Turning Around a Church Building Program Gone Bad

As the poet Robert Burns so accurately stated, “The best laid plans of mice and go oft awry.”. Even more so, plans go even more awry when they are not so well laid, especially in church building programs. If your church building program gets into hot water, or never seems to get off the ground, it may be time to regroup, and that my mean getting some outside help.

Building programs that never really get off the ground are certainly not uncommon. I know of churches that have had regular meetings for years (the record is 11 years) without managing to build anything. I heard of another church that went on long enough to have 2 building committee chairs die in office. If your building program is much talk and little action , it will inevitably be found to suffer from one or more of these four conditions:

Lack of real need,
Lack of good process,
Lack of effective leadership, or
Lack of faith.

The first and last are between you and God. A good consultant can help with the other two.

A building program that is in hot water nearly always will get there through a lack of proper planning. The three biggest mistakes that churches make in this regard are unrealistic expectations, failure to count the cost, and failing to objectively understand their needs.

I have been a part of rescuing building programs that were stalled or in hot water. Depending on the situation, the church may need to back up and do a full needs and feasibility study or at least an assessment to see where the building program got off in the weeds and to make the necessary adjustments to get it back on track. Having an outside authority come in and lead the church though an analysis not only helps get the church building program back on track, but will also help restore the confidence of the church membership. This analysis may require changing the scope of the building program to one the church can afford, or it may just help highlight and confirm what the church felt it needed, but did not have the objective evidence on which to make an informed decision.


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