It’s all about timing!
By Rodney C. James
As they say, “timing is everything.”
When forecasting for church construction this year, there can’t be a more accurate statement.
In 2021, we all saw crazy increases in the prices of construction materials, sometimes daily. While some of the chaos of pricing fluctuation has stabilized, the new challenge for 2022 is the availability of materials.
Have you gone to the store recently and the items you needed weren’t in stock? Ordered something online that normally shipped next day and now might take two weeks or more to reach your door? Imagine managing the plethora of materials — from simple to complex — needed on a construction site, in a timely manner, to keep the project on schedule and on budget. The days of “just-in-time” are no more.
The challenge has become that we have no certainty when or if certain materials can be delivered. One order of material might arrive in one week at one jobsite, while the same order on another project might be three months away from delivery. A multi-week delay for materials can be devastating to a project schedule and budget.
Our team has been working tirelessly throughout the past year to set up new supply chains, create relationships with national buying power, and develop pre-purchase processes to begin securing materials in advance of construction. While it does cause us to invest a little more in storing and insuring those stored materials, it has helped us ensure that a project doesn’t sit idle, costing our clients by extending the timeline.
When materials are purchased in advance, it’s critical that they’re stored securely, insured, and that all documentation is in order to mitigate the risk of possible loss due to theft, fire, or the company holding the materials incurring financial difficulties. It’s challenging, but the reward quickly outweighs the risk when you consider the cost per week of delays.
No time like the present
The arrival of materials isn’t the only consideration; the second hand of the clock is always ticking to prepare facilities for future growth and new ministry opportunities.
Our firm is currently contracted with more than 20 churches that are planning, designing and building new or renovated facilities. We see tremendous Kingdom growth and momentum moving into this year. Multiple churches for which we have completed one phase of construction are moving directly into the next phase, without pause. Other churches are partnering with us to plan facilities that will be constructed in 2023 and even into 2024.
While our team is busy every day helping churches vision, plan, purchase land or buildings, raise funds, design their spaces, or build their new facilities, it’s extremely exciting to see that God is indeed moving His Kingdom forward. Churches that have their facilities prepared and ready for the advancement of the Kingdom are putting themselves in a position for God to use and bless.
Financial fuel remains strong
The final element of timing we’ve observed among the many ministries we’re serving is that generosity and giving is strong, enabling and empowering churches to better facilitate ministry. Many of the current capital campaigns and generosity initiatives for ministry facility projects are encountering supernatural results. Millennial and Gen-Z donors are empowered when they see the effect their gifts can make in the lives of people.
Every building project in the Bible was funded by the entire nation of Israel. Everyone wanted to be a part of what God was doing. Those leaders — like Moses, David, Solomon, and Nehemiah — simply shared the vision God had given, and the provision for the project came in abundance.
The call is sounded, and the time is now for you, as pastoral leaders, to articulate the vision God is putting in your hearts to take the next step in your ministry facilities. When the vision is clear and the “why” behind your building or renovation project is focused on people and changed lives, God moves the hearts of His people to bring the provision!
As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, There is a time for everything … a time to tear down and a time to build. While 2022 might have its challenges for building or renovating, there’s no better time to ask God for a vision, to share that vision, and to watch Him fund the work.
Having the right partner will be invaluable as you navigate your journey — one who understands the current challenges and is planning, developing processes, and seeking Godly wisdom to overcome these hurdles.
Rodney C. James, a former pastor, is president and founder of Master’s Plan Church Design & Construction in Tulsa, Okla.