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Peter Drucker, Church Facilities and The Futurity of Present Events

Peter Drucker was a futurist and the guru of all things leadership.  He was an amazing leader and author….and if you are too young to remember his works, I would recommend you research his writing.

I was recently reading a blog by Bob Buford, chairman of the board of Leadership Network and author of several best selling books.  In the blog, he referenced Drucker and made the following statement – “Peter always told me that predictions were perilous and inevitably surprising.  I have some drink coasters on my desk quoting Peter that say, ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it.’  Peter was usually 20 years or so ahead of events.  This is the way he explained it to me, ‘You look out the window to see what is happening today and build your picture of the future by extending the implications of the present.'” 

Did you catch that…”build your picture of the future by extending the implications of the present”. WOW…before you read on, sit and chew on that just a minute…i’ll wait.

OK…ready to move on?

This sparked  some thoughts about how this applies to the blog series we have be on and particularly the one from last week entitled “Your Church Facilities Should Suck”. I have heard from many of you about this blog…some shocked at my use of the word “suck” (which means you did not really read the blog) and others that agreed with the premiss of the blog

I want to make sure that all of my readers hear my heart…so let me elaborate.

I fully believe that a building will NEVER save a soul…it is only a tool. It is a means to an end.   But they can be a distraction to some and hinder them from coming on-site and hearing the gospel. Or maybe they come on campus but the condition, flow, aesthetics, lack of signage, etc become that distraction and they zone out.  Environments matter.    It is what Andy Stanley calls the “setting“. These things matter

The “sucking” that I referred to last week is what we call Architectural Evangelism.  We have seen it over and over again and heard numerous stories of how someone in the community was drawn onto a  campus and later became a Christ Follower.  The initial draw was not a “church” or thought of wanting to become a Christian…but something else was compelling them….and that lead to the ultimate life changing experience.

I believe that we need to see the “futurity” of our facilities.  How will our actions today related to design, flow, street appeal, signage, etc serve us in the future as a tool? Can we envision the futurity of our present day decisions or are we only focused on the here and now?  That would be sad to me if that was indeed the case. But for many, that is reality

If we can see our facilities as one of  the seeds we sow…just like our words…or actions…our writings, then it adds a whole new perspective to the value of the
facilities. I do not want to come across as one who tries to twist scripture to make my point…I have seen too much of that in my life.  However, if we can see our facilities as one more “seed” , then I believe the following scriptures take on a whole new meaning:

Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NLT) – Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

2 Corinthians 9:6 (ESV) –  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Mark 4:26-26 (NLT) – Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. 28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. 29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Are you willing to see your facilities as one (not the only one…just one) of the seeds you can plant and see how God will bless it to impact your community? Can we see these tools as a both/and vs. and either/or as we consider our community impact and outreach? Are we able to see the futurity of our facility design, function, and “suction” in the present?