Engage Your Facility

Engage is an interesting word, and it has a number of meanings and connotations. For example:

  1. Engage is the root word for the time period between the decision to marry and the ceremony.
  2. Engage can relate to getting involved with an activity or conversation.
  3. Engage can describe someone engrossed in something.

In the world of church facility management and stewardship, engage has a place in all of the above, but it has another meaning, or at least a subset of a meaning. As I ponder this, it is actually a component of #2 above…the “activity” portion, but with a slight twist. Let me explain.

In the physical and mechanical world, systems have to be “engaged” in order for them to function. There must be a trigger or definitive action to cause the desired reaction. Basically a “cause and effect” or “action and reaction.”

When I flip a light switch (assuming the wires are properly connected and the light bulb is operational), the light turns on. The light fixture is engaged by the switch. I move the temperature dial on the thermostat, and the temperature in the space changes accordingly. I turn a key in a door, and the door locks or unlocks. It is engaged to a state of locked or unlocked.

That is how mechanical devices work. They must be engaged in order for them to operate. The trigger for engagement is what fascinates me.

My first car was primarily made of metal and rubber (I know, I am dating myself). Today, vehicles have over 100 microprocessors. These sensors and mini-computers are the new trigger to engage many of the safety features of newer models. For example, moisture on the windshield is now the trigger to engage the wipers. The sensors in the front grill are the trigger to engage the braking of the cruise control as I get too close to the vehicle in front of me. Putting the vehicle in reverse is the trigger to engage the “back-up camera.”

Get my point?

The same is now true with our ministry facilities. The world of IoT (Internet of Things) is growing at a rapid pace. This new interconnection of technology is what I described above in our cars. It is what allows your mobile device to engage other systems such as your home security camera, thermostat and Amazon Echo. This is not a Star Trek futuristic fantasy – we are living it right now. And it is not just at the consumer or “home” level. It is happening in commercial buildings at an exponential rate.

WHY?

Efficiency and convenience. That is why. Why have humans doing mundane tasks that can be automated? This is not about being lazy or reinforcing “First World” problems. This is being driven by a desire for people to do the things that only they can do – and automate (engage) the rest.

Think about these examples:

  • How many hours a week does your facility team spend adjusting thermostats (or Building Automation System)?
  • How many hours are spent locking and unlocking doors for events?
  • Are you entering event data in one system, then re-entering that same data in your Building Automation System or Door Access System (or BOTH)?
  • Does your communications team have to take that same information and re-enter it in yet another system?

Lord have mercy! Is that really the best use of the resources (human resources in this case) that God has entrusted to us? I have worked with dozens of churches that spend 8-10 hours a week in double entry of event data in multiple systems. Let’s assume that you pay them $18/hr and they invest ten hours a week performing dual entry or “engaging” systems manually (i.e. adjusting thermostats). That is $180 a week, or $9,360 a year. REALLY?!?!

What other intentional things could those resources be doing for those 520 hours in a year? We see so many churches with massive deferred maintenance issues. Could some of the deferred maintenance be mitigated by allocating an additional 520 hours a year to the general maintenance and upkeep of our facilities?

I think so.

Think about what other means you can incorporate to ENGAGE your facility systems, and, in turn, ENGAGE your facility team in activities that have long-term impact.

That is called Stewardship.


Setting Goals For Your Church Facility

2018 is in the books. Chapter Closed.

2019 is just getting started…we have the whole year in front of us.

Like many of you, I set personal and professional goals for 2019. I have been in the habit of setting goals (not resolutions) at the start of every year.

WHY???

In a recent series of blog posts by Rick Warren, he provides some great insight on WHY:

  1. You need to set goals because it is a spiritual responsibility – If you don’t have goals for your life, you have already decided to let other people run your life. When you don’t decide in advance what’s important, you’re letting other people decide.
  2. You need to set goals because they are statements of faith – If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ and you set a goal, you’re saying, “I believe that God wants me to accomplish this by this time. This is what I believe God is going to do in my life.” Goals aren’t just a statement of faith. They stretch your faith. The bigger your goal, the more your faith will be stretched. And that pleases God.
  3. You need to set goals because they focus your energy – Focus is the key to an effective life. If you spread your energy out and diffuse it over a whole bunch of things, you’ll make no impact at all. But if you focus your life, it’s going to be powerful, and it will change the world.

So…let me challenge you.  Have you set personal goals? Professional goals? GREAT!

What about goals for your Church Facility…your Facility Stewardship?  Not yet??? Well then, now is the perfect time to do so. I love “SO THAT” statements. You are setting this goal, and you want there to be a solution. It allows me to put a “cause” and an “effect” in place.  Think about examples such as:

  1. We will reduce energy consumption by [X]% by [X] date SO THAT…we can save the church money and reallocate to capital reserves.
  2. We will find ways to automate basic tasks like locking/unlocking doors, engaging HVAC systems, etc by [X] date SO THAT I can concentrate more of my time on general maintenance and management of the major systems.
  3. We will raise the standard of “clean” for our facility from a “Motel 6” level to a “Hilton” SO THAT we make the very best first impression to our guests.
  4. ?????????

You get the point…we have to set goals.  We owe it to our church…and to God (If you believe in Facility Stewardship) to set goals for your facility.

Share with us some of your goals in the comments below.

ONWARD! 

The Simple Church (Scheduler)

 

Did you know that between 60-75% of all churches in America average less than 200 people on a weekend? That is over 210,000 churches!!!

Do you want to venture a guess as to how many of those churches have facilities that they use on a regular basis? Yeah…me either, but I would venture to say that it is at least 75% (if not more). That is almost 160,000 churches.

Given these statistics and Cool Solutions Group’s passion to serve churches of all sizes, we are so excited to announce the release of the SIMPLE SCHEDULER.

This new facility and event scheduling software is the ideal tool for churches with smaller facilities who just need a “simple” scheduling tool, but need more than Outlook, Google Calendar or paper/pencil can offer.

Here are some of the features of SIMPLE SCHEDULER:

  • Can schedule up to 25 rooms
  • Real time conflict checking and resolution
  • Schedule tables, chairs, projectors and other resources for your event
  • Website calendar integration
  • Simple reporting
  • Simple custom forms
  • In-app communication
  • Event Approval process
  • API to integrate with other ChMS platforms
  • UNLIMITED USERS

All this…and only $25/month.  REALLY?!?! That’s right – you heard us right.  Only $25 a month with no long term contracts.

Do we have your attention? Click HERE and start your free 14 day trial.  We will be right here to help you get started.

What got you here…

…won’t get you there.

Have you ever heard that…or maybe read the book by the same title? It is a saying that has been used by consultants and leaders for years.  It is a very simple premise…that the things you did (personally, professionally, as an organization, etc.) that got you to this moment in time, will not get you to where your ultimate goals are.  WHY??? Because things change.  Everything changes (or nearly everything, except the Word of God)!

I was reading a blog by Seth Godin and really enjoyed his take on this topic:

Human beings are prediction machines. Successful humans skate to where the puck is going to be, predict what’s going to happen next, have an inkling of what’s to come.

 

We do this by creating models. A really good model is a theory, a testable method for asserting what’s going to happen next under certain conditions–and being right.

 

The pundits have models, of course.  But rather than acknowledging that they have a broken model, they persist.

 

The thing is, when your model doesn’t match reality (when you have trouble predicting how your investments will do, whether a sales call will resonate, whether a presentation will work, whether a new hire will work out) it’s tempting to blame reality.

 

Consider that it might be much more effective to get a better model instead.

So, that made me think about how we “do” church.  Our team has witnessed countless numbers of churches trying to use the things that got them here to still work to get them there.  They use the old model.  They use the previously successful means and methods (remember the bus ministry). They use the same mindset that the community needs to come to us instead of meeting them where they are. They still incorporate certain staffing and organization models that worked in 1980 and might work today if Jack Welch was the lead pastor.

Is your church really looking to get to “there”…wherever there is …or merely holding on hoping reality will change?

Then it may be time for a new model.

Need Help?  Check out this great new site by Thom and Sam Rainer – Revitalize Network.

How to Work With An Executive Pastor

The term Executive Pastor is not to be found in the Bible…at least from what I can find.  So…what are they…who are they…what do they do? This week’s post is by Dr. John C. Mrazek who is an XP, but also a consultant to churches that may need some assistance in this area.  John shares some insight that you will find helpful.

Thanks John

____________________________________________________________________________________

Executive Pastors (XPs) can be really tough to figure out. Are they a business leader or a pastor?  Or some type of combination? The answer is “yes to all of the above”. Sometimes they act like a pure business person who is counting every penny four times. Other times they are leading a staff devotional and praying with struggling church members. Sometimes they are easy to talk to and other times they use an incomprehensible vocabulary made up of words like ROI and P&L statement. I’ll say it again- Executive Pastors are different!

I’ve been an XP and now I serve Executive Pastors and sometimes I can’t figure any of us out either. If you came from a marketplace, you may understand your XP better than anyone else. If your church just hired an Executive Pastor, you are probably looking for a way to connect with this strange new person who is now your supervisor and pastor. Let me give you a tip that should help you understand this person.

Tip #1: Explaining who XPs are and how they got that way

Let me start out with a quick explanation of who this person is and how they got here. Some Executive Pastors are “corporate refugees” who escaped from the marketplace. They lived in a world completely devoted to profit. They also worked alongside people who were ferociously climbing the corporate ladder and who may act like a mercenary instead of an employee.

Then, one day they left a high salary and title to become a pastor and help their church. Now, as this new adventure begins they are excited about using their business training to make the church run more efficiently. What they don’t know is that the goals of ministry and business can be diametrically opposed and their job is going to be really tough. Don’t get me wrong – churches do need help on the business side. The key to success is that the XP stops thinking/worrying about profit and starts caring for people ASAP!

One way to summarize what an XP is going through is to understand that they are a stranger in a strange land. The staff looks the same as they did in the marketplace. But now they talk about people all of the time. Church leaders are completely consumed by thinking about people. This can be weird for a new XP. A new XP desperately needs someone to bounce thoughts off of and to double check their perceptions of this new reality.

Tip #2: XPs excel at systems and processes

XPs love numbers and ask questions about expenses that seem too focused on the dollars and less about the ministry your facility supports. In my past roles, I got way too excited about projections about the lifespan of the carpet and HVAC systems and that scared my pastor/boss.

As the Facilities Pastor/Director you are an expert at the support systems, cleaning systems, and utilities of your campus. You will make a devoted friend of your XP if you get excited about reducing the cost of anything related to your area. This aligns with their former world and feels like an area that they can show immediate improvement in.

Speaking as an XP, I would recommend that you bring expense cuts to your XP’s attention before they ask. I was into my Facilities Pastor/Director expenses within weeks of starting my new job. Please set up a meeting with your new XP as soon as possible. Don’t forget to bring with you a list of ways to cut costs and ideas you have for reducing expenses during the next budget cycle.

XPs are different, but they also have a pastor’s heart that is beginning to wake up and beat regularly. We love our new job and the chance to help God’s kingdom expand this side of Heaven. We have also come from a place that is very different from the environment we find ourselves in as we serve alongside you. Our hearts are in the right place, but our execution or communication may be a little abrupt, impersonal, or too concise. Please forgive us and try to extend a bunch of grace as we question everything you do and why you do it. We want to help and we can in ways that you may not have thought of before.

Lastly, if you need help communicating with your XP or anticipating what they may focus on first, email me at johnmrazek@sharedxp.org and I will be happy to jump in and help. I am an XP and I can help you figure out yours.

Dr. John C. Mrazek

President & Business/Ministry Coach

SharedXP, Your Part-Time Executive Pastor Service

90, 87, 68, 5 – A Love Story

I generally do not use this platform to discuss personal issues…but today is an exception.  Hear me out.

The numbers in the title of this blog have incredible significance to me and my family.  I realize they appear random, but there is a pattern and rhythm that has eternal significance.

90 – The age of Atwood Jennings Cool – my dad

87 – The age of Leona Catherine (Holley) Cool – my mom

68 – The number of years they were married

5 – Keep reading

On Saturday, December 8, 2018, Jesus Christ, my parents Lord and Savior (as well as mine), ushered them both to be with him for all eternity. We had the privilege to have both in their living room on side-by-side Hospice provided beds (BTW…Atrium Health Hospice of Union County was/is phenomenal…thank you for your care, comfort, promptness, and love for those you care for…especially my folks!!!)…see picture below.

OK…I need to pause so I can get a good cry in and wipe the tears from my keyboard…be right back.

Mom had a nasty battle with Ovarian cancer/Chemo and dad had a recent fall that led to an incredibly rapid decline.

So…what about the number 5? This is where the grace and love of God honored my parents’ wishes/prayers.  After doing EVERYTHING together for 68 years, they often would tell us kids that they would prefer to enter heaven together.  They could not imagine a “life” without the other…and frankly…my dad could not have survived without my mom.

Well…God honored them. Daddy graduated at about 5:30 AM and mommy joined him at about 10:30 AM.  WOW…you can’t make this stuff up.  Not even a Hallmark Movie could write such a beautiful script (The Notebook may be the closest example). Hold on…need to wipe more tears.

OK…I am back.

So, why am I sharing this?  Am I looking for sympathy or empathy?  Not hardly.  Am I hoping to get more readers by being vulnerable?  REALLY?!?!

Here is my WHY I am sharing:

  1. We are to honor our mother and father.
  2. My parents ministered to countless people while in the pastorate and nursing home business…now God is ministering to them in person.
  3. God hears the desires of our heart…and he answers prayers.
  4. Heaven has received 2 people that loved their Lord and now are sitting with him as well as their parents, friends and other family.  Time to celebrate.
  5. My parents have left a legacy for me and my family…Lisa and the kids have been incredible. Thank you!
  6. My parents had some other prayers for their 4 kids that have not all come to fruition during their life and I would ask that you join me in praying that all of our family will be reunited in heaven.

Heaven is much richer today! I miss you mom and dad…but will see you again!

Your Timmy Lee

“That my way will not be lost
From now on, ’til that river’s crossed
My soul renewed, and my spirit free
In you I’ll find my peace”

Event Registration and Ticketing

One of the key factors of Facility Stewardship is the utilization of a facility. Our facilities are of little merit if they are not used to further the vision and mission of our churches and organizations. Buildings are designed and built to fulfill a purpose…which must be to accommodate effective and intentional ministry. If that is not so, then why have a facility? That is the primary reason we developed eSPACE

A component of effective facility usage is scheduling and managing events…and allowing people to register for events. To that end, we are so excited to announce the release of the eSPACE Event Registration tool as part of the Event Management component of eSPACE.  Some of the features include:

  1. Event Registration
  2. Website Integration with Full Customization of Event Forms/Templates
  3. Multiple Venue Process and Workflow
  4. “Wait List” Capability
  5. Multiple Tiers of Ticketing, including FREE and Paid
  6. Check-in using Tickets
  7. Payment Processing of Event Registration Fees
  8. Ability to Sell Products as Part of an Event Registration (i.e. Books, T-shirts, CD’s, etc.)

To learn more, check out this introductory video and contact us to see how our full suite of Facility Management services and products can help you be more efficient, effective and intentional!

New eBook – Four Buckets of Church Facility Budgeting

A few months back, we released a blog on the topic of the 4 specific buckets that churches should plan for when developing their facility operational budgets and facility stewardship initiatives.  As a refresher, they include:

Operations – The day-to-day items like utilities, janitorial, general maintenance, etc.

Deferred Maintenance – The things you have been putting off (See blogs on this topic HERE and HERE).

Capital Reserves – The money needed to address the inevitable costs of capital replacement.

Projects – For the items that fall outside the normal operations like major renovations and new construction.

Well…we have expanded on these topics and have released a FREE eBook entitled The Four Buckets of Church Facility Budgeting.  This will be a great resource for your team, your administrator and the finance team that needs assistance in addressing the reality of each bucket.

Get your free copy HERE and then share it with your church leaders.  You will be glad you did!

Facing the Inevitable: Capital Reserve Planning – WEBINAR

There are 3 irrefutable facts that every church must face if you own a facility:

  1. All buildings deteriorate at a rate of 1-4% per year
  2. As such, nearly every physical component of your facility will be replaced or have a major overhaul
  3. All of the above will require dollars

So the big question is…how much money will be needed?

Join us for an informative and fun session to explore:

  • What are Capital Reserves?
  • How does “Life Cycle” factor into Capital Reserve Planning?
  • How much money needs to be allocated?
  • What are some practical ways to get started?

Register today HERE.

The “SMART” Church

For the past decade, the term “smart” has been used to identify devices and physical environments that have incorporated technology to produce integration, inter-connectivity and system processing that does not rely solely on human interaction.

  • SMART Phone
  • SMART House
  • SMART Building
  • SMART Car

Well…Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE have a new term that is not a fad or a “Star Trek” kind of futuristic fantasy. Ready…

SMART CHURCH 

That’s right…your church building can now be SMART.  What does that even mean?!?! How can an inanimate object be smart?  It is like the Scarecrow…it does not have a brain…or does it? With the newly release FACILITeSPACE module to the eSPACE suite of Facility Management software applications, we have given your church building a brain…well sort of. While we cannot literally give your facility any gray matter, we have just released the next best thing.

FACILITeSPACE is the ONLY application that allows your church to integrate your event/facility scheduling software to many of your major building systems:

  1. COOLSPACE – HVAC integration with Building Automation and WiFi thermostats
  2. SECURESPACE – Door access controls
  3. INFOSPACE – Comprehensive system to integrate with your digital signage and digital room signage
  4. TECHSPACE – Coming Soon! – Will provide integration and alerts with early detection sensors (think water leak detection, overheated electrical panels and devices, humidity control, IT closet temperature….get the point…and turn on projectors and TV’s when an even it scheduled – WOW!)
  5. BRIGHTSPACE – Coming Soon! – Integration to lighting throughout your facility

Imagine…you schedule your event in eSPACE (or one of our integration partners) and it:

  • Turns the HVAC on in time for the event and then turns it off after the event
  • Unlocks/Locks whatever doors you need access (that have digital controls) for that event
  • Lists the schedule and other event data on the digital signage through your building
  • Displays the events on the digital door sign
  • Turns on the TV or Projector for the event
  • Turns on and off the needed lights for the event
  • Alerts your facility team and appropriate vendors if there is a significant issue

This is not a fairy tale…this is the world of IoT (Internet of Things) and the future is NOW.

Contact our team for more information and let the OPERATIONAL EFFICIENCIES BEGIN!

What to learn more?  Join us for an informational Webinar on Thursday, December 6, 2018, at 2:00pm EST.  Sign up HERE to join this Free webinar.