The Magic of Place

The concepts of “story” and “place” are not new concepts…but they seem to be coming more vernacular with churches dedicated to reaching their community and being intentional about communicating their unique story (which is a reflection of their vision and mission).  We are going to take some time looking at the implication, strategies and contextualization of place and story, and how they can be more than just a strategy, but a critical component to your churches DNA and culture. Let’s start with The Magic of Place.

The magic of Place has three faces: natural, constructed, and virtual.

Natural Place Magic is intrinsic to those wonders of the physical world that thrill and awe us by simply existing. It’s the stuff of National Geographic  specials that create magic through their natural grandeur. Our primary memories of these places will always be the magic of the natural wonders themselves.  Even so, skillful service magicians can subtly but measurably enhance our experience of Place Magic. A subtle balancing and blending act is the key to creating consistent Place Magic by showing off the main attraction at its best.

Constructed Place Magic comes in a greater variety than does Nature’s Place Magic. While few man-made places are palaces, castles, or world icons, even the most mundane can also be magical. There are hotels and grocery stores and retailers and automobile dealerships and hospitals and dental offices that stand above others and sparkle. People should feel attended to and comfortable in your constructed place.

Virtual Place Magic demonstrates that place is not always a physical location. Successful organizations must have a presence, a story, and a sense of experience in their virtual world, as well as the physical world. The look and feel of your online presence – your digital front door – must reflect the look, feel, and ambiance of your brick and mortar place.  Distinctive and eye-catching design is only beginning of creating a virtual place; you must also build trust and create a unique experience. From the first click, guests should be drawn in, made curious, and delighted by the virtual place you have created.

Utilizing a Natural Setting

Few organizations will have the benefit of a serene waterfront setting or a majestic mountain view. But everyone has a place that can be enhanced by the following rules:

  • Find your “natural” story – All locations have a story; what’s yours?
  • Educate yourself – Steep yourself and your team in the details of your place
  • Create an “elevator” story – What 30 second story can your team tell about your locale and its uniqueness?
  • Dabble in décor – Consider enhancing your interior with visual representations of the natural setting
  • Sensory congruence – The smells and sounds need to be in sync with the sights and feel

Creating Illusion, Amazement, and Delight

There is no better contemporary example of building magic into man-made places than the world of the theme park. And there’s no better example of this than Walt Disney, who created an entirely new approach to the concept of entertainment, a business obsessed with the customer point of view, and the precise management of the customer’s experience. With the opening of Disneyland in 1955, Disney developed an obsession for anticipating and controlling every detail that will support – or detract from – his vision. He called it “Imagineering,” and defined it as the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how. It has been best codified by Marty Sklar, the first chairman of Disney Imagineering, in a set of principles dubbed “Mickey’s Ten Commandments.”

  1. Know your audience– Before creating a setting, understand who will be visiting your place
  2. Wear your guest’s shoes– Evaluate your setting from the customer’s perspective by experiencing it as a customer.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas– Think of setting as a story and tell the story in a sequenced, organized way.
  4. Create a “wienie”– Borrowed from silent film lingo, a wienie is a visual magnet used to orient and attract customers.
  5. Communicate with visual literacy– Language is not always composed of words; use the common languages of color, shape, and form to communicate through setting.
  6. Avoid overload by creating turn-ons– Do not bombard customers with data; let them choose the information they want, when they want it.
  7. Tell one story at a time– Create one setting for each idea to avoid confusing customers by mixing multiple stories in a single setting.
  8. Avoid contradictions; maintain identity– Every detail and nuance of a setting should support and further the organizational identity and mission.
  9. For every ounce of treatment provide a ton of treat– Give your customers the highest value by building an interactive setting that gives them the opportunity to exercise all their senses.
  10. Keep it up– Never get complacent and always maintain your setting.

You are practicing Place Magic by creating or enhancing environments that delight, support, and enliven your guests. Magical places are venues with physical attributes that attract and please, subtly enhanced by human endeavor.

Remember that as a church leader, you do have “customers” – they are the guests who come to your place every weekend.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to create a magical place in your organization!

Adapted from Service Magic by Ron Zemke and Chip Bell and reposted by permission from Bob Adams (@robertvadams) with Auxano and Curator of the  Vision Room.

Check out our book, Why Church Buildings Matter. Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.

Church Facility Projects – What To Do During Construction

Once you’ve finalized the construction plans, secured a loan, and kicked-off a successful capital campaign, it’s finally time to start construction.  While you’ve probably hired a construction company to handle the actual building work, this isn’t a time for your team to take a backseat.  You need someone to be the central point of contact for the general contractor, architect, builder, project manager, AVL team, and capital campaign consultant.  This might be your Executive Pastor, Facilities Manager, another individual from your church, or an external “owner’s rep”/Project Manager.

You’ll want to visit the construction site often to assess progress and take pictures during construction. Nathan Parr, Operations Manager for First Baptist Church in Belton, Texas recommends going out at least once a week to take pictures once the construction crew is past the initial foundation grading work.  Take pictures of all critical systems and label each picture before they install sheet rock and flooring.  Keep in mind that hard ceilings will cover where drains and traps are located for other plumbing, so you’ll want to take pictures of that as well.

Nathan also advises you create a binder of all submittals including brands and model numbers of what’s installed.  Document the paint formula used for each room (not just the brand and type).  Include all this information in a “Building Standards” binder.  This will save your facilities team time and money for years to come.

Carl Jackson with 7 Hills Church recommends you take detailed notes and track conversations you have with the construction team, architect, and others.  Follow-up with people on commitments they made or questions they promised to answer for you.  Take the initiative to make sure you get the information you need throughout the project.

From a capital campaign perspective, Brad Leeper recommends you keep the project in front of people.  The best way to do that is to drip the vision out constantly.  You might mention after a baptism service that in the new facility you’ll have more space for discipleship classes and classes for those who’re considering faith.

The construction phase can be exciting, frustrating, and overwhelming.  Staying organized throughout this phase is important for the sanity of your team and for a successful project.

The Church of “Generica”

I travel a lot and I am in many cities across the county.  One thing that has really struck me is how similar one city is to the next…especially in the “burbs”. Almost every Outback, Chili’s or Applebee’s  has the same basic design.  I can be taken blindfolded into almost any Home Depot or Lowe’s, remove the covering and not know what city I am in. In most cases I can be plunked down in a community with developments that are less than 10 years old and much of the architecture of the  shopping centers, the so called “urban” housing, and office buildings look very similar.

I am conflicted when I see this.  A part of me feels comfortable and “safe”…but a deeper emotion wonders if we have settled for a generic, industrial, revolution mindset and formations. What happened to unique? What happened to original and innovative? Have we commoditized everything to the point that we press them into existence like we were running a Ford assembly line? Have we accepted that we live in “Generica” (A term not learned from Jon Crosby)? If so, are we also content with worshiping at The Church of “Generica”?

Recently, I read a blog by Sam Rainer III in Church Executive Magazine entitled “Hurdles to Established Church Innovation”.   I have a lot of respect for Sam and his dad Thom.  They are passionate about the local church and live it out in their personal and professional lives.

Sam starts the article by asking 2 questions:

“Does the established nature of some churches hinder innovation?”

“Is an established structure antithetical to quick, nimble changes?”

These may seem obvious or possibly rhetorical, but I think they are far more thought provoking than they may appear on the surface.  He drills down on what is “innovation” and “established”.  According to Sam, innovation is “the process of successfully establishing something new” while establish means “to create firm stability.”  Sam goes on to poke a couple holes in both by writing:

“Established churches, in particular, can take comfort in the establishment. Traditions and history can easily become a guise for complacency. Innovation can take a back seat to the entrenched processes that help create the stability.”

As I read further in to the article, I believe that Sam is communicating that it is a both/and scenario. We need to have innovation in all of our ministries.  We need to be exploring new and fresh ways to “be the church” instead of getting comfortable with our holy huddles.  It may require serious paradigm shifts, and yes…you may very well lose people because of it.  If that happens, and you believe that the innovation you have implemented is going to further the Kingdom and the mission of the church, then wish them well and let them go because they may very well have been the limiting factor to you reaching your God given vision.  I like what Joyce Meyers say…”Rejection is Protection”. When we are rejected, many times it is the Lord protecting us from a potentially bad situation or relationship.

At the same time, church plants and new works can not stay in a mode of only innovating and primarily focusing on being “cool”. At some point you need to establish systems, processes and core values. There needs to be a sense of stability and permanence.

“Generica” can be just as prevalent in a contemporary setting as a 100 year old traditional church. When I go to a conference of church planters or “cutting edge” churches, it strikes me as odd to see many pastors/leaders with the same hair style, same untucked shirts and pointy shoes. Or I will visit a contemporary church to witness the  same haze machines, 3 video screens, drum cage and mono-sloped roof lines.  What we think is cool, relevant  and cutting edge can be just as generic as the coat & tie, 4 white columns, red brick and steeple. This “condition” is an equal opportunity malady that can infect any church, any movement or any ministry organization.

Sam wraps up his article with 4 hurdles that may be hindering a church from innovating.  They are:

  1. Lack of intentionality –When resources are plentiful, the temptation is to be less intentional. The practice of spaghetti-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks is not true innovation. It’s haphazard chaos.
  2. Lack of originality –  Innovation is introducing something new, not introducing something with the façade of newness or a new logo.
  3. The wrong metrics -What gets measured gets done, and what you measure is typically an indicator of what you value. A mature church will measure different things than a new church. However, an overemphasis on the metrics sustaining the establishment will inevitably de-emphasize innovation and dissuade team members from attempting innovation.
  4. The ease of appeasement – In an established church, some leaders prefer the ease of appeasing members rather than innovating to reach new people. Appeasing existing members is much easier than challenging a church to innovate and reach new people.

Avoid becoming the Church of “Generica”…Innovate! This applies to how you “do” church, how you reach the community…and yes…how your facilities are designed.

Check out our book, Why Church Buildings Matter. Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.

Church Facility Projects – Preparing for the Capital Campaign

This next phase is all about raising money.  While that may sound unappealing in ministry, the practical reality is any building project will require a significant financial investment.  Thankfully, raising funds doesn’t have to feel slimy or worldly focused.  In fact, this is an opportunity for your congregation to come together to achieve a common vision.  It’s much less about the actual dollars than it is about developing a culture of generosity and rallying around the vision.

We spoke with Brad Leeper from Generis to get his insights on a successful campaign.  Here are his tips for preparing to launch a capital campaign:

Tip #1: Don’t assume people will be in church every weekend to hear multiple presentations about the campaign

Generis recommends a typical campaign (at least the public version) run for about five weeks.  Most people in your congregation will miss a Sunday or two within that five-week window.  Therefore, you need to tailor your communications with that in mind.

Tip #2: Campaigns shouldn’t be boring

Don’t just present a few architectural drawings and expect people to rally around those pictures.  The campaign should be fun, crazy, exciting, and life-giving.  Any guilt trip or sense of condemnation if someone doesn’t give isn’t going to work.  This should be a watershed moment in the life of the church.

You’ll need to infuse the campaign with credibility (hey, they’ve really thought this through), momentum (wow, I can see they already have key leaders onboard who’ve already donated), and energy (this is going to be an amazing building!).

Tip #3: Realize that potential givers will go through a thought process, including the following, before deciding to commit:

  •      “What’s the information?”
  •      “Why are we doing this?”
  •      “How do I participate in this?”

They’ll likely be less concerned about the information and more interested in the inspiration (the vision, the “why?”).  Whether they consciously go through this thought process or not, you’ll need to account for each of these three questions as you communicate with them about the campaign.

Potential Pitfalls to Consider

Keep in mind that church is one of many aspects of an individual’s life.  They have a job, a family, kid’s activities, and more consuming – their mental and emotional energy.  Since most people aren’t giving at a meaningful level now, they may not feel like this campaign applies to them since they aren’t giving anyway.  There’s an unspoken attitude of “why should I care?” that you’ll need to address.

An emotional appeal to rally around the vision will get some people on board.  However, others will also want to hear the practical reasons behind the project.  They want to know if it makes sense to do this project.  Be prepared to inspire and give practical reasons why to capture the attention of the widest audience.

Discuss why this project is critical to fulfilling the mission and vision of your church.  What happens if we don’t do this project?  What happens if I, as an individual giver, don’t contribute towards this effort?

Address why someone should consider prioritizing his/her finances so they can give towards this project.  What are you inviting them to be part of that’s bigger than themselves?  Don’t expect them to figure that out on their own.  Connect the dots for them and help them see why this is an effort worth sacrificing for.

As you can tell, it takes time to build up towards the public facing part of a capital campaign.  Consider the current culture of your congregation and how people will think or what they may ask as you get started.

The New “Front Porch”

If you lived around the turn of the century until the 1950’s, the front porch of the homes, general stores, and local businesses was a vital part of culture.  If  you wanted to know what was happening in your community, especially your immediate 5 minute walk, you could sit out on a front porch and see and hear what was going on.  My grandparents lived in an old house in Canton, Ohio with a front porch.  I can remember as a boy sitting out there and watching the neighbors interact…watching the “social media” of the day in full action.  My grandfather used to take me on a 3-4 minute walk up Second Street to the general store that also had a front porch that was occupied by people connecting, sharing life, and sharing experiences.  I also remember watching the Andy Griffith Show and seeing how the gents used to sit out front of Floyd’s Barbershop talking to the passerby’s and getting caught up on the local news (or gossip). If a new person or business came to town and you wanted to know more about it/them, you could hang out with these boys and get the skinny.

The front porch was a primary means of gathering information.  It is also the place that a “first impression” of something or someone might be developed. If the boys in the rockers said that the new hardware store was a great new addition to the community, your first impression would be positive.  The converse would also be true. If you wanted to know what was going on at the local church, you could hear the latest by hanging out on the front porch.  Or you would ask your neighbor as you swung on your front porch swing and they played catch with their kids in the street or front yard.

So what about in today’s culture? I would suggest that in 2017 (as in the previous 5-10 years), the new front porch is the internet, websites, social media and the like. While the traditional “front porch” has been decimated by zoning laws, busyness, and our desire to hibernate/escape society in our suburban settings (which is where I live as well), we have turned to other means and methods to gain the information that we desire. Like it our not, the new “first impression” of your church may have little or nothing to do with your facility, preaching, music, friendliness, denominational affiliation or any of the other things we think attract guests.  In fact, more times than not, a first time guest (not visitor) is going to check you out on the web before darkening your doors.  They will check out your website.  They may Google the church and see if there are any reviews or good/bad press about the church. What if they get to your site and there is a picture of Brittany Spears (see pic of a real church website…oh, my)? If you can capture their attention…which is usually less than 1 minute…they may even check out a sermon or podcast.  From that initial experience, they will make a determination if they want to physically come and check you out.  If your website and other internet interactions do not tell a story that impacts their interest, they will be moving on to the next website.  Period.

I know that many of you are thinking, “How shallow.” Really?!?!?  You think that? When was the last time you were looking for a good place to have dinner and you searched the internet before leaving your house or office?  Did you open a website to be unimpressed by the “presentation” and representation of the establishment, so you moved on to another?  I know I have…and I have missed out on some great dining experiences because the website turned me off. Whether we like to admit it or not, first time guests, especially a non-believer, is a consumer.  They are “shopping” for an experience and that experience starts on the web.  I know many “churched” people don’t like to think in these terms, but that’s reality…deal with it (in Jesus name).  Just like you “shop” on line for a restaurant that meets YOUR needs and expectations, people are doing the same thing with church.

One of the biggest factor for churches is being intentional about who you’re trying to reach.  For example, making a church style website with tabs like “ministries,” “service times” and “current series” will generally just appeal to your standard church audience.  The key is to really think through who you’re speaking to and trying to reach.  Is the site for your existing attendees?  Seekers who have never had a church experience?  Seekers who have walked away from church after being raised in a religious household?

Over the next several weeks we are going to talk more about the “story” your church facility tells.  “Story” is a huge part of our interaction with people and having a congruent story about or churches starts not at the front door, but at your new “Front Porch”. How inviting is your front porch?

Check out our book, Why Church Buildings Matter. Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.

Church Facility Projects – So You Want to Launch a Building Project?

Whether you’re renting a facility or want to expand the one you already own, the decision to embark on a building project isn’t one to take lightly.  This effort will require a significant amount of time, energy, money, teamwork, and prayer.  If you don’t have prior experience in the construction industry or an unlimited budget (who does?!), then this is time to pause and consider what you’re about to do as a church.

It’s always helpful to have a road map or GPS available before you set out on a trip into unfamiliar territory.  With that in mind, we’ve developed a series of posts to guide you through key milestones in the construction journey.  From architectural drawings to financing and more, we’ll walk you through the major issues and point out potential pitfalls.

To get started, let’s address what you need to do first.  There are lots of behind-the-scenes details to manage as you start planning this significant effort.

Determine Your Why

The first phase of any construction project starts way before you hire a construction crew or start moving dirt.  You have much planning to do before you can get to those steps.  In fact, the first thing you should consider is “why”.

  •      Why do we want to do this project?
  •      Have we outgrown our current facility?
  •      Do we see a need in our community that this project could fill (that our current facility can not)?

Getting clarity on the vision behind the project is a pivotal first step.  Without a clear vision, you’ll have trouble making decisions and communicating why people should donate towards this project.

Gather a Team of Advisors

As we read in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”  Unless you are fortunate enough to have people within your congregation with these specialized skill-sets, you’ll need to bring in outside experts to give you wise counsel.  This is the time to start talking with potential architects, lenders, and capital campaign consultants.  It’s tempting to think you should start with an architect before talking with potential lenders so you know how much money you’ll need.  However, talking with lenders as you meet with your architect can help you determine what a lender is willing to loan to your church.  That can have a significant impact on what you can afford to design with an architect. Remember: You can do a building project in phases as your budget allows.  Trying to do it all at once isn’t necessary.  Check out “If it’s Phase-able, It’s Feasible” for more insights into that approach.

Get Your Facilities Manager Involved Now

Whoever is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your current facility needs to be involved in the planning process from day one.  This is the person who knows the constraints of your current facility, who hears the complaints from staff and volunteers, and who has to figure out where to store everything for multi-functioning rooms.  Even if you’re renting a facility, this is the person who knows how your congregation uses a building and what you’ll need in a new facility.

One example of where you’ll need to involve the facilities manager is in discussions with your project management team.  Here are a few questions your facilities manager may want to ask:

  • How can we setup the lighting and HVAC controls so we can save money by making the use of electricity more efficient?
  • How are we accounting for storage?  Consider how you’ll use each room.  If a room is multi-         functioning, decide where you’ll store extra tables and chairs for various room configurations.
  • How will we maintain this new facility?  If we have lights 20-30 feet in the air with pews or theater seats below, how will we replace the bulbs?

Consider the Total Cost

The total cost doesn’t simply include what it will take to build the facility.  Construction costs are just one piece of the overall puzzle.  Construction costs typically don’t include design elements such as theatrical lighting, sound, furniture, décor, flooring, paint, environmental graphics, IT components, etc. You’ll also need to factor in what it will cost to operate and maintain the facility once you’ve moved in.  This includes monthly utilities, maintenance and repairs, janitorial services, and maintenance staff.

Another item to consider is your long-term life cycle planning.  This is your plan for stewarding the new facility and the equipment associated with it so you can maintain and replace items as needed.  Each item has a life cycle or amount of time it will last.  HVAC units eventually stop working.  You’ll need to replace the soundboards and flooring at some point.  Consider the cost of replacing each item and what you should set aside in a capital reserve fund each month so you can easily pay for those replacements when the time comes.  eSPACE provides a free Life Cycle Calculator you can use to start this planning process.

Add up the monthly mortgage payment, what you’ll spend each month to maintain the facility (including insurance costs), and what you need to set aside for capital reserves.  Is that amount something your church can comfortably afford?  If not, now is the time to adjust plans and expectations before you’ve invested any money into the project.

Start Planning for the Capital Campaign

Unless you’ve already been saving for years, you’ll likely need to run a capital campaign to raise money for this project.  Before you announce anything to the congregation, you will need to do careful planning on how and when to cast this vision.  Brad Leeper from Generis offered these tips:

  • Start talking with church staff, leaders (elders, deacons, etc.), major givers, and small groups to align leaders before presenting the campaign to the full congregation.
  • Make sure you’re clear on why you’re doing what you’re doing.  You’ll raise more money by taking a longer view of the capital campaign process.  This is more about creating a culture of generosity and leveraging that cultural change than a short-term campaign.

This planning phase is vital to the success of your building project.  Don’t shortcut or skip anything in this phase.  You’ll end up having to deal with these tasks at some point anyway, so it’s best to handle them now before you’ve invested considerable time and money.

In addition, we have recently developed a FREE Church Facility Evaluator. This simple tool will provide you with a snapshot of some key indicators associated with facility operational costs.  This 2-3 minute evaluation will give you some real time data…based on national averages…as to whether you are GOOD TO GO…or in need of help.

Don’t wait…get started HERE!

Well Diggers vs. Temple Builders

“We are well diggers instead of temple builders”, is a phrase I heard for the first time from some folks at Visioneering Studios.  The first time I heard it, I needed to have it explained…but once it was, it really resonated with me.

The concept is fairly simple and yet profound.  It is based on the John 4 passage about the Samaritan woman at the well. Most of us that have been around “church” for any length of time, know this story.  We know that Jesus goes to a well in the middle of the day and meets a woman with a sorted past and shares life with her by getting a drink of H2O…physical water, and then offers and provides living water…a relationship with Jesus.  I have heard dozens of sermon applications about this story and I am sure you have as well. So how does it apply to church facility development?  This is where it really gets cool.

The concept is that we need to look for opportunities to develop “wells” on our campuses and within our communities and not just temples.  The well is representative of several attributes that I believe the church, as a whole, has not done a great job in providing to our communities.  We have been notorious in building temples…you know, buildings that are used one or two days a week – places that people in our community believe you have to act, look, and smell a certain way to enter – a place with too many “thou shalt not”  rules, whether they are real or perceived.

A well, on the other hand, is a part of the community.  It represents a place that was/is a vital part of  that culture.  People came there 7 days a week to get water…but also to see their neighbor, get caught up on what was going on in each others lives, share concerns, and sometimes just hang.  They would do life together, not just on the weekend…but every day.

The well was “common place”. It was not a top-of-mind place that the community folk would think of when contemplating a place to “meet God”. And yet, that is exactly what happened.  This common place become a destination were God meets a woman in need of a Savior…even though that is not what she was looking for that morning as she heading out to gather water.  They shared conversation, shared a drink of water, talked about the past, the present and what the future could be.  All of this happened in an environment that felt “common” to the woman…just the normal place she went every day…but this was an intentional encounter by Jesus.  He knew he was going to have this encounter.  He used the common place for the extraordinary. Verse 4 of this passage tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”. The fact is, from a physical perspective, there were other routes he could have taken to get to Galilee. But he was intentional about going to Samaria…to have this encounter…to change a life.

But the story of the well did not end there. In vs. 28  it says, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him.” The story continued…and the well was a drawing point for other people to come and hear from Jesus.  The woman went and told her neighbors that there was something cool happening at the well and that they needed to come check it out…and they did.  Do you not get excited to see how one “common place” experience…over a glass of water…in a non-temple setting, led to life change for not only a woman, but for others in her community.

As you think about your church facilities and campus, think about what “wells” you are providing your community for these kinds of encounters and then be intentional to open yourself up to meet people to do life and start a conversation that could change the world.

Check out our book, Why Church Buildings Matter. Church facilities will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to the church campus can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. This book will reveal how to maximize your church facility to share the greatest story ever told, the gospel.

Why Digital Signage?

eSPACE has recently started an exciting partnership with REACH Media Network to offer an easy-to-use digital signage solution to integrate directly with the eSPACE Event Scheduler.

Why Digital Signage?  Here are some of the benefits that your church and/or school can realize by utilizing and integrating digital signage on your campus:

  1. Engage Your Audience with Festive Announcements On-the-Fly

The traditional method of designing, printing, and sticking up new posters in time for your events drains the resources of your creative team who are busy enough. Instead, using digital signage will allow you to deliver intentional communications with significantly less effort – and of course, you can continue to update the content, appearance and messaging effortlessly.

  1. Promote Services with Live-streaming 

Your services and events should be an inclusive time, but for many volunteers in the lobby, or the mothers sitting outside the service with their babies, the story can be quite different. REACH has a solution: live-streaming your services in other areas of your church.

Live-streaming your service across your campus will ensure as many people get to hear and be impacted by the teaching as possible, all at the same time. This functionality is also incredibly useful if you hit capacity and need to use an overflow room. By having a streaming solution setup through your digital signage, you can be confident that every person who walks through your doors will have an opportunity to hear your message.

  1. Provide Wayfinding and Welcome First-time Guests

Many first time guests to your church can be intimidated with navigating your facilities and as such, their anxiety goes UP!  Digital signage is a great option to ensure that every guest (and regular attender) feels at home straight away, even if they manage to dodge your enthusiastic welcome team. Wayfinding is a critical component that helps elevate the experience for all guests to your facility.

  1. Encourage Online and Social Media Interactivity

As one of your key methods of communicating your message, your social media campaigns need to be front and center for all to see. A great way of boosting visibility and encouraging interactivity is to showcase your social media posts around your church campus using REACH’s digital signage. This will expand your reach, create excitement, and encourage the congregation to engage with the church through social media.

  1. Keep your Congregation Safe

A disaster is the last thing you want to think about – but in the event of an emergency, such as a fire, you will want to provide your congregation with the best guidance possible.

REACH’s digital signage solution can help you in the event of a problem using their alert system. Digital signage will direct your congregation and guests to the nearest exit and prevent anyone from making the dash to the front door which can create bottlenecks and accidents. Having clear signage will also reassure everyone that the situation is under control, helping them to remain calm.

How does this integrate with eSPACE?

It’s simple! Our Team, alongside the REACH team, will work with you through a seamless process to utilize the API provided by eSPACE to auto-populate your scheduling information into the digital signage system. REACH will also work with you on any special filtering needed, saving you time!

For more information, contact our Customer Engagement Team and also check out REACH to see how they can be a partner with you.

 

Top 5 Facilities Management Challenges – PART 5

This week we will look at the 5th and final Part of our series on the Top 5 Facilities Management Challenges.

Today we are going to look at the NUMBER 1 challenge (to see the first 4 parts…go to our BLOG.) As a reminder, the research we are quoting from was published by Corrigo, Inc who specializes in work order and time tracking solutions. There article lists the Top 5 Facilities Management challenges based on a survey they conducted of over 1,200 companies.

Challenge #1 SAVING MONEY

#1 for this year was, without a doubt, saving money. When asked how they would like to accomplish this objective, the responses of facility managers tended to be grouped into one of three general categories:

Call avoidance
“I’m not sure how many unnecessary service calls we’ve paid for this year,” said one facility manager, “but the number is greater than zero and that’s too many.” The logical first place to look for repair call savings is in avoiding them altogether – or at least as much as possible. One way companies are doing this is through the implementation of self-help systems. Clients at remote facilities can access basic troubleshooting information before sending out a work request, and managers at central operations can intercept work requests that most likely can be dealt with internally. “Our managers were always calling in with the complaint, ‘The ice machine is broken,’” said one facility manager for a large franchisee operation. “It became just about a weekly routine – I would say, ‘Hold the phone near the machine,’ and when I didn’t hear the compressor – which I just about never did – I told them politely, ‘OK – now I need you to go behind the machine and plug it in.’” While this doesn’t represent an automated self-help system, that is the idea behind them, and it’s a good idea!

Warranty work management
This category represents low-hanging fruit for the facility manager looking to save money – do not pay for work that is under warranty . As simple as this sounds, tracking the warranty coverage on the large number of complex assets and equipment is a complex task. But the cost of a management system can often be returned to you several fold just by knowing what is covered by warranty and not paying for repairs when you don’t have to.

Price control
While planned maintenance work, by definition, can be budgeted with some degree of accuracy, and prices can be prearranged for regularly scheduled services such as janitorial and landscaping, it is also possible and highly recommended that facility managers set pricing guidelines with their reactive repair vendors. Just because repair work is unpredictable and unscheduled does not mean that you don’t have control over it. Establishing prearranged pricing with your all your vendors, including not-to-exceed limits that require your authority to over-ride, gives you a level of control over the unpredictable nature of facility.

SUMMARY FROM SURVEY
Facility Management may be considered a cost center, but it also holds tremendous potential to impact a company’s profitability. A dollar saved by a facility management team goes directly to the bottom line. Which is why cost savings is the bottom line concern for facility management professionals.

What Facility Managers are Doing:
• Avoiding unnecessary repair costs through client self-help systems and knowledge bases
• Flagging all assets and equipment under warranty to prevent unnecessary payment
• Establishing and monitoring not-to-exceed pricing agreements with vendors

Does your church meet in a facility (rented or owned)? Do you believe God has entrusted the care and stewarding of those facilities to you (or your church)? Are you proactive and intentional with these efforts? If any of these relate to you, then you need to get your copy of the Intentional Church Series: Facility Stewardship Manual.

Impacting Ministry via the Thermostats

By Colby May, Certified Energy Manager and Mission Pastor of Lit – Energy Management Empowering Change.

QUESTION. What is the biggest factor on a building’s energy use? Is it the HVAC, lighting, building envelope, or behavior?

If you answered behavior, you are correct. According to State of the Plate we tithed $50B in 2013. Of the $50B, $10B was spent on utilities, maintenance and operations of our buildings yet only $1B on missions.  Facility related costs, including utility spend, is typically our second largest budget item behind salaries.  But imagine, if you will, how we could impact ministry by promoting smart energy use. We need our church buildings for a number of reasons, but the way we manage our facility, maintenance and energy has been ignored in many ways.

Part of our call as God’s creation is to also be good stewards of that creation. I believe Genesis 1:1 says it all: “God created the heavens and the Earth.” If we, and all that exists, are part of God’s creation, are we to be wasteful with that which God created? Throughout the Bible, we are called to be good stewards. In Greek, stewardship, or oikonomia, is the same word used to define management and administration. We are called to be managers or stewards of what has been entrusted to us.

On average (and this average changes based on building location, equipment and behavior) 50% of our electric use is typically our HVAC system, 30% is our lighting system, and the remaining 20% is plug load.  We also have many influencers that impact our energy use.  The strength of our building envelope can account for 1/3 of our HVAC use.  However, the largest impact on our energy and maintenance is behavior.  According to EPA 30% of the energy we use is wasted, which means we can recapture those costs through no or low cost practices.

What do thermostats have to do with Ministry? Of course behavior impacts all levels of energy management, but the largest target on a typical church is the ability to control HVAC use.  Most churches we serve have conventional thermostats or programmable thermostats that rely on continued occupant adjustments, but with that comes occupant error.  Many times we will walk a facility and find thermostats locked on hold at 65° 24/7 during hot summer months.  This is a very expensive practice, but it also provides the largest opportunity.  Of course a good option is to implement a computerized energy management system that will allow a church to control use from a centralized location.  These are really good systems available on the market, however there are problems that churches need to be prepared to understand.  Costs are extremely high to install ($1-2 per square foot), the systems require extensive training, some require long-term contracts, and many times replacement parts are hard to find.

In our opinion, and typically a first recommendation for our energy audits are implementing WIFI-enabled thermostats.  WIFI-thermostats allow a church to set schedules, setpoints, zoning and more from a centralized web-based location at a 10th of the cost. Every degree that we adjust on our thermostat equips the HVAC portion of our utility bill by 1.5%.  So an average cooling temperature of 72° verses 65° can save up to 10.5%.  Incorporating the thermostat software into church event scheduling, will go a long way into saving money.  And in our opinion the more we can save the more we can impact ministry opportunities.  WIFI-enabled thermostats truly equip the facility team to make easier and centralized HVAC decisions, minimize user error, and more importantly redirect energy spend to ministry needs.

Colby May is a Certified Energy Manager and Mission Pastor.  He formed a 501c3 called LIT that sits at the intersection of missions and energy management, where their mission is to leverage energy management and sustainable principals to impact the local church in the most vulnerable areas.  He has a degree from Gordon Conwell Seminary (Integral Missions) and has performed over 2,000 energy audits.   Colby@lit.church or www.lit.church.

 

 

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