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WHEN NOT TO BUILD

Sometimes bricks and mortar aren't the answer for growth.

When a young, growing church in suburban Philadelphia asked me to design them a thousand-seat sanctuary, that's exactly what I expected to do. They had called me for the usual reasons: their sanctuary was full and they were running out of Sunday school space. They reasoned it was time to build.

My wife, Sally, and I, working as a team, met with the church board for four hours on a Saturday morning to get all the information we could. During the next several days we scrutinized the church's facility usage, finances, and ministries. With additional input from the church growth committee, we developed a comprehensive plan to accommodate the church's growth.

The next Saturday, we presented our report to the board. Sally and I were no less surprised by our recommendation than they must have been. "What you really need to build," I announced, "is a storage building."

Had the church invited me a year earlier, I would have designed a thousand-seat sanctuary and cheered them on. "The building will ...

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