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Leading from the heart—The Wright principles: “It’s gonna take longer”

By: Bishop Laurie Haller, interim bishop

House Build

Photo courtesy of Iowa UMC.

I’m sitting at my desk in my office at the episcopal residence in Clive, Iowa. Facing west, I can see the sun set and the silhouettes of two men, who are still working on the roof of a new house that is being built across the street. It’s a large house, and I can hear the hammering sound of shingles. I do not have any practical skills in the building trades, but Gary and I have had considerable experience leading building projects in various churches we’ve served. The name that immediately comes to my mind is Frank Lloyd Wright, who taught me the theology of building and of spirituality.

Frank Lloyd Wright is synonymous with architectural genius. Wright is known for his innovation, creativity of design, and attentiveness to detail. Anyone who has ever studied Wright’s architecture immediately recognizes his work because it is so distinctive.

There is a story about Frank Lloyd Wright, how he always sat down with prospective clients before finalizing a contract because he wanted to offer four pieces of advice about how contracting and construction work will disrupt their lives. Wright’s counsel is timeless and is applicable to most any building project, including churches, as well as to life in general.

He would say, “One – the project will take longer than you planned. Two – it will cost more than you figured. Three – it will be messier than you ever imagined. And Four – it will take more patience, perseverance, and determination to get through it than you ever dreamed.”

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