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In building your church, remember that just as there are gifted pastors and teachers, there are also gifted builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. Just as various craftsmen were used to build God's temple in the Old Testament, you will need to use many different types of laborers to build your place of worship.

Whether your building is to be large or small, you will want to choose talented people who can help you build your church building according to the vision God gave you. Don't be afraid of working with people; they are your greatest asset. If you make the right people-choices, your building program will be a pleasure.

There are many different ways to build churches. Your first responsibility will be to decide whether or not you're going to form a building committee. A building committee is not a must, but it can be a great help in some situations.

Building Committee
If you decide to form a building committee, you then must determine the committee's responsibilities. For instance, the committee could be in charge of any or all of the following:
  1. Financing
  2. Selecting the architect
  3. Selecting the builder
  4. Selecting the engineers
  5. Building colors
  6. Building style
Because of the building committee's responsibilities, it will be helpful to you as the pastor to have people on the committee with construction experience, who have also worked on other building projects. Also, it's important that the members of the committee all work well together and are committed to seeing the project through to completion.

Additionally, make sure that none of your building committee members have business or personal problems that could keep them from fulfilling their obligations. (It could become a major problem if a key member of the committee has to resign right in the middle of your building program.)

Building-Contract Options
There are several different ways a building can be contracted out. These options should be discussed with several contractors to find the option with which you feel most comfortable working.

Realize that the primary objective of most businessmen is not to save souls. They are in business to make money. Their job is to sell you on their company, and their methods of construction usually give them an advantage over you, the consumer.

So be wise in your dealings with contractors. After you have studied your plans, chosen a contractor, discussed the plans with him, signed contracts, and are ready to build, do your best to hold the contractor to a firm price. Do not let him add extras. It is to your advantage to get a complete price up front.

1. Construction-Management Method
One building option is the construction-management method. Using this method, you hire a general contractor to manage the construction project. The contractor then assigns a superintendent to your job.

With the construction-management method, the contractor receives a fixed fee, which gives the church more flexibility in making changes and using donated labor. This can be an advantage over the standard contracting procedure (see number 3 below), wherein every change made can mean a substantial rise in the final cost of the project.

Donated labor can be a big cost-savings. However, on the negative side, when you use donated labor you can't give the bank a guaranteed final price when requesting a loan, which makes bank officials uneasy. Usually, banks want a "closed-in" contract.

2. Design-Build Method
Design-Build is a popular way to build. It is a method whereby the architect both designs and contracts the building. This can be an excellent way to build; however, you can still have the same problems you might have with any contractor.

The major concern of the Design-Build method is its lack of checks and balances. In other words, when you have both an architect and a builder working on your project, the builder will normally catch any mistakes the architect might make. But with a person who is both architect and contractor for a project, problems or mistakes can be overlooked.

This potential problem could be resolved by having another competent builder or architect inspect the architect's plans, thereby acting as a backup for the architect-contractor.

One favorable aspect of the Design-Build method is that the church has more control in setting the price of the building to fit their budget. However, this method does not guarantee that staying within budget limits will be possible.

3. Standard-Contracting Method
In the standard-contracting method, a builder is selected who contracts to build your church.

There are many ways to select a contractor. The standard way is for the church to invite contractors to bid on its already-designed building plans.

When the bids are opened, the fun begins. Prices can go from too low all the way up to the sky! There can be valid reasons for this wide range of prices, so it is important to discuss each bid with the individual contractors to determine exactly what each bid entails.

In these discussions, you can learn much about your building plans. You may even learn that there are some things in your plans that you don't really want and other things you wanted, but won't be able to have. Your discussions with contractors is time well spent. Listen and learn, because sometimes you can save thousands of dollars.

4. Owner-Contractor Method
In some states, because a contractor isn't required to have a contractor's license, the church can act as its own contractor. When this is the case, sometimes the church can hire a builder who has a license to work for them directly. The owner-contractor method can work well in some situations, especially if the church hires an excellent project manager to oversee the job.

The project manager is governed by the pastor or the building committee and works with the architect to construct the building. He puts together the bids and negotiates them. He also makes sure the construction is carried out on a day-to-day basis. The architect also inspects the building construction every day to ensure that the job is conforming to plans.

The project manager needs to be someone with whom you as the pastor can work well. He needs to be a person of great integrity - not someone you think has integrity, but someone you know is honest. Also, he should endeavor to keep a tight schedule and budget. Observing how well the project manager stays within the schedule and budget set for him is one way for you to judge what he is accomplishing.

Having previously worked as a general contractor, I personally prefer the owner-contractor method more than any other method.

In the business world, smaller contractors sometimes function as the owner, project manager, superintendent, and any other role that might be needed in a building project. When a church functions as the owner-contractor, it gives them the option to hire only one man to oversee the work. This can save the church a lot of money.

There is a potential problem when one person functions in the various roles of the building project. You stand the risk of that person being dishonest in negotiating your contracts, as well as the possibility of his leaving for some unforeseeable reason in the middle of the job. That would leave you with the responsibility of finding someone else to complete the half-finished project.

One Last Thought to the Pastors
My father was a pastor who built several churches, and I was privileged to work with him - and I mean work! As I observed the whole church-building process, one thing stood out as one of the most important guidelines to follow: Pastors, hire someone to stand between you and the contractor!

Make sure it's someone who can be tough but fair, because misunderstandings can arise from day to day during a building project. It is best if the pastor can stay in the background and not work directly with the contractor. Then the pastor isn't the person who might have to offend anyone in order to see that the job gets done correctly.

Remember, there are several options of contracting the building of a church. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. After you've evaluated all the pertinent information, you must follow your spirit to determine what the best way is for you and your church.

Source:The Pastoral Ministry Manual by  Kenneth Hagin Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publication

Author Biography

Kenneth W. Hagin
Web site: Kenneth Hagin Ministries
Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers around the world. Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”

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