This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
It has truthfully been said that "change is dangerous," and to those experienced in the erection of new church edifices it is unnecessary to say that it is a developing period in the career of the congregation which is fraught with difficulties and dangers, and often with disasters, either to pastor or people, and often to both. It is a time when those giving direction to affairs, are called upon to exercise the utmost wisdom. But the arduous labors and perplexing difficulties should not be sources of discouragement, they should rather awaken to greater effort and increased caution in the work so necessary to be accomplished.
Here in the very beginning let us give a word of counsel to those who are to be leaders in carrying forward new enterprises. Unpleasantnesses are likely to arise, unkind things will be said, and unthought and unwrought plans and suggestions will be inflicted upon you, but never, under any circumstances whatever, allow yourself to lose that self-control which will restrain you from saying those things which will do no good, but result in positive evil. Never lose your temper. If insulted appear to be too stupid to be aware of it. Remember that men often regret what they did say, but seldom what they did not say. An insignificant seed when left to germinate will sever a rock, so a single expression, a word, or even a look, may and often has dismembered entire congregations.
While we would urge upon all such as desire to know how to keep churches out of debt the importance of a careful reading of each of the chapters herein presented, yet if this cannot be done we would call special attention to Chapter II., page 21, on "How Churches Get in Debt." In Chapter III., A Wrong Policy, page 54; Stopping the Evil, page 58; Selecting a Committee, page 64; Suggestions to Committees, page 64; Making Collections, page 68.
When a new undertaking is contemplated, the whole matter should be presented so as to secure the best judgment and most hearty co-operation of all persons interested. Although the official board, or the trustees, or a committee are to be entrusted with the greater responsibilities of carrying forward the project yet they are only the servants of the people, and are dependent upon them for sympathy and support. Having determined the necessity of a new church, parsonage or any other structure, one of the first things to be inquired into is, how much money can be secured for the object. Much caution is necessary just at this point, for many will promise, or even pledge much more than they are able ever to pay. Enthusiasm is apt to usurp the place of reason, and liberal impulses are liable to outrun financial ability. Some men will subscribe a thousand dollars who never had so much money at any one time. In a new enterprise many will follow their zeal, ambition, and even their pride, rather than their judgment. On the other hand again, many will be controlled by a parsimonious, illiberal spirit rather than by a sense of Christian duty. In endeavoring to reach such, the committee will need to select the best plan, and to go fortified with such arguments as will secure the desired amount, and at the same time leave the contributor a better and more liberal man.