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.
Invest all the money you can raise, but not more. Build as beautiful and costly a church as you can pay for,* but in making your plans, if you would be on the safe side, make a full allowance for unredeemable pledges, and double the amount which is estimated to be sufficient to complete the building. Do not build for posterity, for in nine cases out of ten posterity will tear down your structure to build one more agreeable to its own taste. Build for yourselves, and leave "posterity" to do the same. Build a church to meet your needs, and not one that shall be "an ornament to the city." Among churches we have already too many ornaments, and too few which are well suited to the purposes for which churches should be built.
*See also Chapter II., section 4, page 27.
The cases are rare where the final expense does not exceed, to a surprising extent, the figures primitively stated as the ultimatum. The diversity, of course, varies with the foresight exercised by those in charge of the enterprise. But it may be stated as a rule, to which there are few exceptions, that the first estimates fall far short of the final cost. Although these facts may tend to discourage, they will, when properly taken into account, occasion less embarrassment, and be more easily surmounted, "for he who is forewarned is forearmed." Where a chapel is to cost $1,000 it is often the case that unthought of expenditures increase this amount to twice that sum. Where the church is estimated at $40,000, an additional $20,000 or $30,000 is usually required to pay for alterations in plan, improvements, or to meet expenditures required, but overlooked from the first. If these facts affright the committee or congregation, be consoled with the thought that it is better to be appalled before, rather than after the debt is created. Be consoled also with the thought that most congregations can, with proper management, do from two to six times more than the various members anticipated they could possibly afford.