by: Jeff Poppinga
Several years ago when our church began a building project I felt compelled to offer some guidelines to help navigate the process. Although I have never been part of a building project and do not consider myself very knowledgeable in the particulars of the building process, I do understand the right attitudes which must be encouraged and maintained to keep the congregation in tact and on track through the process.
I have heard of building projects which divided congregations, drove off leaders, and left churches in disarray. I have heard of building projects which have led to destruction rather than construction. So, as Faith Baptist embarked on a building project I presented some principles to GET it right. These are the things I shared:
If we are to GET it right we must......
G--Glorify God in all we do! The glory of God is to the goal of the church and everyone involved in the church. "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1Cor 10:31). "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen" (Rom 11:36). If we are to build we must do it in a way that is glorifying to God. We must glorify God in the way we pay for the addition, plan the addition and purpose to use the addition.
E--Edify one another in all we do! To edify is to build up. In other words we cannot build a building up and at the same time tear people down. We cannot build a church building while neglecting or tearing down the church body. The church is not first a building but first a body of believers. If we are to go through a building process and glorify God we must edify one another through the process. We edify one another when we speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). We edify one another when we humble ourselves and give preference to others (Phil 2:4). We edify one another when we seek God together and forsake personal agendas.
T--Testify to our community in all we do! To testify is to give witness. When a church builds, the community watches and listens. When a community watches and listens, they see and hear what is happening within the church body. When a church is seeking to glorify God and edify one another in the process of building they leave a good testimony for the surrounding community. When church members begin to complain about giving for the project, complain about details of the project, or complain about the leadership of the project those complaints typically find their way into the public arena. A building project should be an opportunity for a church to show the community how believers can sacrifice and serve the Lord together, thus testifying to the community about the goodness of God. A building project is an opportunity for us to show the community what God values most.
These are the overarching principles we have sought to follow throughout our building process. Lord willing, we will move into the actual building phase this year. Lord willing, we will continue to Glorify Him, Edify One Another and Testify to the Community to the end of this project and beyond.
Glory and Praise to God
Grace and Peace to you,
Pastor Jeff Poppinga