Posted in Architecture on June 30, 2014 1:56 pm EDT

Fish or Cut Bait

It's all about having the right tools, techniques, and programs to help houses of worship accomplish their missions.









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TAGS: blog, business, design, ministry, programs, tools,


By Jerry L. Halcomb, FAIA

A few years ago while on vacation in Alaska, I had my first opportunity to fish for salmon. What a great experience. Our guide provided all the right tools and equipment, loaded me and a few of my fellow vacationers in a boat and took us across the fast flowing Kenai river to the bank where we waded out in the water and were shown how to best fish for salmon. Especially at first, our guide seemed to be able to catch salmon with every cast, much more than any of our group could; but with patience and the right tools (waders, rod, reel, lure with hook) we began to catch them ourselves -- and what fun to see the success of actually pulling those salmon from the water!

I thought about the old saying "fish or cut bait," and I began to think about how important it is to not just "talk" about fishing, but to actually get out there and do it.

—Jerry L. Halcomb,Founder and President, Studio H Consultants

Later, I thought about the old saying "fish or cut bait." I began to think about how important it is to not just "talk" about fishing, but to actually get out there and do it. Once you decide to actually do it, then how important it is to have the right equipment and then to use it properly. In my salmon fishing experience, I quickly learned that until I used the rod and reel correctly, I would never pull in the fish like our guide did. Technique is a learned skill. Being in the business of planning and designing church facilities for more than 43 years I realize how important the facilities (tools) we design can be in the success of a ministry as it goes about fulfilling the Great Commission of "fishing” for men.

This line of thinking really came to my mind as I reflected on a youth facility our firm completed for Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas. The church is located on Lake Ray Hubbard in the Dallas area and is blessed with a very creative pastor, Steve Stroope. Steve challenged our firm to design a "tool" that would attract the youth in the area, "cool" enough to attract the youth, and allow for the right youth activities and programs that these active teenagers needed. The facility took the name of "Pier 419" after Matthew 4:19, which says "we are to be fishers of men." The firm designed the right “rod & reel or tool" for this exciting ministry in the church’s new youth facility. The facility includes a theater for 600 youth, skateboard area, sandlot volleyball, stacked two-on-two volleyball cages, café, as well as the required classrooms and youth offices. At the end of the day of fishing for salmon in Alaska, we had caught our limit and had been successful with the right "program," "tools" and technique. At the end of the opening day of Pier 419 at Lake Pointe Church, there were 150 decisions, including 50 decisions for Christ. It is critical to have the right equipment in fishing for men, as well as for salmon, and there is no limit to our catch when we are “fishers for men.”

So many churches today are struggling because they don’t have the right tools (programs, opportunities to build community, and the facilities to support them). They need to bring the right team together to take a look at their situation, first at the “30,000 feet” level to see if they have the right facilities in the right place to turn the church around. The right "tools" are indeed important!



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