Build Well: 6 Lessons from Nehemiah

Nehemiah 2:18,  “Let us rise up and build,” is a familiar passage of Scripture and also the theme that many churches use when they are planning to renovate or make additions to their facilities. Here are a few things that Nehemiah faced. Church leaders should consider these points as they plan:

What is your “Why?”

Why do you want to begin this renovation or undertake building a new addition to your new facility? For Nehemiah, it was that his heart was broken for the Jewish remnant in Jerusalem ( Nehemiah 1:4). He realized that there was a need to be met, and God used him to rebuild the city walls. Our church facilities are a blessing and should be used to help point people to the gospel. As any renovation or building project begins we should all remember that everything we do as a church should point people to the gospel message.

Planning and Evaluation

Nehemiah went to inspect the condition of the wall before he ever started the work of rebuilding it (Nehemiah 2:12).  An evaluation is critical to any renovation or building project. What is it that needs to be accomplished? For example, is the existing facility in need of an update? Will new carpet, paint, and signage be what is necessary? Or is repurposing existing space what is needed? A few years ago, Hopewell Baptist Church in Gainesville went through a renovation of its facility. The children and student ministries swapped spaces, and it allowed each ministry to have the space that they needed and both spaces were updated.   

Required Resources

Nehemiah asked the King for letters to authorize his travel to Jerusalem as well as needed materials to rebuild the walls (2:7). Identifying needed resources is critical to a successful renovation or addition. Will the project be able to be handled by lay people at the church or will an architect and builder need to be used? How will the project be paid for? Will there need to be fundraising or will it be included in the church’s budget? The answers to these questions will help determine the direction of the project.

Cast a Vision

After Nehemiah evaluated the current reality of the wall, he cast the vision to the rebuild it (2:17). When vision is cast, God’s people respond. Nehemiah explained the “why” and the people rallied behind him. It is so important that leaders continually cast vision and encourage their churches about the building project, specifically by sharing how this building project advances the mission of the church.

Encountering Opposition

The work began and Nehemiah faced opposition from outside groups. He had to continue to lead the Jewish people through challenges they faced internally.  There will be challenges along the way in any building project. Nehemiah was obedient to God throughout the process, and God blessed his efforts. The enemies and opposition he faced didn’t distract him from accomplishing God’s purposes. Opposition takes many forms but it is all an effort to distract and discourage us from being obedient to God.

Celebrate the Victory

The wall was rebuilt in 52 days (6:16)! What many thought was impossible was accomplished in less than two months. It is important that when any building project is completed that we praise the Lord for what He has allowed to take place. The wall was built and God’s purposes were accomplished. As any building project is completed, stop and thank God that He has allowed it to be accomplished and celebrate the gospel impact that this project now allows your church to have.

The Discipleship Team of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board exists to help churches in the area of discipleship, which includes sharing best practices for facilities. Our team would love to be apart of the discussion about what disciple making looks like in churches in Georgia. For more information, please contact the Discipleship team and schedule a consultation. You can also join the conversation on Facebook!

Published September 9, 2020