Because of dependence on the Whack-a-Mole management strategy, many churches seldom look past their current situation. Unlike ancient sailors who took periodic “soundings” to determine how close they were to shore, many churches take few, if any steps, to determine if they are headed for rocky waters. Unfortunately, a rising number of them do not realize they are in trouble until they run aground.
It is true that the Bible cautions us to not presume on the future. (James 4:13-15) But, churches are also called to be good stewards. As long as the church is acknowledging God’s will in the matter, part of good stewardship includes making some long-range plans. Failure to do so could result in disaster.
Operating without a master plan in regard to land and facilities
Several years ago at one of PSK’s church business administrator breakfasts, we invited the local fire marshal to speak on fire safety. He mentioned one thing that surprised me and another thing that made me think of the importance of master planning.
The surprise? Other than petroleum or chemical fires, the fires feared most by firemen are church fires. Because churches are filled with combustible items, paper, wood, fabrics etc. a small electrical problem can quickly ignite into a raging inferno. But what he said next made me realize that poor master planning can be deadly as well.
How does this tie into master planning? The factor that endangers firemen the most is not the presence of combustibles. It is the fact that too many churches are a hodge-podge of different structures. Without an integrated building plan which looks to the future, church structures tend to become a series of additions added one to another. The result is a confusing maze of hallways, cubbyholes and dead-ends. (Tragically, in some cases this has been too literal).
This can be avoided if churches take the time to plan for the future.