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Feasibility and the Church Facility Project

This is number 6 in a 10 part series on better building design. An often overlooked item on a building project is the simple question of feasibility and the true associated costs.

A reality eventually will always sent in.

We want to be just like this or that, we want to have it all, right now.

But life doesn’t work like that.

We need to look at the long game, make steps towards a goal and walk in faith towards what the Lord has for us.

When looking at a renovation or expansion this is often the case. It is easy to look at other ministries around us and think, I would like to be just like them.

Or we think, if only I had their resources... 

What really needs to happen is that you want to look at the needs of your congregation, your community and the unique calling that the Lord has place on your particular fellowship.

Unfortunately, what I see far to often is a church that is on process of doing an expansion, renovation or new build where one or two particular individuals are pushing their own agenda; Resources are garnered, often times taken from other ministry needs, or new resources are given that are then funneled into this “pet project”.

Forgotten in the process are the other needs that the ministry has. A project that has now been made financially feasible is not meeting the needs of the congregation or the community.

Another thing that I see happen on way too many of occasions is when expectations exceed what is  actually feasible to obtain. This often happens when the pastor or worship leader visits another church and sees a really cool set, or the sound is fantastic, or the building is beautiful…. They come back with the same expectation, usually not knowing how that other church they visited  was able to do it so well.

For example , maybe the pastor didn't know that the set was actually built by a volunteer that is a metal fabricator. And yes, it only cost $200 because most of the material was donated, and the volunteer donated his time, talents and tools. So, to recreate that set it would cost thousands of dollars in materials, numerous man hours and an expertise that does not exist in their own congregation.

I think also of the pastor that is frustrated by lack of a volunteer base that could potentially cut costs. There are those that either try, knowingly or unknowingly, to guilt people into volunteering. Or there are the leaders that simply fail to cast a vision and don't put in place steps by which people can engage, or the leader that so micromanages everything that volunteers feel useless and uneeded.

The biblical principle of counting the costs really applies to all of these situations.

What is the cost if:

  • We let a few dictate and do only their pet projects missing the needs of the congregation and the surrounding community.
  • We burn out volunteer with unrealistic expectations.
  • We underutilize volunteers and drive them away because they are micro managed.
  • We provide no vision to engage the congregation so they do not become involved.
  • We fail to take into account the toll and resources that a major renovation project will take spiritually and financially on the congregation.

The important thing is to lead, guide and even stretch the faith of your congregation, and yes, sometimes to dream big! But, don't forget to take into account the cost, and what the real feasibility of what you are endeavoring to do really is.

As a guide ask yourself this question, "Do you think God will be pleased if you complete your project and at the same time destroy relationships along the way?"

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