Most of us have "enjoyed" the experience of making multiple trips to the hardware store when attempting to install what often seems to be the simplest of tasks. After this task consumes most of the day, including all kinds of time that was not planned, we rock back and ask ourselves, "why didn't I just hire a professional?".
The amateur in the scenario above most likely just spent twice or more in time and money, than if a professional would have been hired. This reminds me of a quote from the famous oil well firefighter, Paul "Red" Adair. He would tell folks, "If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional……wait until you hire an amateur!". Candidly, he's right.
There's something to be said for taking on a project that is beyond one's experience, wouldn't you say? Yet, it happens more often than not. Whether it's projects around the house or the office, many people bite off more than they can chew. Professionally, our firm sees this happen a lot too.
Since 1961, Mantel Teter has served churches as their architect. As you may suspect, churches often times are either committee-driven or some other type of group dynamic for decision-making. On occasion, one of those members will be an architect or engineer. Sometimes that person is simply a church member. They feel obligated to "help" their church and maybe "save" them money in the process. The most important question you should be asking, are they truly qualified?
Just because one is an architect, doesn't mean they can design any building type. Let's dispel that myth right now. Most firms have specialized their practice into certain building types and markets, such as; healthcare, schools, municipal buildings, and so forth. Churches are no different; they are complicated. The church needs to hire an expert, a professional, that understands ministry dynamics, church trends, metrics, and what the future church just might look like. Thinking that the church is saving a few dollars in professional services may actually cost them unmeasurable amounts in leadership capital and ministry potential. In other words, the church just missed the mark.
Churches are a market that is just as competitive as retail business. The choices are endless and the offering of services go deep. Our culture is one of convenience. While design and creativity is important, if the foundation of mission, vision, and values are not well thought and translated, then the rest is meaningless. Equally, the church needs a professional that understands the inter-related connection between growth, space needs, timing, and financial affordability. In other words, helping the church design what they truly need and can afford. Too often, these projects are over-designed and under-funded. The wrong spaces are designed and not based on the missional needs for which the ministry serves. The drawings are left rolled up and placed in the pastor's closet.
Let's work together to avoid these costly mistakes…mistakes all made with the allure of saving a few bucks. Remember, if you think it's expensive to hire a professional, just wait until you hire an amateur!