Make time for planning; wars are won in the general’s tent

Our story so far: Early on in our church conversion project, our wry son-in-law joked he was going to start a competing blog called “Everything Wrong With the Church.” This chapter is for him.

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We had been cruising along, making a lot of decisions by hook or by crook, and we had arrived at the point where our lack of design plans exacted a price. In time or money. Or both. The finishing phase was where the rubber hit the road.

The size of the refrigerator nook, for example: We measured incompletely and ended up having to re-drywall the nook so the fridge would fit.

This would never happen to a house builder who built the same five house plans over and over again. Key word: Plans. Same for a custom home builder. An architect would have determined measurements for everything before a single nail was driven. We weren’t home builders, and we were arrogant enough to believe we could do an architect’s work (we had a floor plan—what more is there?). As the saying goes, we didn’t know what we didn’t know. If we had a written plan, we still might have ended up with a crooked wall here and there, and we might still be making decisions by the seat of our pants, but we wouldn’t be redoing work. Now, in the finishing phase, a quarter inch—or foot—made the difference between something fitting or not. Missing steps meant going back to retrace them.

On top of our lack of plans, we were making the final push towards occupancy, so Tyler sometimes had a half dozen men working in the church at once. If the street in front of our house didn’t look like a construction zone before, it did now. Timing issues—this task was required before that task could be finished—were bound to arise.

Vehicles belonging to contractors and to us lined both sides of the street in front of the church on many days during the push for occupancy.

Someone—we’re not pointing fingers here—screwed a hole in the electrical wiring behind the beverage bar. When the electricity didn’t work, we pulled out both beverage fridges and performed trouble shooting. Two hours, gone. While we had everything torn apart, Tyler added some insulation to the plumbing running up an exterior wall. Maybe in this way, a mistake prevented a future problem. This was how we had to think in order to keep frustration from outrunning hope.

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Today’s headline is a quote from author Stephen Covey.

Tomorrow: The upstairs bathroom … uff-da. Read about it here.

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