It was a typically warm and sunny four days in Orlando, Florida, as roughly 60 ministry leaders representing local congregations, parachurch organizations and marketplace professionals gathered in a national prayer summit with the Prayer of Jabez serving as a focal point of prayer, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” (I Chronicles 4:10a).
Oh, the many times we as pastors have prayed that prayer with the desire that God would bless our ministry and grow His church! And when He does, and we find ourselves facing the prospect of a building project to accommodate the blessings of God, often the Prayer of Jabez becomes the Prayer of Jesus, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me!” It’s as if nothing can bring church leadership to their knees faster than the prospect of a construction project of one sort or another.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
As you consider a construction project for your church or ministry organization, we would recommend that you take into account at least the following:
• Be vision-driven as well as purpose driven.
Much has been written in recent years about being a mission driven or purpose driven church. “The Purpose Driven Church” by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Valley Community Church in California has nearly become a handbook for growing healthy churches. Being mission driven or purpose driven is imperative. Your mission or purpose statement tells the world why you exist. And it doesn’t stop there. You must also develop a strong, concise vision statement as well. The difference? In addition to stating why you exist, a vision statement tells the world your understanding of what God wants you to do. Work with a firm that, at the least, understands your vision and, at most, can assist you in clarifying it.
• Work with a firm that can deliver a comprehensive solution for your ministry expansion needs.
Do you need to acquire and/or dispose of property? Have you conducted an adequate financial feasibility study so that you know from the beginning what you can and cannot do with your project? Are you prepared to deal with governmental authorities and ordinances? Do you need a new building or are you better off expanding an existing one? Will the architect you’ve chosen work in harmony with the contractor you’ve chosen? Do the firms you’ve chosen understand ministry or do they only understand building buildings? Can they provide ministry consulting as well as construction consulting? Do you need assistance with financing and/or fundraising? What about occupying, managing and maintaining your new facilities? And, when God blesses you more, have you thought out a workable exit strategy?
Choosing one firm that can provide solutions to these and other pertinent issues will save you time and money. Anything less could result in delays and the potential of increased costs.
• Appoint or hire a project manager to represent you.
Who in your church is qualified to serve as a project manager representing your best interests? Rarely is the pastor qualified for such a daunting task. Ephesians 4:11-16 tells us that God called your pastor to your congregation to equip the people to do the work of ministry. How can the pastor do that primary job of equipping effectively and be expected to manage a construction project at the same time? Very few are able. Fewer are called.
Find someone from your congregation or your community that will best represent the wants, needs and desires of the congregation according to the vision it has been given by God. Let this person work with his or her counterpart from the firm you have chosen to do all of the work. The chances for miscommunications are minimized; the chances for getting the job done right, on time and on budget are maximized.
Jesus said, “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” These are just a few ideas that will allow you to focus on your ministry calling while God blesses you. Choose the firm that will assist you in this task. Ask questions. Choose wisely. And may God continue to bless you and enlarge your territory.