DON’T PUT THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE
You’ve probably heard this saying before. It basically means “Don’t do things in the wrong order.” For example, you wouldn’t put your clothes on in the morning before you took a shower, would you? Of course not. It doesn’t make any sense. In fact, it would actually be counter-productive. Because, needless to say, you would have to put on a new set of DRY clothes after you were finished taking your shower!
Now I realize that this is a silly example. But I share it to make an important point. With many, if not most, things in life, we have to pursue them in a certain order; a logical order. Otherwise, we are guilty of, again, putting the cart before the horse.
Well, I believe this is a good saying for us to keep in mind as we consider the possibility of a building expansion project here at Hope. Now, right off the bat, I especially want to emphasize those words “consider” and “possibility.” By no means is this a certainty at this point. A lot of thinking and planning would have to take place before we would ever be so bold as to consider moving ahead with such a large and expensive undertaking. In fact, Jeff Spann, the Building Consultant of the Mission Investment Find of the ELCA, recently broke down that process for us. And Mike Della Rosa did an excellent job of summarizing this process at our most-recent congregation meeting.
So I won’t bother to take the time or the space to repeat what’s already been said. Instead, I would simply like for you to consider this issue in terms of the following statements:
1.What you would LIKE to do.
(Phase One is putting together a “wish list” of all the things you would hope to achieve in a building program. And, for each item, asking the all-important question: Why? The congregation, as a whole, would be given the opportunity to weigh-in here as well, and give their approval before moving on to the next phase. In this phase, no specific plans or drawings are being considered; nor is the cost. It’s pure brainstorming.)
2.What you CAN do.
(Then Phase Two is where you bring in a team of professionals – architects, engineers, etc. – and begin to whittle down that “wish” list to what is actually feasible; putting together a so-called “master plan.” Here, for the first time, there will be plans and drawings and some idea of the total cost. Yet, once again, the congregation will be asked to give their input and approval before ever moving ahead to the next phase.)
3.What you can AFFORD to do.
(Only when you have decided exactly what it is that you hope to accomplish, you have the actual plans and anticipated project costs figured out, and the congregation has given their green-light, do you begin to explore, in Phase Three, how you are going to pay for it. In all likelihood, the master plan will have to be revised, yet again, and the wish list pared down to what you can actually afford. Then, and only then, after Phase Three is complete, and after the congregation has given their final approval and commitment, would a building program then move forward.)
Such a process obviously takes time, to be sure. But it’s the only way to do it correctly.
Otherwise, you are guilty of… well, of putting the cart before the horse.