April 2004

The sound of silence : Friday, April 30, 2004

April 30 2004 by Tony W. Cartledge

The sound of silence : Friday, April 30, 2004
Friday, April 30, 2004

The sound of silence

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

A recent round of six "listening sessions" regarding the Baptist State Convention's four giving plans was met with the overwhelming sound of silence. Attendance was extremely sparse at all six meetings, ranging from a total of eight in Jacksonville to 22 in Greensboro. In every meeting, interested persons from the rank and file of North Carolina Baptists were outnumbered by members of the budget committee, convention officers and denominational or institutional representatives.

When the budget committee and convention officials offer BSC churches six regional opportunities to talk about the giving plans and hardly anyone shows up, the message should be heard loud and clear: most N.C. Baptists have little or no interest in changing the current system.

The giving plans have always had detractors, but there is certainly no groundswell of popular opinion to change them.

Initial publicity about the listening sessions indicated that the meetings were a response to actions taken by messengers at last year's convention.

That was not correct, and we failed to catch the error in our original reporting of the meetings. The convention took no action directing the budget committee to reconsider the giving plans.

The actual impetus for the sessions came from the September General Board meeting, when Wayne Key, a pastor from Cherryville, proposed that the giving plans be reduced to two: a "Cooperative Program" plan (the current Plan A) and a "Cooperative Missions" plan that each church could custom-design, so long as it included at least 50 percent for the BSC and that other designations were for Baptist entities already named in the current plans (see BR, Oct. 11, 2003, p. 9, or the Oct. 3 archive at www.biblicalrecorder.org).

The motion almost died for lack of a second, but after some discussion, the General Board voted to refer Key's motion to the following year's budget committee for consideration.

Although Key's motion provided the formal rationale for the listening sessions, his suggested two-track giving plan was not on the agenda.

There was another, more informal reason for the meetings. A variety of sources have confirmed that some conservatives at last year's annual meeting wanted to introduce a motion that would have eliminated Plan C. Reportedly, convention officers persuaded them to hold off, promising future opportunities for discussion of the giving plans.

The listening sessions fulfilled that promise.

In both Rocky Mount and Matthews, Fayetteville pastor Bruce Martin proposed a "unified plan" that is a variation on Plan A (68 percent to BSC, 32 percent to SBC). His proposal would allow a five percent "positive designation" off the top, possibly divided into as many as five one-percent increments, with the remaining money to be divided between the BSC and SBC according to the current formula. Martin's proposal was discussed in at least three of the other meetings.

Martin also promoted his plan at the April 29 meeting of Conservative Carolina Baptists, where most of the 100 or so attending endorsed it.

On a different track, Greensboro pastor Ken Massey proposed a single giving plan that would direct 100 percent of receipts to the BSC, allowing churches to contribute separately to any national organizations they choose to support.

Look for other suggestions to surface.

All of the suggested plans have potential problems, because no single giving plan can meet the needs of the BSC's very diverse collection of churches. Any attempt to return to a single plan would be perceived as an effort to infringe on the autonomy of local churches by reducing available options, and would almost certainly lead to a reduction in gifts from the churches.

It seems apparent that some proponents of a single giving plan are more concerned with solidifying support for the SBC than with unifying churches of the BSC.

The idea that we can turn back the clock and get N.C. Baptists to rally around any single giving plan is a fantasy. It may be an appealing fantasy, but it is fantasy nonetheless. BSC churches have sought and demanded options, and the convention's willingness to provide them has done much to keep many churches on board. There should be no doubt that removing or reducing options will lead to greater fragmentation, reduced giving and a weaker convention.

It might be possible to design a single plan with enough built-in options to satisfy most churches - providing all the current options are still available - but the transition would be a logistical nightmare, and the end result would be more cosmetic than substantive.

The four flexible giving plans that N.C. Baptists have developed over the past 15 years are not perfect, but they have served well, and continue to do so.

If our real concern is unity rather than uniformity, there is no compelling reason to convert the current system to a single plan, or to invest another ounce of energy in debating it.

Surely God has better things in mind for us to do.

4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments

Winged hope? : Friday, April 30, 2004

April 30 2004 by Tony W. Cartledge

Winged hope? : Friday, April 30, 2004
Friday, April 30, 2004

Winged hope?

By Tony W. Cartledge
BR Editor

St. Louis is a beautiful city of contrasts, symbolized by the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a riverside park where the Gateway Arch stands tall against the Midwestern sky. Luxuriant lawns and flowering trees lend a peaceful air to the park, while throaty whistles of colorful riverboats speak of rowdier days along the Mississippi.

The city played host to a recent meeting of the Baptist Communicators' Association, (BCA) a group that harbors its own fraternal contrasts. Members include both public relations specialists responsible for managing their institution's message with a perpetual positive spin, and professional journalists whose job is to discover and report the real story. Some are in the uncomfortable position of being expected to do both.

No workshops for writers were offered this year, so I profited from attending sessions designed to train communications directors in how to "master the media."

Now, when dealing with skilled spokespersons who are charged with pulling the wool over my eyes, I'll have a better understanding of how they fleeced the sheep.

Despite the disparate nature of their work, BCA members tend to get along well and enjoy each other's company, as they did during an evening outing to a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Colorado Rockies.

The game wasn't particularly exciting - by the end of the third inning, the Cards led 11-3, well on their way to a 13-5 victory.

The highlight of the game - for me - was the St. Louis twist on ballpark food. Looking for supper and always curious to try local cuisine, I could not resist ordering the "pork wings" I saw on the concession stand menu.

If buffalo wings are good, I thought, pork wings should be even better.

"Pork wings" turned out to be a pair of tender barbequed ribs trimmed out to look like big drumsticks - and tasty enough to beat anybody's bratwurst.

I wondered, while savoring good ribs amid the good-natured ribbing of colleagues, whether Baptists from differing sides of the theological river might ever get along as well as some of the communicators who work for them.

The prospect, I fear, might be "when pigs fly."

Reason enough to pray for pork wings that work.
4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge | with 0 comments

Associations are vital : Friday, April 30, 2004

April 30 2004 by Jim Royston

Associations are vital : Friday, April 30, 2004
Friday, April 30, 2004

Associations are vital

By Jim Royston
BSC Executive Director-treasurer

A traveling friend described to me the tall, narrow houses on the crowded streets of Amsterdam, which sport large second story windows with a strong wooden arm and a pulley above them. These windows and pulleys are utilized to lift furniture to the second floor because the stairways are too narrow.

You can occasionally see someone leaning out the window, one hand on the pulley, another on a rope, instructing a friend below. You will never see, however, anyone attempting to lift furniture to the second story alone.

Some things you just can't do alone.

Long, long ago, Baptist churches discovered there are a lot of things they can do together that they just cannot accomplish alone. It's tough for one church to start another by itself; to reach a growing ethnic community; to build a homeless shelter; to offer language classes; to do resort ministries, disaster relief or plan strategically to reach a fast growing suburb.

Churches linked themselves together geographically, forming Baptist associations, which today continue to accomplish marvelous things for the Kingdom.

Eighty associations in North Carolina cover every square foot of our state and most are active missions partners with the Baptist State Convention (BSC).

Cooperation is all about people doing together what they cannot accomplish individually - like lifting furniture to the second story or working together in associations. This kind of partnership is important in the midst of global changes that are coming to roost on our doorstep.

In this mixed religious and social landscape, many associations are responding creatively and are making significant strides in mission and ministry in urban, suburban and rural areas. Several associations are currently involved in the hard, soul-searching work of strategic planning.

They understand it is better to ask: "How can our association support, encourage and resource churches?" instead of: "How can the churches support the association?"

Associations are the closest strategic link to groups of churches available to the BSC. It is impossible to involve each of almost 4,000 churches individually in strategic planning to reach our state with the gospel. But grouping those 4,000 churches into 80 associations suddenly makes the task feasible.

Associational directors of missions are important strategists whose grasp of the needs and opportunities in their local mission field is unsurpassed. Because their work is not always appreciated at the level it should be, I'm taking this opportunity to say "thank you," to the leadership in every association. Whether executive or volunteer, committee person or temporary program leader, they help strengthen churches and are partners in mobilizing Baptists for ministry.

Their work among you deserves your support.
4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston | with 0 comments

Courage: quality of a healthy church : Friday, April 30, 2004

April 30 2004 by David L. Odom

Courage: quality of a healthy church : Friday, April 30, 2004
Friday, April 30, 2004

Courage: quality of a healthy church

By David L. Odom

Courage is the byproduct of a congregation dealing with difficult issues and coming out on the other side of the conflict.

What makes a church healthy? For many people it is the absence of conflict. Leaders proudly report that they don't have any conflict in their congregation. But, I wonder if health and conflict are really at opposite ends of the spectrum.

If there were a continuum related to the health of congregations, my labels for the poles would be "vital" on one end and "no energy" on the other. Conflict has energy. It may not be helpfully directed, but there is plenty of energy.

Think about all the questions that are swirling in congregations today:
  • Should we start a new worship service?
  • Why are we not growing as fast as that new church in town?
  • Where are the young people?
  • What literature should classes use, or be allowed to use?
  • How should we spend our missions money?
  • Where can we find a good preacher?
  • Until sometime in the 1980s most congregations were able to trust the quality and effectiveness of programs produced by their denomination. The job of the church leader, therefore, was to select the program that most directly addressed the needs facing the church, get the training necessary to run the program and then do the work. The congregation was responsible for implementation. The denomination or a trusted publishing house did all of the design work. The seminaries trained the pastors to use the programs. The system often worked very well.

    Today the assumption is that no one knows the needs and opportunities facing a congregation like the people in that church.

    Increasingly, congregations are designing their own curriculum, study materials, missions experiences, retreats and everything else. Today it is common to look inside the church for the leadership to design and deliver the programs. If someone needs to be hired, then there is no better place to start the search than inside the membership.

    In the transition from denomination-based design to congregation-based design, the number of decisions that must be made in the congregation grows exponentially. With so many more decisions to be made there is more opportunity for conflict. Creative opportunities and conflict go together.

    Another factor facing congregations is diversity. Most congregations still do not have the racial and social diversity that characterizes our society. But congregations increasingly have plenty of people who are "not from around here." These people did not learn how the congregation operates by growing up in it. Often members are attracted from a variety of denominational backgrounds. The people are faithful and gifted, so they are brought into leadership.

    But some leaders, for example, don't understand the role of the bishop in a Methodist Church or the rector in an Episcopal congregation. When the role and authority is explained to them, leaders may not accept the system as it is. The whole situation is a prescription for conflict.

    As these two examples of the current environment indicate, conflict is very much a part of today's scene. In fact, I believe the traditional congregations that are most likely to have vibrant ministries in the 21st century are not congregations that have successfully avoided conflict. Effective traditional congregations will be those that have lived through and learned from significant conflict.

    Of course just having a good fight is not a qualification for vibrant ministry, but it is the capacity to deal with conflict and learn from it. That is the quality that helps congregations adapt as needed and stand firm as is appropriate.

    Courage is the byproduct of a congregation dealing with difficult issues and coming out on the other side of the conflict. It takes courage to disagree with each other on important issues and commit to stay together through the struggle. Courage is required to stand for unpopular (even prophetic) positions, and courage is required to change old habits that have lost any meaning beyond familiarity.

    Healthy traditional churches have a courageous spirit. It is definitely not free of conflict, but it does respect the differences that people have and finds ways to stay with each other and do important ministry.

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - This article is reprinted with permission from The Lamp, newsletter of The Center for Congregational Health. Odom is president.)

    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by David L. Odom | with 0 comments

    Let go and let God : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by Ted G. Stone and Philip D. Barber

    Let go and let God : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Let go and let God

    By Ted G. Stone and Philip D. Barber
    Baptist Press

    "He still thinks he can do it on his own!" another disappointed parent confessed.

    The most recent bearer of this sad news was explaining why his son's name, which had been on the waiting list for admission to Hebron Colony, a Christian treatment facility for those hurting with drug abuse problems, had been removed at his son's request. The young man had slipped temporarily back into his self-made hole of agony after receiving a healthy paycheck.

    We always try to reason with parents. "Why don't you refuse to employ your wayward son unless he gets help for his problem?" But the frustrated businessman was afraid his son would only find another job and wander further into the dark world that promised no certain return. "At least, he's near enough that I can keep my eye on him," the man insisted. "And he's doing better right now!" But for how long?

    A recent letter from a mother who has agonized through the loss of two sons to alcohol rejoiced in the improvement recently in the life of her third son, who also has struggled for years with alcohol. She acknowledged later in the letter that her pride was tempered by her own understanding that he was working toward the right goal (sobriety), but doing it the wrong or hard way. He has previously tried the meetings, the sponsors and the whole misguided routine of those who have been convinced that their disease can be controlled, but that they are doomed to wear their sad nametags the rest of their days on this earth.

    This young man needs to try the surefire way to permanent recovery, the substitution of something stronger than the addiction, and that, of course, is a lasting trust and dependence on Jesus as Savior and Lord of life. At this dark point in life, he needs to let go and let God! Our Lord is still in the healing business.

    This dedicated Christian woman has tried to convince her son that his personal efforts are meaningless without the Lord's help.

    We finally realized the futility of our efforts at the gates of our own personal hells and grasped for hope. We found it in Jesus. And it is our constant prayer that those who seek recovery on their own will finally cry out for help. It is available, just around the corner.

    Another father called recently to inform us of his son who had tried a stay at a Christian treatment facility. His son refused the recommended treatment that included a six-month stay at a Christian halfway house; he had fallen once again. "This time we're determined to make him stay the course," the discouraged father promised. "I'm insisting that he go through the primary treatment program twice before going to the halfway house. Every time he figures he can handle things on his own, he fails miserably. This time we'll insist that he get help and stay with the program."

    We pray that this is true, but one important ingredient still is missing. This young man must choose to get well. By God's grace, healing is available to those who take the first step to let go and let God have His way.

    The other day a young man entered Bethel Colony. He had managed to hide his problem from family and friends for a time. But the truth eventually became obvious, and he soon admitted to himself that the problem was more than he could handle. For him, the future seems bright, even though it may be a long, hard road back.

    He has turned to Christ for his help. Our Lord never promised us that things would always be easy, but He did promise us the strength to overcome. Jesus is the hope of a sick world. He is our hope!

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - Stone and Barber share their ministry through Ted Stone Ministries, P.O. Box 1397, Durham, N.C. 27702, (919) 477-1581.)
    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Ted G. Stone and Philip D. Barber | with 0 comments

    Another view on giving : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by

    Another view on giving : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Another view on giving

    Yes, tithing is down and a heart change is necessary for contemporary Christianity. But don't underestimate the impact of a changing culture. Our crisis is not that the younger generation will not give. The crisis is that they will not give to an organization or cause that fails to stir their passion.

    Ask a 20-something to pay for a light bill and you get pennies. Ask that same person to give for starving children and he's not only more likely to give, but he'll go to distribute the food.

    There is a new spirituality developing. With the possible exception of mega-churches, buildings and programs are not the priorities of post-modern Christians. The Cooperative Program, while enabling Southern Baptists to be the greatest mission sending agency in the world, is seen as ... well, as just another program.

    And the Cooperative Program, in its current incarnation, simply does not connect with the younger generation.

    This lack of connection is not for lack of trying. As a pastor, the amount of information that crosses my desk is staggering. But information is not communication. People in this church can put faces to the mission projects they are passionate about.

    I offer no solutions here. I just believe the dialogue must recognize these trends. The very nature of how the SBC is currently organized needs to be evaluated.

    I recently heard a statistic that in 20 years, 60 percent of the organized churches in North Carolina will no longer be in existence. Why? Because they are not willing to embrace the changing culture and move toward a more decentralized structure.

    Could this also be true for the state convention? A changing culture is inevitable. As hard as it will be, these difficult issues should be addressed.

    George Wright

    Banner Elk, N.C.

    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

    Thank you, Alliance of Baptists : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by

    Thank you, Alliance of Baptists : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Thank you, Alliance of Baptists

    I've just seen the Biblical Recorder's online posting from April 28, "Alliance of Baptists affirms same-sex marriage." Thank you, members of the Alliance of Baptists, for your April 17 statement on the shameless and cynical advocacy of a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage as an election year ploy. I'm incredibly grateful to the Alliance for your decency in recognizing the rights of law-abiding, tax-paying, same-sex couples to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    I'm not a Christian, but I do view the historical Jesus as a powerful social activist who would be distressed at the arrogant bigotry of His alleged adherents in these days (and I'm not referring only to homophobia). People who wield their Bibles as weapons frighten me when they're speaking from a pulpit - and even more when they hold political power.

    So, thank you, Alliance of Baptists, for being there and speaking out.

    Kathy Heggemeier

    Cary, N.C.

    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

    Finding the right architect : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by Jane Paige

    Finding the right architect : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Finding the right architect

    By Jane Paige

    Members of Coats Baptist Church in Coats knew it was time for a move. The existing facilities were cramped; there was no place to park and the property was landlocked. New buildings on a new site seemed to be the right answer, but the church needed a plan. So, they hired an architect.

    Atkinson Dyer Watson Architects (ADW) of Charlotte was selected to prepare both a master plan and a design for the new facilities. Specializing in religious facilities, ADW has worked with over 170 churches since 1977. Using a team approach, ADW and the Coates Baptist building committee worked closely together. In early 2000, the church moved into its new 35,000-square-foot facility.

    "We had an excellent relationship with ADW and the entire process was very smooth," said Jesse Mooney, Coats pastor. "The architect was extremely valuable and really helped guide us to a successful project."

    The majority of churches building or renovating hire an architect, according to industry experts. The architect is one of the most important people involved in the church project. Architects work with the church to develop an appropriate design response to the church's program requirements. During construction, the architect acts as the church's agent, working with the building industry.

    "A lot of churches still believe the architect is optional for a project," said Jerry Grubbs, a church architecture consultant with the Southern Baptist Convention. "Today, a licensed architect is mandatory for a project. Churches need to allocate the necessary money to hire an architect. It will certainly be well spent."

    The best approach to architectural selection is a well-planned interview process. A list of potential candidates must be prepared. The candidates can be found through referrals from other churches, church members or other trustworthy sources, according to industry experts.

    "The most important factor is to find an architect that understands church buildings and especially, in this case, Southern Baptist churches," said Grubbs. "A great deal of problems can arise if the church members and the architect are not speaking the same language."

    Not understanding the unique and often subtle requirements of a church facility can lead to big problems, according to Wayne Roberts of The Roberts Group, a Cary-based architectural firm. He told of one project where the architect had designed the worship area without an access door for the minister and other worship leaders.

    "The entire project is in jeopardy if the architect does not know the codes, regulations and requirements of church work," Roberts said.

    Experts say churches should issue a request for proposals to at least six architectural firms. From information in these proposals, a church selection committee should decide to interview three to five firms. References should be checked and credentials verified.

    "It is important to give each firm equal time and equal attention in the interview process," said Barry Parks of Trinity Architecture and Planning in Winston-Salem. "Each interview will probably require between 60 and 90 minutes. It is also important not to do more than two a day because all the information can be overwhelming."

    Before making a final decision, the committee may want to bring one or more candidates back for a follow-up interview. In the second interview, more specifics can be dealt with as they relate to the project.

    The basic selection criteria focuses on the architect's capability to perform the project under consideration, compatibility in working with the committee, commitment to achieving the goals of the church and cost control in professional fees and overall project budget, according to industry experts.

    "The church committee needs to carefully consider the personalities of the architects and what would work best with their church," Grubbs said. "The working relationship between the committee and the architect is imperative to the success of the project."

    "Selecting the architect cannot be done in a haphazard way," Grubbs said. "Churches need to take a great deal of time to look carefully and pick the right person."

    One reason the members of Coats Baptist selected ADW for its building project was Stan Howell, a planning specialist with the firm who worked 22 years as a church minister of education. His knowledge of both sides of the business was a key selling point, according to Mooney.

    "We were impressed with Stan's relation to the church before he joined ADW," Mooney said. "It really helped that he had such extensive knowledge of church work."

    ADW also prepared a master plan for the church. The firm held a "dream session" with church members, getting a wide variety of ideas and dreams for the church facilities. In addition to getting everyone involved in the process, the session also developed a starting point for the plan.

    "Planning for ministries should be the driving force as the process begins for creating building space," ADW's Howell said. "Budget is important, and it will be a major factor in the size and type of space the church decides on, but planning for ministries should be the beginning point, not the budget."

    For Coats Baptist, ADW designed a three-phase plan. The first phase included construction of administrative offices, education building and fellowship hall to be used as an interim sanctuary. The phase, completed in early 2000, cost about $3.8 million. To keep everyone informed on the project's progress, two members of the church building committee met weekly with the architect and general contractor. The second phase, to include a permanent sanctuary, has not yet begun.

    Architects also stress the importance of long-range planning and developing a master plan for a successful church site.

    "It is critical to put that first building in the first phase in just the right place," said Roberts. "Whatever churches pay for a master plan for the entire site is well worth it."

    Church construction can work in several ways, according to Roberts. The project can be design bid, meaning the architect designs the building and general contractors bid on the work. It can be team build, when an architect prepares a conceptual design and the general contractor is hired early in the process. The church facility also can be design build, meaning the general contractor is hired first and then hires the architect. In most cases, the architect is hired first.

    Roberts said it is helpful if the church pre-qualifies the contractors to ensure the best ones are interviewed. A questionnaire can be sent to contractors to help eliminate some before the interview process.

    Once a clear statement of project requirements is established and all contractual arrangements are made with the architect, the project can proceed through the designated phases. These include schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding or negotiation and construction administration phases.

    Mooney thinks the recent building project was smooth due to the professional manner of the architect, general contractor and church members.

    "The entire process worked great for us," he said. "We kept an open line of communications all the time and it was very successful."

    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Jane Paige | with 0 comments

    Interviewing architects : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by

    Interviewing architects : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Interviewing architects

    (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following outline of suggested questions to ask prospective architects was taken from Planning and Building Church Facilities by Gwenn McCormick.)


    A. Set date, invite architect and schedule time.

    B. Provide the architect with the following information:

  • Site information
  • Preliminary sketches of project if any are available
  • General building budget information
  • Building program information and requirements.
  • Interview

    A. The architect/firm
  • Give a brief overview of your firm.
  • Have you done other church projects? Describe some of the projects.
  • What is the range of project sizes and costs with which your firm usually works?
  • May we have a list of previous clients with similar projects?
  • B. Qualifications and experience

  • Describe the services of your firm as they would relate to each phase of the architectural and construction process for our project.
  • Tell us about your firm's associates and technical specialists.
  • Who in the firm would be primarily responsible for our project?
  • What other personnel in your firm would be assigned to our project?
  • Would an interview with any of these persons be beneficial?
  • Do you have "in-house" engineering or do you use outside consulting firms?
  • Are there other specialists who would be needed for our project?
  • C. Describe briefly the interrelated roles of the church, architect and contractor.

    D. Based on your perception of our project, how would you propose to work with us?

    E. Why do you think you are the architect/firm that meets the needs of our church on this project?

    F. Contracts and fees
  • What type owner-architect agreement would you propose? Can we have a copy for review?
  • How do you base your fee?
  • When is it due?
  • If it is based on a percentage, would you guarantee a maximum fee based on the scope of our project?
  • What specifically is included in your basic fee (mechanical, electrical, plumbing, structural, acoustical, interior design, landscape design, color elevations, models, etc.)?
  • What is not included that we might need? What do you think it will cost?
  • Does your firm carry Errors and Omissions Insurance? Describe the benefits of this coverage.
  • G. Timing
  • What is your estimate of the time required for each phase of the architectural and construction process?
  • Estimate the total time required for our project.
  • H. Cost containment

  • What is the firm's record for designing within budget?
  • What factors will affect the balance between economy and quality?
  • Who is responsible for value engineering to deliver the project within budget?
  • How would you propose a client/architect relationship that would control project costs?
  • I. Construction phase
  • What would your role be during the construction phase?
  • How often do you visit the construction site?
  • Do you have a preferred construction method?
  • What are some options for contractor selection?
  • How do you handle change orders, and how are they billed?
  • During the Interview

  • Listen for the architect's sensitivity to the church's needs and desires. How does he deal with unrealistic expectations by the committee? Does he reveal a healthy regard for work done by previous committees?
  • Does the architect listen and understand the committee?
  • Does he give evidence of being a good communicator?
  • Are suggestions and alternate approaches offered?
  • Does he seem familiar with local codes and buildings issues?
  • 4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

    Master planning defined : Friday, April 30, 2004

    April 30 2004 by Barry Parks

    Master planning defined : Friday, April 30, 2004
    Friday, April 30, 2004

    Master planning defined

    By Barry Parks
    Architect/Principal, Trinity Architecture and Planning, Inc.

    So, has anyone stopped you on the street lately with, "Psst, hey buddy, where's your master plan? Every other church has one! I've got one here - one size fits all. I'll make you a good deal."

    Fortunately, that exchange isn't common, but you've heard the term "master plan" often enough to think that, like fire extinguishers and spare Bibles, you hope your church has one.

    If your church is considering building, remodeling, additions or relocation, your interest is well placed.

    What is a master plan?

    One definition is "a long-range site and floor plan that allows a facility to expand and grow in phases as required by numeric growth." A more universal view suggests that a master plan, at least one that is successful, is a crafted tool that will examine complex issues and propose a set of solutions that serves as a bridge toward growth and change. It is intended to establish direction beyond the most immediate needs in hopes that future work can be more successfully addressed.

    When related to space and facility needs, the master planning process will often need to bring in a professional planner - typically an architect.

    State laws require the inclusion of an architect or engineer to assure health and safety compliance on most non-residential projects. An experienced architect will bring more than legislative validation. Experiences with a wide variety of congregations with diverse needs would add to the creativity and sensitivity the planner brings to a church project. Sometimes, an outside designer could help church members see their facility from a different perspective.

    The issues on any church campus can be daunting. Building issues include not only the need for new or expanded space, but also accessibility for the disabled, introduction of new technologies and limitations imposed by various codes.

    Likewise, site related issues that need to be addressed include aesthetics, landscaping, parking, recreation, zoning restrictions, utilities, movement and retention of storm water, accessibility, signage, exterior lighting, separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, requirements of appearance commissions and other review agencies and the placement of driveways.

    The designer needs assistance from the church staff in gathering information to suggest solutions appropriate for the church project.

    The first step in many master plan projects is a scavenger hunt. Drawings of the existing building and site need to be found. Building plans provide an important resource to the architect, indicating size of the existing building components, material of construction, age and other elements and systems hidden behind walls and above ceilings. The alternative to having these reference drawings is for the professional to make field measurements. This is time consuming and expensive, and still might not uncover many hidden elements and systems. Obviously, this is not an issue for a congregation that has acquired new land.

    Under both scenarios, documentation about the land is important. Site plans and surveys contain precious information about zoning, setbacks, utility lines, topography and other information that could impact design.

    To be successful, the master planning process depends on the quality of the information available and creativity in its use. This is more than a collection of drawings. The master planner needs to learn how the existing building and site are used, what works and what doesn't work - a process that will identify a variety of solutions for discussion and refinement.

    The master planner should assist the congregation in preparing a space needs analysis of each ministry area and where growth is projected. This needs assessment, with information on the existing site and facilities, is the basis for the master plan.

    What will it look like?

    At the end of this process, the designer should provide the church with a package of information centered around presentation-grade drawings of conceptual site and floor plans that address the previously identified issues. Existing facilities would be shown in their modified forms, and new buildings might be suggested.

    The completed plan illustrates a vision for the ultimate use of the church site. Other supporting material might be included as well as a set of drawings with enough detail to show the plan's viability and communicate the vision to the congregation.

    The architect is often asked to take part in the unveiling of the master plan to answer questions that may arise.

    Note that the emphasis of master planning is on a "plan" that is a two-dimensional study of the building size and circulation issues. Any renderings or models that show "how the building will look" should come with a warning that additional study, budgets, material selection, design development, and a host of other factors may modify the final look of the structure.

    When to do a master plan

    Remember, a "master plan" is not intended to be a final product. It is a tool for successful development. It is the preliminary activity that establishes an orderly pattern and system for development, either current or future.

    It should be remembered that master plans have a limited "shelf life," because changes in building codes, land regulations, church ministries and technology might limit a plans usefulness over time and may, at some point, need to be abandoned. For the plan to have full value, congregations should launch a building program as quickly as possible.
    4/30/2004 12:00:00 AM by Barry Parks | with 0 comments

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