Are You Chosen to Build?
By: Michael D. Barnes
I will never forget the time, approximately 20 years ago, when I was praying regarding my architectural firm. I began to sense in my heart that God had something special for us to do. As I prayed regarding our mission, a desire began to grow inside of me for serving the local church.
In the past, there had been several times when I felt we were ready to branch out to serve the church world exclusively but the time had not come. Several months after I had originally felt compelled to branch out in a church-related architectural venture, the Lord spoke to my heart. In His perfect timing, I received a vision while in prayer early one morning. There was no question about the direction. There was no question regarding our mission. It was time.
Timing is important in our lives. Even in the ministry of Jesus, all things were done according to God's holy time schedule. The Lord walked on the earth until His "time had fully come." He preached the Gospel "when the time had come," and, when the "time had fully come," He told His disciples "it was time" for Him to enter Jerusalem.
The scriptures often speak specifically about God's timing. Consider the following passages:
"The day for building your walls will come, the day for extending your boundaries."
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…"
Just as there was a perfect timing for me to start a new company that would be of service to His Kingdom, there is also a perfect timing for His church to build a new facility. We are reminded in Micah 7:11 the day for building the walls of the church will come.
In God's perfect timing, He will provide the vision and plans, including the goals and objectives for your building project. When the day for building finally comes, He will provide the finances, for He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. When the day comes for extending your boundaries, the Lord will make it clear.
Solomon states there is a time for everything and a season for every activity. Here are some questions that must be addressed by the church's leadership prior to building or entering into design or construction:
* Have you entered into your time?
* Is it your season to build?
* Are ministries birthing under God's direction at your church where there are no physical facilities to house such ministries?
* Are your ministries growing to the extent that your boundaries are being increased and your physical facilities cannot bear the strain?
* Is a new building or an addition the only solution to maximize your ministry?
Solomon states there is a time to tear down and a time to build. When working with the local church, I always like to ask them if their time has come. Has the day arrived for the extension of their boundaries? Has the time come to build?
God's timing is critical. We might have the right solution and understand the problem. We might have the vision statement and understand our spiritual calling. But if the day has not come, we will be too early and we will be out of step with God's perfect will for our lives, which even includes the construction of your next facility.
As a church architect, I stress this spiritual timing issue. We do not want to be involved with the building of a local church if their "time has not come." The building process can be a challenging one, even when the time has come. I am sorry to say that we, as the church architect, have had a few experiences where we have struggled to assist churches in their building projects when the timing was off. Unfortunately, many architects' files are full of drawings that have been designed for churches that have never built. Designed…drawn…but never constructed and occupied.
My guess is that their time had not fully come.
Not only is timing important to understand before entering into construction of a new church facility, but another question is also critical. Are you, as a church body, chosen to build? In other words, is it God's will that you expand the physical facility?
King David knew this was very important and communicated this truth to his son, Solomon. Solomon ultimately took over the throne of David when David died. Though King David brought the Arc of the Covenant back into Jerusalem, it never had a permanent home through David's reign. King David decided that God wanted to build a temple. However, it was Solomon who built the great temple in Jerusalem in order to house the Arc of the Covenant.
The word of God in Chronicles expresses the clear fact that David planned the entire temple and even accumulated the tremendous wealth and gifts needed for the actual building. But it was Solomon who actually built the temple. Consider the following scriptures:
"And you my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him He will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.
Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple, its buildings, its storerooms, its upper parts, its inner rooms and the place of atonement. He gave him the plans of all that the spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the Lord and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things."
--1 Chronicles 28:9-12
In this portion of the scripture in, King David is quite old and about to die. He is sitting with Solomon, who has been chosen to actually build the temple as a sanctuary for God. He encourages his son to be strong and do the work. It is very clear in verse 11 that King David gave his son Solomon the plans for the entire temple. But look carefully at verse 10, where it says, "God chose Solomon to build the temple."
God lays upon the hearts of man His plans for our lives. Jeremiah says in chapter 29, "For I know the plans I have for you."
What plans does the Lord have for your church? Our most successful church construction projects are those churches that acknowledge that God's will is for them to expand. When God chooses a church and lays His hand upon them to build, He will bring them through the process.
When God directs, He will furnish the vision and the plans for the building.
Where does vision come from? Vision is direct spirit revelation from God.
Where do the building plans come from? The scriptures tell us that plans also come from the Lord.
Verse 12 of chapter 28 in 1 Chronicles states, "He gave him (Solomon) the plans of all that the spirit had put in his mind for the courts in the temple of the Lord…."
It is obvious from the scripture that King David knew where the plans for the temple came from. The specific plans of the temple, the surrounding rooms, as well as the financing of the temple came from the Spirit of God. All David had to do was record the plans and pass them along to his son.
If we follow the Lord's leading in all that He would have us do and align ourselves with His timing, He will fulfill His vision for the local church. He will also provide provision for the local church and ultimately give you the physical facilities you need in order to provide the ministry that He wishes for you to provide.
The Lord's glory will shine upon you. Lives will be changed…and the community will be a different place because of it.
Michael D. Barnes is a church architect and chief executive officer of Barnes Design Group, www.BarnesDesignGroup.com.