Let me begin by saying that the Church today is in a very difficult situation. Trying to organize the construction of a new building is no doubt a situation in which you have little ongoing experience. This fact alone would not be so bad, except for the fact that the construction industry is continually changing, and is difficult to keep up with, especially for those not involved in it on a daily basis. Some people may argue that it is best for the Church to hire someone (for example an Architect) to do all the planning. These people may feel that planning is not the job of the church. There are however four great reasons for you, the Church, to do some planning on your own before you go out and hire someone to facilitate the design your new church;
#1 – PLANNING SAVES YOU MONEY!
Your ultimate cost is reduced greatly with effective pre-planning. This is ultimately a service of good stewardship for that which God has granted to you.
#2 – PLANNING REMOVES THE OBSTACLES!
Isaiah 57:14 tells us that we should build up! Prepare a way! Remove all the obstacles from our path! Effective planning is nothing more than removing the obstacles from our paths. Nehemiah from the Old Testament provides a wonderful example of how the Church should organize and plan in its endeavor to be successful in the tasks that God has laid out for us to accomplish. These Scriptures tells us that our obligation in any undertaking is to give our best, and to pre-plan for a new Church Facility is certainly part of giving our best.
#3 – PLANNING KEEPS GOD FIRST!
In Exodus 24 God renewed His covenant with the people of Israel. At the end of the period of recommitment before God, the people are instructed in Ch. 25 to prepare an offering for the building of God’s tabernacle. Then God provides exacting detail concerning every element which relates to the design and function of the tabernacle. From Ch. 25 – 31 God provides all the details concerning; The Ark of the Covenant, The Table of Showbread, The Golden Lampstand, Curtains of Linen, Curtains of Goats’ Hair, Boards and Sockets, The Veil and Screen, The Bronze Altar, Court of the Tabernacle, Garments of the Priests, Consecration of the Priests, The Sacrifices, Provision of the Priests, The Altar of Incense, The Anointing Oil, The Incense, and The Skilled Craftsmen. The real question is, why does God care about all those small details? Why didn’t God just tell Moses to build the facility and leave all the planning and details to the people?
The answer comes in Ex. 31:13 as God instructs Moses to, “speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My Sabbath; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.’” The Sabbath is the day of remembrance, and the temple is the building which provides the physical model of remembrance. God did not give all this detail simply to have a really nice building. God’s purpose was to glorify Himself and give the people something that would cause them to remember Him when they came together. In the same vein, God did not provide the detail to satisfy the needs of the people, the needs of the people were satisfied only as God was magnified.
As you plan your facility, keep in mind that God must remain at the center of all your plans. You should not decide to build a new facility because the old one is no longer adequate, God’s provision is never insufficient for His purposes. You must decide to build because it is in God’s plan for you, and doing so will bring the greatest glory to His name. Will your project be a memorial to your skill in fundraising, or the great teaching of your pastor, or will your new house of worship be a testimony to the greatness and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ? You must dedicate yourselves to plan so that God will be mirrored in every element of the building. If you fail to plan, you will fail to reverence God!
#4 – PLANNING IS OUR RIGHTEOUS SERVICE!
I Chronicles 28-29 is an incredible portion of the Scripture rich with ideas and principles which can help us see our own necessity of devoted preparation.
The first principle appears in 28:2-4 and shows us that not all leaders, or in our case churches, are called to build. David had a great desire to build a house of worship for God, yet God told him not to build. Your church may have a great desire to erect a new facility, but first you must make sure that it is in God’s plan for you at this time. And even if it is not time for you to build, God may choose to fulfill your dreams at another time, just as he did for David through his son Solomon.
Next, notice the admonition given to the congregation in 28:8; “So now, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the LORD your God in order that you may possess the good land and bequeath it to your sons after you forever.” Your Church must commit before one another, the community, and most importantly, before God to seek after His desire for your future. Serve Him in all things. Only then will God bless us with the opportunity to build Him a house. The blessings God will bring to our children and the generations to come depends solely upon our dedication to Him in every aspects of life. If you as a church hope to build a facility that is pleasing to God that will stand for generations to come, then the Body must be sure to, ‘observe and seek’ after God in the person of Jesus Christ.
Now to Solomon, there is also a warning to, ‘be strong, and courageous, and act’ which appears not once but twice in verses 10 and 20 of chapter twenty eight. David must invoke this message of encouragement because of the awesome nature of God’s call on Solomon. Even though God’s call is clear, we will encounter difficulty if we do not heed this message.
Each member of the Planning Committee, Building Committee, and most importantly, the Pastor, must be strong, and courageous, and act. You must be STRONG in your determination to fulfill God’s purpose for your church. You must be COURAGEOUS in the face of adversity and controversy within the congregation and the leadership. There will come times when you will disagree about the best course of action and there will come times when not everyone is made happy with the final decisions you make, but you must have the courage to stick with the Vision and Goals established for your church. You must ACT each day and during each gathering of the people to keep God at the forefront.
In chapter 29 verse one, David makes it clear that the purpose for the temple is not for man’s glory but for God’s [the previous point gives more insight to this idea]. Why is this important? David makes this observation all within the context of delegation of responsibilities. David observes that Solomon is too young and inexperienced to prepare for the temple, so David and the people must prepare in Solomon’s stead. God has given Solomon a vision for the future, but God still requires the congregation to absorb the many obligations of preparation.
“And moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple… Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?” 6 Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly…”
More will be said about the principles of finance exhibited here in Chapter 8 on page 113. For now, let us examine the principles of preparation established in this passage. David, as the leader, first made an example of himself in giving to the project. He simply did not come to the people and demand they give because God demands it. He first showed them what it meant to give out of joy and them asked them to contribute in kind. The leadership of your church must begin to example in every area, not just finances, what it means to give joyfully to God’s vision. When you give of your time and skill you consecrate yourself to God and his purposes. But the most important thing to remember in all your giving is that skill and money are simply a means by which we return to God what he has already given us. Dedication through preparation is recognition of God’s grace and blessing bestowed upon your life. I pray that David’s prayer in 29:12-16 would be the prayer of your church during this most crucial process of planning.
The above article is taken from our book which helps churches through the facility planning and construction process. If you would like to read more then download your copy of “A Comprehensive Guide to Church Construction” today!”