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.