(5 steps to get back on track)
It never ceases to amaze us how many churches have drawings for projects that never made it into construction. Sometimes a pastor will proudly pull out a set of drawings, now representing more of a hope than a vision. Some pastors share them sheepishly because there is pain and embarrassment about not moving forward. The reasons for the death of the project include congregational splits, unforeseen mergers, a pastor/administrator’s departure, etc. But, by far, the number one reason for not moving forward is because the church couldn’t afford the project.
If you find yourself in that situation, here are 5 steps you can take to get back on track:
- Understand what you can really afford – This is probably the easiest step. At this point, you know what cash you have on hand and you know what you can borrow. Remember that there will be costs beyond the building. Establish the budget for the project, not just the building.
- Revisit your Vision – It is easy to get off track during the design phase. Take this opportunity to get back to what you felt your church is called by God to accomplish. Establish how the future will be different because of your ministry.
- Prioritize your Needs – Using the Vision as the driver, decide the priorities that must be addressed first to move toward accomplishing your vision. Establish priorities.
- Step back: This is the hardest step. Establish the resolve to start afresh.
- From the design – You have fallen in love with the look and feel of the new facilities as you’ve understood them from drawings and models. Ownership of the design has set in because you’ve spent tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars to get here. Give them up! It doesn’t mean all the programming and other work is wasted, but the worst mistake you can make at this point is to try to jam a square peg (the design) into a round hole (the budget). The design for a 50,000 sq. ft. facility that started out at 50,000 sq. ft. is very different than one that’s been cut back from 75,000 sq. ft.
- From your partners – It’s time to assess your team, internal and external. Is everyone still focused on the Vision? Do you still have a sense of community (not necessarily unity)? Do you still believe in the competence and character of the people you’ve hired to serve you? If not, stop! And reorganize. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
- Move forward in Reality – Now, take that knowledge and move forward. Establish next steps.