower cost than the plans you show.
While ordering furnishings like pulpit furnishings, sanctuary seatings, window frames, etc, check out with your vendors for special discounts, also inquire if they have any offer/ deals for specific designs which would save you some money.
It is also good to check out recent cancelled furnishings which may suit your requirement and you can get the same for very cheap price.
For items like office furnishings, carpets and window decorative items, go for shoping at local state vendors or check online if any dealer is providing free shipping,which in turn can save you some money.
Finally, discuss full details with church architect, church contractor and have periodic meetings with them to hear their recommendations and status of work going on, so as to have first hand knowledge what is happening.