CHURCH FACILITIES

THE BLESSINGS OF BEGINNING WITH A BUILDING

In November 2003, I answered God’s call to be a preacher of the Gospel. At the same time the Lord revealed to me the need for more New Testament Baptist churches to be planted throughout the United States and called me to plant a church. Nearly ten years later, on May 26, 2013, Pickerington Baptist Temple celebrated its grand opening service with 46 in attendance.
 
Being familiar with many different church plants, there’s one thing I’m well aware of: all church plants are different. Thus, it’s unwise to compare ourselves among ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12).
 
May the following serve as a testimony of God’s miraculous provision in His planting of the Pickerington Baptist Temple.
 

With our May 2013 timeline firmly in place, preparations were well under way in the fall of 2012 — John & Romans sent off to print, and other supplies being ordered. However, there was something else pressing that needed our attention. We needed to find a place to conduct our church services. So, in November 2012, we began scouring our city in search of a place for Pickerington Baptist Temple to meet.

 

Our God-given enthusiasm and vision for what would be soon met reality — the Devil is completely opposed to a Bible-believing, Gospel preaching Baptist church being planted in Pickerington, OH (and every city for that matter). We were quickly made aware that the most popular venues for new churches were unavailable to use. The local school board had policies making it humanly impossible for us to utilize any of their facilities. The area hotels either didn’t have conference rooms or were unwilling to rent them to us weekly. The vacant storefronts were well beyond our budget. Within a matter of hours we came to grips with there being no place for us to meet.

 

Instead of being discouraged, my wife and I reminded ourselves of God’s clear calling. We believed God called us to plant a church in this city; so we believed God would provide. Fervent prayer and fasting were the keys. Our prayer was for God to give us either a place to live or a place to meet, with the intention that we could meet were we live or live were we meet.

 

A couple weeks had elapsed when we discovered a church building for sale. Over the next couple months, lined with prayer and fasting, God’s awesome power was on full display, as my wife and I stepped aside and allowed the powers that be — our God, pastor, and reproducing church — to work together to secure our current property for us. We are forever grateful to God’s answer to our prayers; our pastor’s humble, steady leadership; and the sacrificial giving of our church family. Truly God’s providential care, leadership, and provision assured our hearts that the planting of Pickerington Baptist Temple was His will.

 

From January 2013 to May 2013 the sprint was on to give the building a fresh face lift ahead of our Grand Opening. Again, we’re indebted to all those who gave of their time and resources to bring everything together.
 

What has it meant to have started in our own building?

Permanence — Our 9,000 sq ft. facility sits on 7.25 acres. We have ample space to grow and build. We’ve never had to wonder or be concerned with where we’d meet if our meeting location became unavailable.

A Base of Operations — We’ve had a physical location from which to organize and preach the Gospel to our city. The office space has also proven to be very beneficial.

Credibility — Our community/society, at times, can be skeptical of a church meeting in a hotel or conference center. With our own building we were given instant credibility in our city.

Convenience — As church planters, there are some things we haven’t experienced, such as setting up and tearing down. Our facility provides us with the convenience of having things in place.

Classroom Space — Though we didn’t need all of our classrooms in the beginning, we have been able to grow into our space.

Opportunity — With 7.25 acres, the Lord has allowed us to conduct special functions and crusades (Tent Revivals, Vacation Bible Schools, Church Picnics, etc.)

Housing — My wife and I had prayed for God to give us either a place to live or a place to meet, with the intention that we could meet were we live or live were we meet. God answered our prayer. By giving us a place to meet, our family lived in the church basement for six months. This allowed us to devote much of our time during the early days of the church plant to laying a foundation and discipling our people.
 
Truly having your own building is a blessing. I honestly do not believe there are any cons to having your own building, only additional responsibilities to consider.

Presentation — The Lord does all things well. Make sure your facility is in good order. Fresh paint, orderly classrooms, and a clean nursery and restrooms go a long way. Make the effort to put your best foot forward as a good steward of Christ.

Resources — Additional funds are needed for renovations. Prepare and lead your people by encouraging them to help you make the needed improvements. Through the advice of a friend, the Lord led us to implement annual special offerings (Christmas and Anniversary), encouraging our people to give sacrificially to needed projects.

Ordinances — Make yourself aware of the different building codes. The enforcement of the codes may differ by location. Make sure you’re aware of the requirement for building occupancy. Your municipality may have certain regulations for signage. Maintain a good testimony by complying with local building codes.

Maintenance — Schedule time each week for building maintenance. Replace burnt-out light bulbs. Repair drippy faucets. Make sure your landscaping is trimmed. Weed the flower beds. Plan for future repairs. God has helped us systematically repair, replace, and renovate key components of our building (sidewalks, signage, furnaces, lighting, classrooms, etc.) Again, we want to make sure we take excellent care of God’s gift to us.
 

May the Lord give you wisdom and guidance as you enjoy His blessing of a church building.


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BUILDING YOUR FIRST BUILDING – PART 1

Having a building to call “your own” is often one of the first and seemingly important goals for us as church planters; however, there are some principal factors to consider before, during, and after getting into your first building.

I am going to break this article up into those three areas and deal with each one individually—so be sure to follow all three articles!

BEFORE:

Often, when we are in a rented/leased building all we want is to get our own place! While this is nice, I’d encourage you to ask yourself these questions before you enter your first building project.

 
1. Is God directing in this move?

Of course, we want God to lead in everything we do! This decision is certainly one that should be preceded by great times of prayer and fasting.  This is first and foremost the most important factor—is God in this? —make sure you have a clear leading before progressing!

 
2. Am I ready for this level of commitment?

Now, if your church has been greatly blessed in the first few years with some staff (full or part-time) this will be easier for you; but, if not, you need to think long and hard about such a project. Many new demands (cleaning, maintenance, building usage, etc…) are all going to compete for a piece of your time. Are you at a place emotionally to handle this extra strain? Is your spiritual walk what it should be? Is your family/home situation ready and stable enough to withstand your extra demands?

 

3. Is my church ready for this level of commitment?

Many times, as church planters, we want to jump right in, because our faith in God is strong and we are excited about what God is going to do! However, we must consider our church people, whom God has entrusted to our care! Have the people caught the vision for the need to move into the new facility? Are the people in the church able to sustain the rigors and trials that will come with a building project? Is the church primarily composed of new Christians that get excited at first but then lose interest? Can the people sustain the increased financial commitment (more on this later)? Do I have the backing of the “key” people in the church?

 

4. Will this put an unnecessary financial burden on the new church?

It is so important to exercise wisdom and discernment, ensuring we don’t enter into greater financial burden than the church can really handle. Yes, we should step out in faith! Yes, we should believe in God for the impossible! However, most importantly, we are called to be light and salt in our community and share the love of God all the time. If all our financial resources will be locked up in a new building, and we can’t witness and reach out like we should…are we really accomplishing God’s mission for our church? Remember, Paul spent several years in a rented hall (Acts 19:9-10) and during that time started the seven churches mentioned in Revelation! A temporary or rented building doesn’t have to hold us back!

 


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BUILDING YOUR FIRST BUILDING – PART 2

Ok, so you have prayed about it and the church is ready…building is about to commence!
 
I am not going to deal with the construction side of things as there are many groups that are able to assist with your building project! (If you need any help in this area, reach out to us and we will see what we can do!)
 

DURING:

During the building project, the Pastor ends up wearing a lot of hats! In many cases he is not only pastoring a growing church, but also is acting as the general contractor and chief decorator! Keeping life and ministry in balance during a building project is difficult, but extremely necessary.

 

1. Keep the main thing the main thing.
It is vital to keep ministry in the forefront of all you do. Just because a church is building doesn’t mean the church should stop fulfilling the Great Commission!
  • Keep your preaching red-hot—don’t let tiredness or discouragement keep you from feeding the sheep every time you step behind the pulpit! (And don’t mention the building project in every message you preach…the people need a break too!)
  • Keep missions exciting. Keep world evangelization before the people at all times…don’t diminish it! It is easy for a church to become ‘inwardly focused’ during building projects – missions will help them look out at what is really important!
  • Don’t cancel standard soul winning times just to gain a few extra hours of work on the building! Again, it’s about staying ‘outwardly’ focused all the time and reaching the lost with the Gospel!
  • Find ways to encourage church fellowship during this time! You will be tired. Your church people will be tired. Still, be creative and enjoy some church fellowship! Satan can use this time put division and dissention in the church—staying close as a church family will help keep that to a minimum.
 
2. Expect the unexpected.

Not to sound like a broken record, but Satan can use this time very negatively in a church—it is a wise pastor that understands this and prepares for as much as he can!

  • Faithfulness to church services sometimes suffers—people are tired and have spent extra time working at the church. Love them. Encourage them. Pray for them.
  • The normal duties we all have and enjoy (hospital visits, shut-ins, etc…) can become burdensome. Grow in your walk with God. Let His strength serve through you.
  • Sometimes people leave during or shortly after the building project is over. Sometimes there are explanations and sometimes there are not! Often times, this is just God removing some of the ‘scaffolding’ from the new church so it can continue to grow. Pray it doesn’t happen, but don’t become defeated if/when it does.

 

 


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BUILDING YOUR FIRST BUILDING – PART 3

The building is done! Maybe it’s taken months – maybe it’s taken years, but you are now ready to hold services in the new location!

AFTER:

Sometimes, we think that the actual building process is the hardest thing to do, and we deceive ourselves into thinking that after it’s done things will go back to ‘normal’. While there are certainly things that are true for the only the construction time – for a new church, there are many things that still have to be taught and delegated for this to be a successful transition.

 
1. Teach

Now is the time to really teach the people what it means to strive for excellence in the presentation and up-keep of the new facility.  Many pastors expect the people to just know what to do and how to do it. The wise pastor spends time investing and teaching people the “how’s” and “why’s”:

  • Teach them to take care of the building.
  • Teach them to see things how you see them and instruct them how to deal with issues.
  • Teach them to take ownership and care for the contents of the buildings.
 
2. Delegate

Many pastors and pastor’s families become the default maintenance and cleaning crew! While we are more than willing to do these jobs, they can quickly become all-consuming and cut into family, outreach, study, and resting time. Learn to delegate—don’t just let everyone do what everyone wants, rather develop plans and procedures and then implement them into the ministry. Remember, you cannot delegate effectively until you have taught thoroughly!

 
3. Remind

Without question, during the past building project God did many wonderful and miraculous things on your behalf.  Don’t forget these things, and often remind the people as you are enjoying the benefits of your building about all that God has done!

 


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