Why is it so important to have a plan and stubbornly stick with it? Because we tend to get flustered, distracted, and/or tempted by other ideas that in themselves may be good ones, in fact in another situation might be the plan, but in this case, our present case, would only lead to confusion and chaos.
What should the plan include? It should include a strong visual statement accompanied by a verbal description, an illustrated mission statement for the project. It should be dreamed about, discussed, detailed. It should be prayed about, drawn, written, and finalized. Once approved by the pastor, committees, engineers, donors and diocesan commissions, it is now worth following: “Come hell or high water.”
How important is the plan? If you have used the combined faculties of human intellect and will at your disposal while pursuing all avenues of prayer, your plan is now the center of the project. During storms, your plan is like Jesus asleep in the boat, and when you want to cry out, “Master, Master, we are perishing,” go back to the plan. As gales begin to whip the sails, do not despair, do not jump out, go back to the plan.
Usually the plan starts with a concept. We want a dark church to become luminous, we want the color, form and materials to be unified. We want a “worship space” imbued with the sense of the sacred, that is, a sacred space that is complete, legible and religious. (See “What is the Sacred Sense?”) Above all, we want our plan to make the church beautiful, because beauty leads to God. (See “What Makes a Church Beautiful?”)