Proverbs 19:21 (KJV) 21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
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 the Lord’s 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 this church is not a big revelation or groundbreaking theology, but 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 planning & building committee. The people that will serve on these committees will serve for several years! So we must 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 our church’s mission will make our planning decisions much easier.
- Pray about the architect and builder that God wants us to use. It is wonderful to have a committee tell us that they have selected 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. We may or may not be introducing cutting edge ideas to our congregation. Whether we are or we aren’t, one thing is certain – people resist change. There are some who are ready today to dig a whole and start to build. Some would just as soon sell the property and stay right here. But I think if we pray we will see God has made it clear, He has given to us a land of Promise. And we must seek through prayer to be obedient to His plan and purpose. Pray that we as a congregation will have a receptive spirit and pray that the planning & building committees will be able to clearly communicate the vision and plan so we the congregation may clearly and completely understand.
- Pray for integrity and a Christ-like attitude in our business dealings. Problems occur. It is a fact that during a building project problem will come up. Handling these problems with wisdom and maturity will speak volumes about our faith to the professionals we deal with. We can be firm in our business dealings but we 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 we had 20 to 50 unsaved, unchurched people come to our church everyday for six month to a year? When construction starts we will have a mission field right outside our door!
Of course, there are many other things we can and should pray for. Prayer before starting a building program is imperative. Whether our project is fifty thousand dollars or ten million dollars, it is all wasted money if the Lord is not directing it. Psalm 127:1 (KJV) 1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:… Remember to keep on, continue praying throughout the project. We need to 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 (KJV) 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 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.”