If we build it, will they come?

I’ve mentioned my desire to gauge the felt need for a retreat a few times now. It seems to me this is an important aspect (read in part “responsible aspect” in the context of a future nonprofit) of the planning process.

Lately I’ve wondered exactly how important this is (even though, responsible aspects aside, I’d still like to be able to somehow quantify the felt need). So I have a question for you:

If we build it, will they come?

Is it a step of faith to move forward on such a large project without being able to say, “I have the names of 150 people who want to be residents at the center.” Or is it foolhardy, akin to building a tower without a plan?


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

2 Responses to If we build it, will they come?

  1. Julie says:

    Yes and no. Churches are already organized and networked, so finding artists is a matter of connecting with networks that already exist. (And connecting with other artist networks, like the Chicago Artists Coalition, and artist retreats, like Ragdale.) It’s not too early to start spreading the word and finding artists – but I don’t think it’s too early to start moving forward, either.

    The question of felt need is an interesting one. It’s not like I’ve ever sat back and wished for this kind of thing… but if the opportunity presented itself, I would sure benefit from it.

    It seems like the idea of SAC has been weighing on you… I tend to think that doesn’t happen without reason.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Hi Paul,

    Ah, I’ve been to Campobello
    as a tourist! The house we own is on Gott’s Island, off Mt. Desert Island. We lived there for 5 months when we first married. Much of what you say about the retreats/etc. say beats in time
    with my own heart in hopes, dreams and visions. I see myself as a catalyst, too.
    My suggestion is that you ‘date your idea’ before you buy the house and marry it.
    This is a good way to build momentum and figure out the exact specifications of
    the programs you envision.
    My mission experience was in Ensenada, Mexico a couple years ago with 2 of my sons.
    The other was going to help rebuild in Mississippi after Katrina. My thoughts are:
    we are too tied to our material resources and this holds us back. Revolution in Missions will sock you between the eyes on this, as well as going to a catastrophic disaster and witnessing how the Body of Christ comes together. We spent some time also at “God’s Katrina Kitchen” which was a stonesoup story started by Greg Porter. http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/tg/pvsainfo/dspStoryList.cfm?ids=8

    That experience ranks as one of the most amazing of my life.
    I’d love to travel and go overseas, but I’ll do whatever He wants.

    Like start a revolution.

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