Would you buy a car that did not have a chassis or frame? I am sure you think I am crazy for even asking that question unless you own a salvage yard or sell car parts. Could you imaging walking onto a car dealership and the sales person telling you they have the perfect vehicle for you. He proceeds to list all of the features this incredible vehicle has to offer including:
- Seating for 5 adults
- V6 engineer that gets 35 miles-per-gallon
- Heated seats
- Navigational system
- Rear backup camera
- CD player with MP3 adapter
- Driver seat memory
- Auto temperature sensors
- Dual fuel option
- On-Star technology
- WiFi (who does not want WIFI in their car?!?!?)
WOW!!! You want that one…it sounds perfect. You can’t wait to see it. Your excitement is so infectious that the sales person quickly whisks you into the showroom to view this great vehicle…the “perfect” one for you.
As you walk into the showroom you are surprised to lay your eyes on a very disturbing sight. You see a sparking chrome cladded engine sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by 5 leather seats, LCD navigational screen, CD player, a series of really cool looking buttons and what appears to be miles of cable, wire straps and other paraphernalia associated with the features that were described. You stand in shock…”that is not a car” you whisper to yourself. These are just parts and pieces of a car…how do you drive this? Where is the frame and the chassis?
While the above may sound utterly ridiculous, this is the case with most ChMS (Church Management Software) systems that we see on the market. We did a review of the top (about 40 of the 70+ on the market) ChMS applications available to churches and found some startling information:
- Only 35% have an Event Scheduling component
- Only 15% have a Fixed Asset Tracking component
- 0% had a Work Order Management component…zero, nada, none, zilch!!!!
That was shocking to me. Next to staffing costs, nearly every church’s second or third largest budget expenditure is related to facilities and facility operations…and yet most ChMS applications do not provide a means or method to appropriately steward this aspect of your church. To me, that is like buying a car without a chassis…get my point?
As I have written before, I believe that over 99% of all churches meet in a facility. Some may be an owned facility…others rented…others may be schools or storefronts/retail centers, while yet others are homes. However you shake it out, facilities play a major role in all of our churches. PERIOD!
I constantly hear the argument that churches don’t budget appropriately for facility operations and life cycle cost because they are “mission/ministry/outreach” minded and they cannot “afford” to allocate funds for facility maintenance or long term life cycle expenditures. Personally, that is incredibly short sighted. What happens to your ministry if your air conditioning goes out in the middle of August when it is 95 degree days with 90% humidity and the new unit will take 2 weeks to be delivered? How will that impact your ongoing services and ministry?
Based on the above, as well as the fact that we have deep convictions that everything on earth belongs to God and as such we are stewards of what He has entrusted to us, we must look long and hard at the means and methods by which we steward the ministry facilities God has blessed us with and not merely child check-in, member management, missions trips, small groups, worship planning, online giving and the like. I am not discounting those applications or suggesting they are not important…but I am saying that it is not prudent to neglect the facilities God has entrusted to us.
How does your ChMS address:
- Event and facility scheduling
- Event Registration…that is interfaced with your actual facility usage and not just for promotion of an event on the website
- Resource tracking of assets on your campus
- Digital signage integration with your event scheduler
- Integration of your HVAC systems based on actual facility usage
- Preventive Maintenance
- Work orders and facility management
- Inventory management of consumable goods (i.e. light bulbs, paper products, etc)
If your church meets in a facility that you are responsible to care for/steward and your ChMS does not include components (or can integrate with another system) to assist with all of the above, then you may have bought a car without a chassis. It may be time to reconsider your full suite of applications and be intentional about managing EVERY aspect of your church operations.
Final thought…make sure your team has all the right tools to be intentional with your Facility Stewardship. Get your copy of the Facility Stewardship Manual and watch the effectiveness and efficiency go through the roof!