“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” —Galatians 6:9
Last Thursday, we focused on the dream and the vision. Today, I’ll show how I transformed my vision of a church library into a reality.
Treat the execution of your vision as a process.
1. Get Permissions.
I invited the Director of Education to my home. After serving her lunch, I sat her in an armchair in my library (a prior dream come true). Then using visuals, I presented my vision to replace our tiny, archaic church library with a larger, modern library. She promised to secure the go-ahead and permissions to revamp the abandoned youth room.
I think my success resulted from my preparation and passion.
2. Do the Research.
- My dream hatched from experiencing a Christian community library. The librarian gave me a tour and answered my questions for months.
- I purchased cataloging reference books and read them.
- My knowledge of Christian publishers helped me populate our shelves with Christian fiction and nonfiction.
- My son suggested an inexpensive, excellent online cataloging service, LibraryThing.
- I learned from long-term church members that hardwood floors lay beneath the soiled carpet.
- The music director told me where to buy inexpensive area rugs.
- My sister had a list of children’s books she maintained from her story time ministries.
- I gleaned favorite Christian books in various genres from members of a writers’ group who shared such lists on our email loop.
Taking time to listen to people who showed interest in my vision provided my best research.
3. Gather Resources.
- My husband, my best resource, helped remove layers of soiled carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. He built a desk in the closet, creating the library office.
- The adult Sunday school class housed in the room helped us paint the room.
- People inside and outside the church donated books.
- Two like-new armchairs appeared from elsewhere in the church.
- A gentleman who loved carpentry, built 9 bookcases and donated a child’s table.
- The pastor moved reference books in his office to the library for everyone to use.
- The supportive church secretary had a donated computer and Internet access installed in the library office.
- The church’s women’s group bought many new books from my children’s list.
- I sold duplicate donated books to fund new books.
When people saw and heard what I was doing and how I appreciated assistance, they supplied needed resources.
4. Manage the Work.
- When the time to complete your vision seems endless, re-imagine its benefits and do the next thing. The library was useable in less than a year, but my vision took about two years.
- When you hit roadblocks, turn to a different task. While I waited months for the room to become available, I set up in another room and cataloged books.
- When you’re overwhelmed, break jobs into tasks. I had stacks of boxes of books to go through and decide what to reject and what to catalog. I applauded each empty box.
- When peoples’ ideas threaten the vision, be tactful. Some wanted to use the comfortable library for meetings and Bible studies. When I explained that would prevent people from browsing and checking out books, the church limited extraneous uses.
- When others’ ideas improve the vision, incorporate them. I reserved a shelf for the women’s reading program books.
- When people help, let them know they matter. Several appreciated people became champions of the library.
I viewed quitting not an option.
5. Bring closure.
- During the process, I wrote a library manual, which I used to train my successors.
- Celebrate. The pastor held a consecration ceremony in our library.
What helped you transform a dream into a reality?
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Your library is beautiful. I am sure that now your congregation will enjoy finding and reading books that will nourish their souls and build up their faith. Truly a work well done.
Zoe, I wrote the anonymous comment but didn’t fill in the other info. As someone who isn’t very tech oriented, I didn’t scroll down to the next section. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog.
Thank you for taking a look and your kind words.