“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
– Proverbs 19:21
A popular movie from a few years back had the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.” This is how we sometimes approach constructing a church building today. We feel that if we have a newer, bigger, state of the art building, people will flock to our church. “The other church down the road built a new building and they are doing well. We need a building just like them!.”
It is interesting how we can take the Lord’s house and turn it into just steel, bricks, and lumber. There is no formula for building your church, although there is a plan. That plan is God’s plan and we need to seek it. I am amazed at the number of churches who are starting to plan a building expansion or relocation without any mention about God’s direction in their planning.
I know that telling you to pray about God’s plan for your church is not a big revelation or groundbreaking theology, but by it is overlooked by a lot of church leaders. When you pray about a building program here are some specific items to pray for:.
- Pray that God would provide leaders to work on the building committee. The people that will serve on the building committee will serve for one, two, three or more years! So seek out the right individuals, people who will be committed to the cause, willing to work as a team.
- Pray for what kind of ministries God wants you to provide. Children, youth, seniors, singles, seekers, and educating the flock. These are all examples of specific ministries that require different types of building spaces. Having a clear definition from God as to your church’s mission will make your planning decisions much easier.
- Pray about the architect and builder that God wants you to use. It is wonderful to have a committee tell you that they have selected you after prayerful consideration. That instills confidence and testifies to the fact that the Lord is involved in the overall plan and He is in control.
- Pray for the congregation. You may or may not be introducing cutting edge ideas to your congregation. Whether you are or you aren’t, one thing is certain – people resist change. Pray that your congregation will have a receptive spirit and pray that the building committee will be able to clearly communicate the vision and plan so the congregation may understand.
- Pray for integrity and a Christ-like attitude in your business dealings. Problems occur. It is a fact that during a building project problems will come up. Handling these problems with wisdom and maturity will speak volumes about your faith to the professionals you deal with. You can be firm in your business dealings but you must not let possible volatile situations explode.
- Pray for safety of the workers. Construction can be a dangerous occupation. Safety is extremely important.
- Pray for the salvation of the workers. The majority of construction workers are not Christians. When is the last time you had 20 to 50 unsaved, unchurched people come to your church everyday for six month to a year? When construction starts you will have a mission field right outside your door!
Of course, there are many other things you can and should pray for. Prayer before you start a building program is imperative. Whether your project is fifty thousand dollars or ten million dollars, it is all wasted money if the Lord is not directing it. Remember to continue praying throughout the project. Start your building meetings with prayer to remind the committee that the building is not about bricks and mortar but bringing people to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Beginning the building process whether planning or building can be a scary, worrisome proposition. Prayer will/can bring us comfort. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”