1. It's about People. The church is not a building but a group of people that belong to God. And buildings should serve people. It is easy to lose sight of this when undertaking a building project. Building projects have divided churches - even before construction ever starts. Dangers are inherent in any building project; one unique to churches is that the building, initially needed to house the ministry can displace funds needed to 'do' ministry. This happens when all the costs are not properly budgeted in advance;  too much of the budget goes to paying for it - the mortgage, utilities and maintenance. It is also not about the senior pastor as a monument to 'success'. If this is the case, the ministry - and building - is likely to go when he does. For these reasons, we advocate processes that preserve church unity, that budget properly and even, at times, challenge leadership assumptions. 
  2. Beauty Matters. Observing God's creation, it is obvious that He placed a high value on making things beautiful. Beauty is a transcendent characteristic. In buildings, it need not be elaborate or expensive; beauty is often found in simplicity. A room or space can be inspirational by it's volume or height or the way that light or sound interact with it. A sense of warmth or intimacy can be added by materials, textures and lighting. Plants and site features  that are carefully selected and placed can transform  the experience a person has as they approach a building (or hang-out outside to pray for awhile).  These aspects of a space or design can provide the transcendent quality of beauty. Creativity can bring beauty without an expensive price tag.
  3. Good Relationships are Essential for a Successful Building Project and Trust is the Bedrock for Good Relationships. Good outcomes require good teams. There are many team members in a church building process: church leaders, architects, engineers, specialty consultants, contractors, material suppliers and specialty artisans. We seek to build a team that will most benefit the church, allowing each expert to contribute with respect from the entire team. Being honest and trustworthy are essential, along with paying each participant fairly for their contribution. We use a one-page Agreement with churches to codify this, and work open-book, expecting subsequent team members to operate in a similar 'transparent' fashion.  
  4. At the End of it All We All Have to Give an Account to God. I am very mindful that one day I will have to give an account to God for how I lead and advise churches when it comes to the buildings I design. (As well as every other area of my life!) On that day, I want to hear "Well done!" This motivates me, not simply to please church leaders, but to try to always do what is right for the church - even if a leader is not happy about it. Church leaders have a sacred entrustment and are held to a higher standard. I do my best to support them as well, advising them when decisions may hurt leadership credibility. I want to help them hear "well done!" too, when it comes to any building project they undertake.