By Rodney James
I received a call one morning from a gentleman who asked if we could bid on constructing a metal building for a local church. Since we do not bid projects, my first instinct was to apologize and decline, but something inside my spirit told me to ask some questions. What unfolded next was heartbreaking.
The gentleman proceeded to tell me that their church had been saving for years to build a small building to house a kitchen and fellowship hall that could also be used for classroom space. They hired a local builder and began the process. After months and months of payments, they had a metal building laying on their parking lot, but no other work had been completed.
The phone calls to their builder were not being returned, and soon they realized that over half of the funds that had been sacrificially given by their congregation were gone. A call to their banker to see if they could borrow funds to complete the project led them to call our office.
After hearing their situation, my heart and my spirit said, “We must help!”
As we began to dig in to discover what needed to be accomplished to get this building erected and completed, we quickly uncovered that no building permit had been secured, there were no foundation drawings or plans, and even the metal building package was not complete. This journey was going to be a challenge…but not for God!
A couple of weeks later, while meeting with another church we were helping design a new facility, I used this situation to illustrate what happens far too often with church building projects. It’s not what churches don’t know that hurts them; it’s what they don’t know that they don’t know.
This small church was doing the best they knew to gain the additional space to facilitate their ministry. But what they did not know was the right questions to be asking along the way as they issued checks to pay for work that was not being completed.
One of the trustees of the church we were designing heard this story, and it struck his heart. He immediately shared this situation with the other trustees, and within minutes they unanimously agreed to give a generous gift of over $100,000 to this small church and replace every dollar they had lost!
Less than a week later, I invited the trustees to a building meeting with the small church to share this exciting news. What a joyful experience to watch the impossible once again become possible. When I called to let the banker know that the extra amount of the loan would not be needed, we celebrated together, as well.
Our team excitedly worked through the details of the process to get the plans completed, the permit in place, and then construction began. It was such a joy to walk this journey with this congregation and see the fulfilment of years of planning, praying, and sacrificial giving become a reality.
Today, St. Luke Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is enjoying their fully completed fellowship hall, kitchen, and classroom space. With a very small and very tight budget, our team, along with the gracious generosity of many who worked on the project and the favor of The Lord, was able to finish the project $4,000 under the original anticipated budget.
It definitely was not one of the larger buildings we have been a part of constructing, but it was a project that has had one of the largest impacts on our team and the church for which it was constructed.
A metal building that was laying on the ground with little hope of being completed now stands as a testimony of what happens when God Steps In.
Rodney James is president of Master’s Plan Church Design & Construction, a nationwide design/build firm that offers a unique trademarked process that walks clients through the entire process from vision and need to a fully completed project delivered on budget, www.mpchurchdesignbuild.com.