We have just wrapped up a 2 part series on the 5 Consequences of Too Much Building. As part of that series, we scratched the surface of the issue of building too big from the get-go. We noted that this is generally done when proper planning is not performed or when the “build it and they will come” mentality replaces reasonable thinking.
When I talk about “proper planning”, I am referring to the fact that every church that plans to build a new facility has a budget; and as such, there is only so much they can afford as part of the next project. (PS: If you have an unlimited budget, please call me immediately as I have 3 kids in college!) What I have seen far too often is the project team plans and designs a facility to meets the churches desires, wishes and “perceived” needs; it is a grand plan and every component is thought through. The plan has the right amount of seating, incredible kids spaces, “Google-ish” office space, and world class commons.
What could go wrong?
It costs HOW MUCH?!?!?! – Yep, that is what can go wrong.
This is not the end of the world and it does not have derail the process…unless, there is no way to phase the project. As stated above, I am yet to find that one church on planet Earth that has an unlimited budget. As such, 99.9% of all projects have to be done in phases…sometimes many phases.
Welcome to reality.
I was recently with a friend of mine, Bob Bergman, when he made a statement that completely embodied the methodology of planning, design and construction I have been preaching for 31 years – “If it is Phase-able, it is Feasible.”
BOOM. BINGO. EXACTLY. THAT WILL PREACH!
Let me explain. This may seem intuitive and simple, but I have seen millions of dollars of design and building plans sitting in the corner of a pastor’s study with an inch of dust on them…for a project that was well intended, but not feasible.
As I describe in my book PLAN 4 IT, churches need to establish a Financial Master Plan before they start on the Facility Plan. By doing so, you will know your financial capability. If you, as the project team, start to develop the programming based on the church’s desires and needs, you will need a comparable benchmark (financial feasibility). If the budget capacity falls short of the programming needs, then you will be in a phasing scenario. As such, you need to prioritize the programming needs into financially feasible phases, then design with those phases acutely in the forefront of the teams mind.
Now…I fully believe that God can intervene and provide more funds than any of us can perceive. That is GREAT, but don’t plan the project with that as the basis for the project size and scope. Instead, plan your PHASING to take that into consideration. There is no law that says you can not build Phase 1 and Phase 2 at the same time if the funds are available. There is, however, a spiritual, physical and financial law that says you cannot build Phase 2 if you only have funds for Phase 1. Pretty simple…but hard to implement without proper planning and diligence.
Plan wisely…and phase-able.
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