Big Buildings, Big Holes

By Howard R. Brammer

(From our series “The Best or Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received.”)

Howard Brammer (right) shares a laugh with Dave Roberts, who preceded him as minister at Traders Point Christian Church, during an event earlier this year.
Howard Brammer (right) shares a laugh with Dave Roberts, who preceded him as minister at Traders Point Christian Church, during an event earlier this year.

A few weeks into my new ministry with Traders Point Christian Church, it became clear we weren’t growing as quickly as anticipated. We told no stories in the church newsletter of rapid growth and large worship service crowds—there were no such stories. Actually there were unprinted accounts of a few people who were leaving.

My concern increased to the point that I brought the matter to the attention of church leaders. I didn’t anticipate I would receive timely advice I have applied to many ministry and life situations since that time.

The straightforward bit of counsel came from a construction manager. Morrie informed me that his company was responsible for some of the largest buildings in downtown Indianapolis. Then he said, “Before we build a big building, we must first dig a big hole.” He then gave me a short course in the need for a solid foundation supporting any new structure you want to last.

This sage advice served me and the church well in dealing with the vast opportunities and changes that would come our way in the years that followed. The old foundation had served well, but new paradigms, vision, and direction often require new and different superstructure.

I’m glad I patiently listened to and followed the advice of a building construction manager about the importance of a strong foundation.

Howard R. Brammer is pastor emeritus of Traders Point Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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