Before attempting to start a group of believers thinking about a church building, the minister will find it wise first of all to look around the town to see what opportunities there are for such a plan. Plots of land and premises should be noted.
A special address on church buildings at a principal meeting is a good way of launching the project. Scriptural proof should be given concerning God's desire for His people to erect places where He and they can meet. Israel, who had escaped from Egyptian slavery, was commanded of the Lord to make Him a sanctuary. (Ex. 25:8.) At a later day when Zerubbabel and his helpers were busy on the new temple, the Almighty sent the encouraging word, "Be strong . . and work: for I am with you,- revealing His divine approval of what was being done. It is evident from Isaiah 56:7, a prophecy relating to New Testament times and now, that in this respect God is the same. He designs that there should be houses of prayer.
Members should be caused to believe as never before in the greatness and importance of the advent message. This can be achieved by tracing the rise of the advent movement in Bible prophecy. Seventh-day Adventists have been given the last saving gospel message to declare to the world. Such a great mission and message, it will be readily admitted, is worthy of a suitable church edifice to represent it aright. The emphasis placed by Ellen G. White on the matter of church buildings should be shown in the sermon.
"Wherever a company of believers is raised up, a house of worship should be built."
"The need for a meetinghouse . . . has been presented before me in panoramic view. I saw workmen building humble places of worship. Those newly come to the faith were helping with willing hands, and those who had means were assisting with their means."—Gospel Workers, pp. 431, 435.
Such statements will stimulate the congregation.
An account of recent accomplishments in various centers would prove helpful. What they have done, we can do, should be the argument. Get the church-building project into the prayer meeting. God should be definitely sought for guidance ! Schemes which come from heaven never go wrong if carefully followed.
Praying and planning will give success. A cominittee should be formed, their duty being to view the sites and properties found by the minister. They may even discover other likely places.
A church-building fund should be started, and in this the promoter must set an example. One preacher and his workers gave a portion of their salaries over a considerable period.
The church members will co-operate if the leadeis show the spirit of self-sacrifice. Appeal in public. Some will pledge more readily at such times. To obtain subscriptions visit the members in their homes. Do not forget friends of the church. Often they will donate large sums. When the money is coming in make it known how the conference often helps a progressive project. This serves as an impetus. Give receipts for all cash received. Have a chart showing the goal in view and the amount raised to date. Give a regular statement of account to show how the money has been spent.
Be sure to counsel with the conference before going ahead with a church-building proposition.