Respect Is Putting Others First

Over the past several months I have read and listened to people as they express their total lack of understanding as to how those on the other side of the political debate can possibly think the way they do. However, this isn’t anything new for it happens all the time in every aspect of life. It can be as simple as why does one person believe in Ford products and another like Dodge products; Organic versus GMO; Holistic versus Pharmaceutical; Vaccines versus Non-Vaccines; and the list would never end. Take religion, not only are their thousands of different religions around the world, but even within the same religion you can have many other factions. Within Christianity you have over twenty thousand different denominations.  And those members in each denomination vehemently believe in dogma that is diametrically opposite of what their Christian brothers and sisters believe. And they are all studying from the same book. I have heard many a religious debate come to an abrupt end with both sides asking the other “Why can’t you see how wrong you are? You must be blind.”  Many of us react to others that don’t believe as we do as if they are believing the way they do only to make us mad.

Some say they have tried to understand the other person’s point of view, but they just can’t wrap their mind around their thought process. Here is part of the problem. Before we even begin to discuss, we have already predetermined that what others believe is pure nonsense; so, I will pretend to listen. However, from personal experience, we really aren’t listening, we are only waiting for our time to talk. Listening shows respect, and unfortunately, this is lacking on both sides of the discussion.

The key to answering this mystery is in asking the question differently. What we really are asking is “WHY DON’T YOU BELIEVE EXACTLY AS I DO? With the focus on us, we don’t take the time to listen and learn the other person’s position. Remember, you have spent countless days, months and years of your time researching and collaborating with those of the same mindset to come to your present understanding. Don’t expect everyone else to believe instantly every word you post on facebook and twitter. Offering evidence supporting your belief from resources that are prejudiced toward every belief except yours is not irrefutable proof. Yes, it is good to introduce the information that has shaped your beliefs, but don’t make the mistake in thinking that everything you have read is the gospel truth. Odds are you haven’t taken the time to study the other side.

This is similar to the mind set of those people who are prejudice against others with different colored skin, because spending all your time around people of the same color makes it impossible to understand people of a different color. Hmm. Prejudice comes in all shapes and sizes.

Reflect back five or ten years and everyone will remember what they used to believe but no longer consider. Experience has a tendency to replace knowledge with wisdom. I saw a post on facebook where a professed millennial blamed the parents for the Trump win. His response about parents brought back memories of my youth when the intellectual elite (ages 18 to 28) were anti-establishment, anti-parents, anti-police and you didn’t trust anyone over 30. To all of today’s youth: You are going down a path that your parents and every generation before you have traveled. We (Your parents) are waiting at the end of that trail with arms wide open to welcome you. Life will change you. Campus life only makes you think you are smarter than everyone else. It is a fact that a college graduate will forget over 80% of what they were taught during their 4 years. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein.

WALKER Church Consulting Group

Walker Church Consulting Group is a staff of professional church facility growth experts. Walker C.C.G. provides the tools for small to medium size churches to minimize their risk as they turn their building vision into a reality. This can be a very difficult feat, as attested by the findings of F.W. Dodge Corporation. This corporation is a reporting agency that provides construction information and intelligence solutions. F.W. Dodge cites that 60% of church building projects fail and 70% that make it to construction go over budget by 30% to 50%. Walker Consultants will guide the church leadership away from these pitfalls ensuring churches of a successful and enjoyable design/build experience.

The building committee is typically the decision makers during the building project, however, most have little to no experience in design or construction. However, most design firms require the church to determine the size, scope and budget for their project. This is a critical step for every building project and is one of the main reasons why projects go over budget. The lack of skills in this area can render irreversible consequences. A building project that goes over budget is a consequence of not having laid a foundation before the Architect starts to draw. When the foundation is plumb, so will everything else be that is built upon it – straight, level and true.

Determining the size, scope, and budget for a building project is as critically important as laying a solid foundation for the building. Walker Church Consultants will lay this solid foundation by providing the tools that balances the ministry space, determines affordability and feasibility, separates wants from needs, and establishes confidence in the church leadership and among the members. Walker Church Consultants also provides the tools for churches to successfully raise money. It is common among all denominations that the need to expand always comes before the money.

Walker Church Consultants also provides the communication tools that will unify the members of the church with a heartfelt sense of ownership in the building project. This is crucial for successfully raising the financial support.

 

Kisses From An Enemy

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“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov 27:5-6 (KJV).

by Thomas H Walker

In the book publishing industry there has arisen from the ashes of failed dreams. . . Self- Publishing companies. First time authors find it nearly impossible to be published by tradition publishers. There are some success stories with the traditional approach, but the failures out number the successes. All the commercial publishers will tell you that they receive thousands of manuscripts a month and they accept less than 4% for publication. This creates a need for the other 96% for which gave birth to the vanity press. The problem is that not everyone should write a book. Many Self-Publishing companies do not give an honest analysis of your book. The reason for this is that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They use false flattery coupled with “kisses of praise” to get you to pay them to publish your book. If it doesn’t sell, (and by the way the odds are great that you will not sell except to family and friends) the publisher loses nothing. All manuscripts submitted to a Self-Publisher are accepted for publication. There are a few exceptions, but very few. The author assumes all the risk.

How does this relate to your vision to expand your facilities? Sixty percent of all church building projects fail and only forty percent see their project to fruition. However, 70% of the 40% go over budget by thirty to fifty percent. In other words, out of ever hundred building projects only twelve complete construction in budget.

The conventional delivery system has intentionally structured their process so that the church assumes the maximum risk. The size and scope of the project is usually the responsibility of the Church’s leadership.  It is imperative that a verification analysis be done to determine the church’s financial capability. The budget is what drives the size and scope of the project.  This needs to be done by a professional firm that has the years of experience as well as the resources so church leaders can make sound decisions. Not every church that wants to build can or needs to.  Maybe a more efficient use of their existing facility can eliminate the need for a building project, or can substantially reduce the size and scope of the new facility.  An honest evaluation may dampen the dreams of the Leaders, but it can save them heartache and financial ruin.  A critical analysis will separate the individual wants from the church’s needs. “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov 27:5-6 (KJV).

The best way to see the heart of a company is to measure the amount of risk they are willing to assume.  There are many hazards to a construction project and confronting these risks as to who will be responsible, will bring to the surface any self-serving agendas.  Finding a company to design and build your facility is not hard.  Finding a company that is willing to have as much “skin in the game” as you, will be your biggest challenge.  Remember, the company that has the ministry’s best interest in mind, will be up front with the realities of construction, regardless of how unpopular it may sound.  These firms want their clients to be pleasantly surprised, as opposed to terribly disappointed. There accomplishments are measured by the number of successfully completed projects that came in on time and under budget. These results are the consequences of a company that has a heart for the ministry, not their bottom line.   

Wounds Of A Friend

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by Thomas H Walker

From the ashes of disappointment and rejection arises what appears to be a shining beacon of hope – Self- Publishing – or more commonly referred to as the Vanity Press. First time authors find it nearly impossible to get traditional publishers to notice them let alone publish their work. Every commercial publisher receives thousands of manuscripts a month and accepts less than 4% for publication. This creates a need for the other 96%, which in turn creates a demand and finally a business. There are some success stories about a new author that secures a contract with a traditional publisher, but the failures out number the successes.

Overall, Self-Publishing firms do not give an honest analysis of your book – hence the term Vanity Press. Their motive behind these publishers is to flatter you with enough “kisses” to get you to pay them to publish your book. If your book doesn’t sell, (and by the way the odds are great) the publisher loses nothing. Every manuscript submitted to a Vanity Press is accepted for publication. There are a few exceptions but very few. The author assumes all the risks and the publisher reaps an income stream from publishing services and by selling back to you your own book.

How does this relate to your vision to expand your facilities? Sixty percent of all church building projects fail, and only forty percent see their project completed. However, of the 40% that complete construction, 70% go over budget by 30 to 50 percent. To make it simple, out of every one hundred church building projects only twelve successfully complete their building project within budget.

The traditional building delivery system and many Design / Build firms today have intentionally structured their process so that the church unknowingly shoulders all the risks. Determining the size and scope of a project and budget is usually the responsibility of the Church’s leadership. It is imperative to perform a feasibility analysis to determine the budget, which in turn drives the size and scope of the project. This study, conducted by a professional church facilities growth firm, will have experienced personnel that know the difference between ministry space versus square footage. This is important to know when balancing a ministry’s programmable space needs.

Not every church that wants to build can or needs to build. Maybe a more efficient use of their existing facility can eliminate the need for a building project, or can substantially reduce the size and scope of the new facility. An honest evaluation may dampen the dreams of the church leaders, but it can save them heartache and financial ruin in the end. A critical analysis will separate the individual wants from the church’s needs. “Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov 27:5-6 (KJV).

The best way to see the heart of a company is to measure the amount of risk they are willing to assume. Many risks come with every construction project and it makes sense that the more experienced a firm, the more willing they will be in assuming these risks. Finding a company to design and build your facility is not hard; however, finding a company that will be honest with you about the road ahead will be your challenge. Remember, the company that has the ministry’s best interest in mind typically isn’t the cheapest or the most popular. Measure the firm by the number of successfully completed projects that came in on time, under budget and are ministry friendly. These results are the consequences of a company that has a heart for the ministry, not their bottom line.   

Commitment Is The Glue For Success

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During the interviewing process, you will probably hear Architectural and General Contractor firms defend their delivery system by warning you that the Design/Build Full Service Delivery System is like “putting all your eggs in one basket.” The reason they make this claim is that the A/GC system creates a strict separation of responsibilities between the key principle players. On the other hand, the D/B system creates a team mentality among the key principle partners. The A/GC system sees the design and construction as separate processes. The D/B sees it as one process. When you look deeper into their statement, they are actually saying, “You don’t want a team working together but working separately; also, you want limited commitments from the A/GC in case you need to end the relationship.”

When you sign a contract with a stand-alone Architect, you thereby limit the involvement of the Architect. When the Architect is done with design, you will sign another contract with a General Contractor who will then sign multiple contracts with sub-contractors. The church is convinced that signing multiple contracts with the Architect and General Contractor reduces the risk. However, what you have really done is to reduce the level of commitment from the key principles, because their responsibilities are confined to specialized areas of the project. This creates tunnel vision as opposed to a total project understanding.

The church is convinced that by separating the principle players, it will avoid “having the fox watch the hen house.” In addition, with the firms working on limited terms “in office,” there is never time to form a cohesive bond among all parties. Again, this working environment creates a division of responsibilities among the principle players in each discipline, triggering negative influences on your building project schedule and the final project cost. Some negative consequences are finger pointing and adversarial relationships. F.W. Dodge states that 70% of building projects go over budget by 30% to 50% and the main reason for this is due to separation. Church leaders need to read the Architect’s AIA agreement, as well as the GC contract with a very critical eye. These contracts place the majority of the risk with the owner.

A Full Service Design / Build company encourages commitment and does so without apologies. Every ministry that decides to expand their facilities to grow God’s kingdom is entering into a spiritual battle. The Design / Build process focuses on building a dedicated team of professionals that work with the Church’s Building Committee. Building a team first is the only way to create a united and committed front line of defense. In every endeavor, the degree of success and victory is in direct correlation to the level of commitment in the team members. Commitment is the glue for success.

The Need Always Comes Before The Money

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By Thomas Walker

Growth is vital to a church, and for the membership to grow there has to be adequate facility space. Typically, the impetus for a building program happens when the church has out-grown their facilities. If ignored, the lack of room will cause people to go elsewhere to worship. Irreversible damage is inevitable when the lack of adequate ministry space reaches critical mass. Many church leaders resolve space limitations by implementing “Band-Aid” solutions. By adding more services or bringing in mobile units, you can maintain and even increase membership temporarily. The main reason for these interim fixes is that the need always comes before the money. Many times Church leaders have said that they need to expand but the funds are not available.

Every ministry I have personally worked with over the past 13 years experienced the same financial challenges in the beginning. Those ministries that successfully expanded their facilities did so by deciding on who would provide them with professional assistance. Understanding the different delivery systems available and the importance of church specialists will help churches in selecting the right firm. When the right firm is selected, 80% of the battle is won.

A firm that specializes in church design and construction will first ascertain the programmable space requirements, church’s financial affordability, and a list of specific project goals. Tools, such as a color rendering, fly-around, master site plan, are needed to raise money. The purpose for these tools is to maintain unity among the members as well as to instill a sense of ownership in the project. A sense of proprietorship is what motivates members to give financially. Without the proper graphics to cast the vision into the hearts and minds of the church members, the action from the leadership is futile. A successful capital campaign is the result of writing “the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he [They] may run that readeth it” (Habakkuk 2:2). Furthermore, it is Biblical to develop a plan of action, “For which of you desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30).

Any ministry needing to build should to seek counsel. “Where there is no counsel, purposes are disappointed; But in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22). These professionals will provide a roadmap that gives precise directions to the ministry leadership. Strategic planning identifies the size, scope, and budget for the project and its feasibility.