Providing a House of Worship

It is clear from Luke 14:20-30, that one thing of primary importance to consider in building is to count the cost.

By T. J. KROEGER, Pastor, Galesburg, Illinois

It is clear from Luke 14:20-30, that one thing of primary importance to consider in building is to count the cost. Therefore, certain dehnite things must be given careful and thoughtful consideration when one plans to build a house of worship. These are: (1.) The need for a house of worship; (2) the kind and size of building needed; (3) the list of mate­rials and labor needed to complete the struc­ture, and their cost; (4) methods of keeping the cost of construction within the estimate, in order to erect the building free from debt; and (5) the General Conference regulation governing the building of churches.

1. Need for House of Worship.—The mes­senger of the Lord emphasizes the need for suitable houses of worship for our congrega­tions. (See "Gospel Workers," pp. 431, 435; "Testimonies," Vol. V, p. 465.) According to the plain, simple statements in these citations, we must conclude that "houses of worship" are an imperative need wherever this truth is preached and people yield their hearts to God. Many who thus yield and accept our truth are accustomed to churches which are beautiful and comfortable. When they discover that we do not have a house of worship in their city or town, and that the evangelist is planning to leave the city without arranging definitely for a church home, there is a strong temptation for them to return to their former meeting place. We must not be remiss in our duty in this matter. It is hardly necessary to say more about the need of establishing and own­ing our own church buildings. Where we have to rent another church or hold services in homes, it is not conducive to having strong, spiritual congregations.

2. Kind and Size of Building Needed.—The kind of building; that is, whether frame, brick, or stone, will be determined very largely by the cost of labor, and what materials are common or easily accessible in the city or town in which the building is to be erected. We must build good, substantial houses of worship, and avoid the gaudy and extravagant. Our buildings are to represent the faith we profess. A sturdy, plain building of simple archi­tecture will speak for the plain, positive, practical belief of those who worship within. The size of the building should be governed by the size of the city or town, or that portion of it which the church is to serve. Plan the building large enough so that there will be room for growth.

3. Materials and Labor Needed.—The first step is to have a blueprint or a pencil sketch made of the plan. Then list the necessary material from the basement to the roof. Re­check the materials so that no item will be overlooked. Then present these lists to the various dealers for estimates: Lumber, to the lumber company; plastering, to the plastering contractor, etc. When these prices are re­ceived, add to them an equal amount of dollars and cents to cover the cost of labor. If skille labor is used, it will equal the cost of material. Perhaps these figures will stagger a small con­gregation and cause the members to feel un­able to proceed further because of their in­ability to raise such a vast sum with so few members. However, there is a way, as we learn when we consider the fourth step. This is particularly vital for a small company.

4. Keeping Costs Within Estimate.—There are several ways to reduce the original cost and still have the desired church home. First, appoint someone to look for good used mate­rial. This may be found in a used-lumber yard, or on a lot where a building is being wrecked. The material should be carefully examined to determine whether it is what is needed. If it is, an effort should be made to secure it as reasonably as possible. Second, find men who will help with the construction work by giving their services without charge for a day or a week. Many times enough vol­unteer help can be obtained in this way to pro­vide a large share of the labor on the building. I know of a small church of ten members that saved approximately four hundred dollars on the material alone, and a number of men of­fered their services free for carpenter work, plastering, painting, and electrical work. In this way it was possible for them to have a church home.

5. General Conference Regulation.—At the 1938 Autumn Council, definite action was taken regarding the erection of church build­ings, large or small. Heretofore, a small, in­expensive building could be erected by having the sanction of the local conference alone, but this is no longer the case. It was decided that any project which cost more than $250 and not exceeding $1,000 must be approved by the union conference committee as well as by the local conference. Projects which cost more than $i,000 must have the approval of the General Conference, in addition to that of the local and union conferences. Also, in the pur­chase or building of church properties, 75 per cent of the entire cost of the building, includ­ing initial furnishings, must be in hand in cash, and satisfactory provision made for the re­maining 25 per cent before commitments may be made or building operations commenced.

One thing that should be strictly adhered to is the pay-as-you-go method. May each pas­tor be diligent and thrifty in arising to build houses of worship where they are needed. But always remember the admonition of Holy Writ to first sit down and count the cost.


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By T. J. KROEGER, Pastor, Galesburg, Illinois

June 1940

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