Six Ways to be a Great Client

(Part 3 of a 3-part XPastor Series)

posted by John Jackson

Photo by  Tor Listrand

Photo by Tor Listrand

This post is a continuation of a series of presentations given through to help mentor Executive Pastors who embarking on an architectural adventure.

See Also:

Part 1: How to Hire an Architect, and
Part 2: Typical Architectural Process for Churches

Part 3: Six Ways to be a Great Client

1. Pastor the Process

  • Unify the players, process and people
    • Encourage the church, the staff, and the building team
    • Expect Adversity
    • Engage with honest communication
  • Cast Spiritual Vision
    • Building Process as “mission”
    • Buildings are not evil
    • Buildings as a means, not an end, to worship

2. Know, and Communicate, Your DNA

  • Distinguish between fashion and ministry needs – you need not be a “copiest” with your facility…or worship.
  • Communicate your ministry masterplan to your people and to your architect.
    • A good architectural masterplan should merely flesh out your ministry masterplan.

3. Speak with One Voice

Who is the client? Define this for your architect! 

  • The Staff’s Role
    • Provide precise ministry needs (Programming, we will talk about this next week)
    • Assign a Staff Representative to the Building Committee
  • The Building Committee’s Role
    • Communicate the vision and needs of the church
    • Manage the project from the client’s viewpoint
    • Interface with the teams assisting the church (ie. Staff, Design Team, Finance, Construction, etc,)
    • Assign a committee person to be the liaison to the design team (sometimes the staff person, sometimes the Chairperson)
    • Manage Change
      • Develop and communicate your priorities
      • Scope Creep
      • Schedule Creep
      • Contingency Budgeting
      • Estimating during the process
      • Owner
      • Soft Costs
      • Construction
  • The Church’s Role
    • To approve and support of the good work of the Staff and Building Committee,  especially at a high level, not detailed.  A good BC will involve the right people when detail is needed.

4. Choose an Outstanding Team

There are several teams that will help you create a successful project: (See Process Diagram)

  • Client Team (Church, Staff, and Building Committee)
  • Project Team (The Client Rep, Building Committee, Architect)
  • Building Committee (Chairperson, Design expert, Finance Expert, Construction Expert, Staff liassetc.)
  • Contractor (Project Manager, Superintendant, and many subcontractors)
    Choosing the Construction Team:
    • Delivery Methods (See Handout)
      • Construction Manager At Risk (CM@R)
        • See handout on CM@R Solicitation standard form
      • Design-Build by invitation
      • Traditional Design-Bid-Build by invitation
    • Integrity
    • Respected by owners and subcontractors
      • Quality
    • Visit built projects and projects in progress
    • Best Value
    • Experienced team
    • Project Manager
    • Superintendent
    • Estimators
    • Check references and visit finished projects
    • Talk to owners of recently completed projects (not necessarily the pastor - people who were very involved in the process)
    • What is the “Cultural Fit” (Cowboy vs. Suit)

5. Accept Wise Counsel

  • Allow the team to serve you (see Section 3 for the typical architectural process including terms)
  • Expect professionalism, give professionalism
  • Keep your BALANCE (Size, Quality and Budget)

6. Celebrate & Connect

  • Don't gain a whole building and lose a thousand souls!
  • Prepare for growth in advance
    • Staff
    • Volunteers


For more in this XPastor Series: