|Photo: Joe Westbury, Christian Index|
It is magnificent. I hope the Christian Index doesn't mind my using their photo.
Let me share a personal story on building buildings - a micropastor building story.
In a recent church building program some mistakes were made. No one foresaw some things and we ended up with a few minor details that we wished we had done differently. I recall listening to someone repeatedly complaining about these, ad nauseum, to which I finally said, "Look. It cannot be undone. I'm not going to spend the next decade griping about it. I suggest you find a way to do this as well and we will both be happier."
We have this GBC building. Not a whole lot can be done about it. Maybe it can be sold, though I question the resolve of Georgia Baptists to go through with such a plan. Perhaps some of the 40 acres can be cut off and sold to pay down the debt. Maybe some of the building can be leased (with all the job cuts, surely we are significantly underutilizing the thing).
I'm not going to spend a lot of time griping about it. I cannot be undone.
But, wait a minute. I don't recall a lot of rancor back when it was being built. I don't recall any 'storm the Baptist Bastille' movements to downsize and scale back the building program.
Most all of us were on board. Maybe spending got out of hand with it. If so, odd that no one has said so in all these years since. I don't know.
I do know that a lot of real estate deals in 2006 got out of hand. I've worked in and been around the real estate business all my life (I had a real estate license as a teenager) and have a decent understanding of it.
Lots of people built or bought houses in 2006 that are worth about half what they were back then. There was this meltdown, remember? Attitudes were different prior to it. Grand visions and appreciating values were the rule.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. No doubt things would be done differently today.
I see no profit in bearing ill will towards Dr. White and other GBC leaders who led the effort to build this building and spending the next score of years complaining about it. It's done. He and the Executive Committee have my prayers as they seek solutions.
This has to be a humbling time with staff, budgets, and ministries being cut. And now the showpiece building on the table. It is also, seems to me, a good time to look hard at all we do. Maybe we should make some major changes, changes other than just slicing jobs and budgets.
While there will be a time when the economy improves and the Cooperative Program picks up, I sense that normalcy for Georgia Baptists has changed permanently. That is good and I trust that we have people in place who will respond to the present challenges.
A good place to start would be complete openness and transparency. I think Georgia Baptists are owed that.
As an addendum, while I allow anonymous comments, there are people who ought to speak to this issue and identify themselves when they do.