Do You Really Know How To…

…clean a church facility?

…sanitize your children’s spaces?

…differentiate the difference between Motel 6 “clean” and Ritz Carlton “clean?”

…determine the amount of staff needed to clean and maintain your church facility?

…keep your facility and its occupants safe?

…spot the first signs of trouble?

…establish a capital reserve plan?

If you cannot affirmatively answer any of the above, then it may be time for us to talk.

To learn more about the Facility Management and Security Training services provided by Cool Solutions Group, check them out HERE.

Your facility, staff and congregation will thank you!

What “Story” Does the Condition of Your Facility Tell?

Have you ever walk into a restaurant that you read about online or someone recommended…full of anticipation and excitement…only to be turned off by the lack of care of the facility? I have been disappointed more times than I can list when I was in a mid to upper priced establishment, to then visit their restroom and be totally repulsed by the lack of care and cleanliness, or to look up at their ceilings (that is a habit for me…so if you invite me to your facility, know I am looking at your ceilings…you have been warned.) to see stained ceiling tiles…or worse…dirty HVAC grills and cobwebs. What does that say about you and your church? What does it say about what you value? Obviously not the health and well being of your guests and occupants if you are okay allowing dirt and dust to blow down on their heads or have them breathe dirty air.

What story is that telling?

To me it indicates that either you do not care about your facilities…or are not intentional about their care…or are in bad financial condition to where you cannot maintain them. Now that is just me…but could that message also be the one conveyed to your guests?

Not a great witness in my opinion.

In his book “First Impressions: Creating WOW Experiences”, Mark Waltz, pastor of connection at Granger Community Church in Granger, IN., addresses what it may be like to be a guest in our churches and how the first impression may not always convey the story we desire. In addition, the first impression may be the only chance we have to impact their lives. He writes;

“When your guests are distracted from the real purpose of their visit to your church, you’ll have a difficult time re-engaging them. In order for people to see Jesus, potential distractions must be identified and eliminated.”

Have you ever considered that the condition of your buildings could affect your ability to engage and minister to people? Most of our previous blogs have focused on the physical attributes related to the built environment. We have looked at the design, the way-finding, weenies and other attributes of the campus and structures. But what about the condition?

“The first impression may be the only chance we have to impact their lives.”

Over my 28-year career of planning and building church facilities, I have witnessed firsthand the use, abuse and misuse of ministry facilities. I have seen churches spend millions of dollars on new facilities and then neglect to change the HVAC filters, repair leaks, change light bulbs, caulk annually as required and so on. In my opinion, this is similar to collecting the offering during our worship services and taking 10%-20% of the monies out of the offering plate or basket and setting it on fire. We would all agree that that kind of action would be ridiculous and obscene.

“We would never do that … that is God’s money.”

I ask, who provided the funds to build your facilities? We all know the answer: God provided the resources. It was and is His money. And they are His buildings. Yet, we too often act irresponsibly with these assets.

I find that many church members take better care of their homes, boats, cars, motorcycles and even their pets than they do their ministry facilities. Is this acceptable to you? It is not to me, and I suggest that the church (big “C”) wake up, take notice and do something about it. I believe that God holds each of us responsible and accountable for what we do and how we handle every resource entrusted to us.


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.

“It Takes a Village” to Manage a Church Facility

Over the past 10+ years, I have meet with hundreds (maybe thousands) of church leaders possessing “titles” such as Business Administrator, Operations Pastor/Director, XP (Executive Pastor), Facility Manager, Office Manager…and many others…including Pastor. The size of their congregations have varied from less than 50 people to over 20,000 people on a weekend in multiple sites.  Some have a bent toward traditional music while others were, what I lovingly refer to as, “full contact worship.” Some were urban…some rural. Some had an aging demographic while others were predominately millennial. Some liturgical…others Pentecostal. So on and so forth.

But do you know what 99% (my guess…not based on scientific research) had in common? They meet in a facility and the majority of them had some level of responsibility for the care of that facility. “A facility” was the one common denominator. I take that back…the one REAL common denominator was  feeling overwhelmed with what it took to care for, maintain, manage and plan for the future of the facility as well as the realization that they didn’t know what the did not know.

This really concerns me!

There are numerous organizations available to provide guidance, coaching and support for pastors. There is an organization structured to provide help to over 6,000 Church Administrators (of which I am a member). I am aware of about a dozen groups to support XP’s in their roles…and yet…there is NOT ONE designated to help and support any and every church leader that has a facility. Oh yeah…as a reminder, there are almost 350,000 churches in America that have a facility…with no organization focused to provide collective support. REALLY?!?!

There is one organization that focuses on “Facility Managers,” and that is helpful…but what about the thousands…tens of thousands of churches that do not have a facility manager? Those where the pastor is the facility manager, or the deacon board leads that charge, or the trustees get together to fix things, or where the pastor’s kids come in on Saturday to clean the building (I have first hand experience with that!). What further exacerbates this is the number of churches that “think” they have a facility manager, when in actuality they have a maintenance person.  That is not a disparagement…just fact.

That is why we will soon be releasing CHURCH FACILITY MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS.

This will provide the support, interaction, resources, camaraderie, information, feedback, coaching, and tools…for EVERY CHURCH of ANY SIZE.

This new offering will provide the support, interaction, resources, camaraderie, information, feedback, coaching, and tools for EVERY CHURCH of ANY SIZE.

This invaluable tool and resource is scheduled to roll out early 2018…but…if you want to get on the early bird list, click HERE.  There is no obligation…just letting us know you have interest.

Some of the features of Church Facility Management Solutions will include:

  1. Weekly Information sent directly to you to help you be proactive and intentional with the care of your facility
  2. Online Community so that you can get input and feedback from hundreds of other church and facility leaders
  3. Monthly Webinars by industry professionals to provide relevant information and resources for your church facility management
  4. Vetted Vendors will put a list of qualified vendors at your fingertips with the assurance that they have been pre-qualified by our team…and they do not pay to be on this list
  5. Free Resources will be developed and made available to members including worksheet, forms, policy docs, job descriptions, etc. This alone will be worth the cost of membership
  6. Availability to Consulting and Training Services

This is going to be so COOL! Join us to be the best steward of the facilities God has entrusted to you.

 

Story, Duct Tape, and Facility Condition

I love duct tape as much as the next guy.  In fact, I believe that I can repair just about anything in our house with duct tape. When I was in my early years of college I took a 2-year sabbatical to travel with a musical group out of Nashville called “Bridge”. We did over 350 concerts a year, traveling from town to town and church to church. Every night we did a concert in a new location and so we set up and tore down our sound system each night. We had wires going everywhere. In order to “dress up” the stage and to make it safe to navigate the performance area, we used duct tape to secure the wires.  We would buy a case of it at a time, burning through a case every few weeks. I even had to repair a pair of pants, due to an attire malfunction, with duct tape until we could locate a seamstress.

It is the dream product for repairing and securing just about anything. However, after our concerts each night, we pulled up the duct tape and threw it away. It did not stay as a permanent part of the décor of the church we were at. It was installed and removed the same day…because it was never intended to be a permanent fixture in the facility. Interestingly enough, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I visit a church that has elected to use duct tape as a permanent component of their interior design scheme. The congregation steps over the duct tape week in and week out totally oblivious to the grey stripe on the worn-out carpet.

The longer you live in a space, the less you see the obvious. For your regular attenders, they become immune to the condition of the facility. It is kind of like putting a frog in a pot of cool water then turning up the temp to bring it to a boil. We stop seeing the trees for the forest. We walk past the grass growing in the cracks of the parking lot. We step over the torn carpet. We know exactly how to avoid the potholes in the parking lot. We no longer notice the stained ceiling and overlook the odor and condition of our public restroom. But I assure you, your guests do not. These inconsistencies in the story can be just as distracting and repulsive as poor design and the lack of signage and poor interactions.

In recent years our team attended 2 conferences at large influential churches. The first was a church in Southern California with a campus that is the best keep facility I have ever visited. It has 5-6 buildings uniquely located on a 50-acre site with an attention to detail second to none. When you first pull on the property, you are greeted by signage at nearly every intersection of the parking lot to guide you to your destination. The grounds were immaculately manicured and all the hedges trimmed and neat. The buildings were clean and organized, lacking disruptive clutter in the common areas. The restrooms were neat, clean and odor free. Not opulent, but comfortable. The windows and glass was clean and I did not see any duct tape on the floors. I had to look really had to find a handful of things to complain about…and trust me, I was looking. But even the handful of items I found were not deal killers…just me being meticulous.

“Will the condition of our facilities leaving a lasting negative impression on new believers and our guests?”

 

The other conference was in central Florida at a very large church. This is a church with an impactful TV ministry in central Florida and dynamic pastor. The conference had over 5,000 people in attendance, so this was no small campus. But I was very disappointed with the condition of the facility. The signage once on the campus was lacking and a significant amount of the parking was gravel. As I approached the buildings, after parking in the gravel lot, I was immediately taken back by the lack of care of the grounds. The yards were in desperate need of care and the trees and shrubs needed a good trim. The buildings felt old and tired, lacking any visual appeal. Then as I ventured deeper into the campus, the pathways lead me to the sea of modular classrooms…all looking like a bad public school. In fact, the speaker’s lounge was in one of these spaces, which gave the impression that “OK” was good enough for them. There was no sense of excellence or intentionality to the space. Touring the actual worship center revealed aged and worn pews, carpet that was wrinkled in lieu of laying flat and restrooms that really could have used some TLC.

Now, I am sure there maybe good reasons for this lack of care and as a believer and potentially a highly sensitive observer of spaces, I can still worship and enjoy my time with other believers. But what about our guests, especially those who are not believers. Will they be as forgiving? Will the condition of our facilities leaving a lasting negative impression on them? Will these roadblocks keep them from coming back or sharing their experience with others that may not darken the doors of your church because of  what they hear about your facility?

It would be a shame to have been intentional about the design of your facility, parking ministry, themed spaces and script writing, to then be neglectful with the care and condition of the facility. Don’t let the care and upkeep become the forgotten chapter of your story.


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.

The Magic of Place…Even When It Is Not Your “Place”

Does the theology of “storytelling” with a church’s facility apply to multi-site campuses and church plants, especially if it is not your “place”? Does it matter that we don’t create a sense of place? Is it worth the mental, emotional, physical and financial investment to communicate your unique story?

Answer: Yes

Why does it matter? Because people matter, and your multi-site or church plant is there to reach your community and people.

I believe it is obvious, that if you have an owned  facility or a long term lease the options that avail themselves to you for communicating your story are vast. You can impact the exterior elevation (in most cases) and the interior environments. You can theme the rooms, change colors, add lighting and all the elements to communicate your story that these kinds of facilities present.

But what if you are in a school, community center, performing arts center, YMCA or any other facility that you rent and only have access to one day a week…and only for a few hours? Are you stuck with what they give you? Do you have to settle with the decor, features, and storytelling of that facility? Are you relegated to compromising on every aspect of the environment and sense of place?

Answer: No

Let’s think about all of the different ways that you can impact the first impression of your guest as you tell your story. These are going to look very familiar to the components we have been exploring for owned facilities:

  1. Website – As we have discussed, your website is the new Front Porch. Work it. Make it relevant and contextual to your target market.
  2. Street-Scape – Just because you cannot change the facade of the high school you are renting, does not mean that you should neglect the sense of arrival. If you owned the facility you could greatly impact the 7 day-a-week view for passer-bys. But just because you only have the facility 1 day of the week does not mean that you should just settle for what the existing built environment communicates. Add banners. Install temporary signs. Add bright colors that catch people’s attention. Use digital effects. Line the street with people in matching t-shirts. Make a visual statement. Don’t squander this opportunity to catch the attention of the community and suck them in. They may not pull in the parking lot the first time they drive by…but if you are consistent and relevant to them, they are more likely to become your guest.
  3. Parking ministry Do Parking Right: It does not matter if you own the parking lot or are just renting, you can impact guests by how their first impression, once on the parking lot, is handled. The interaction, prayer and safety elements can make or break the experience of every guest. Remember, you only have 7 seconds to make that first impression.
  4. Which way do I go?  Make it obvious.  Use all of the senses to lead your guests to the entrances you want them to use.  There should be visual clues at a minimum, but why not use auditory and interpersonal clues?
  5. Write your scripts – Develop and use scripts that depict the experience you want every guest to realize. This is a great way to set expectations for your volunteers/ambassadors and to train them as you continue to grow and expand your teams.
  6. Environmental Experience– This is where intentionality and creativity may be required the most. How do we make a school entrance feel like a warm, cool and inviting lobby where people want to hangout and share life together? How do we make the kids spaces feel fun and secure? How do we downplay the institutional feel of the typical school facility? As you develop your plan, think about the mediums that communicate your culture and vision, then figure out how to make them portable. Maybe it is TV monitors that are mounted to truss material that can be stored in a travel case and pulled out on Sunday? It may be banners, a portable espresso machine, comfy couches, area rugs, banners, static applied graphics, etc, etc, etc. It may also mean being a “partner” with your landlord and offering to invest in their facility to improve the environment…like re-carpeting, painting, adding a killer sound system that they benefit from and so many other ways.  I am not trying to give you an exhaustive list, but rather trying to stretch your thinking.  Don’t just think outside the box…ask WHAT BOX?
  7. Personal Interactions – Nothing overcomes a less than perfect built environment like engaging personal interactions. There are many obvious human touch points that will impact your guests. We talked about some when we discussed the parking lot ministry and how incredibly important it is with establishing that first impression. The greeters are the next obvious touch point. Are they warm, welcoming, engaging, not too overbearing, informative, etc. Are they there only to hand out the “bulletin” or worship guide, or are they to impact people? Don’t forget to write a script for this area of your ministry just like we did for the first time guest with kids or the parking lot team. Determine what defines a WIN for that group of ambassadors of your story. They are not just greeters or the only people you could find to do that “job”…they are the initial face of your story…they are ambassadors and ministers in their own right.

Don’t succumb to the trap of mediocrity just because you rent a school or other facility.  Expend the same intentionality (if not more) that you would if you owned a facility or were getting ready to build from the ground up.

Don’t settle…your guest are counting on you.


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.

Don’t Just Raise the Bar; Be the Bar

I love the new television commercials for the Ford F-150 that ends with: It Doesn’t Raise the Bar, It is the Bar.

The obvious connotation is that Ford is not raising the bar…but they ARE the bar that everyone else chases and tries to obtain.  I love that.

Now, let me be clear, I am not a Ford guy…in fact…I am not an any “brand” guy. I have owned Fords, Chevy, GMC (I am still driving my 14 year old Yukon with 198,00 miles), Toyota and others.

I do like Ford’s confidence and guts to claim to be the best. Is it true? I am not getting into that discussion. But what I do want to look at is being BEST-IN-CLASS…more than just bravado or words, but in actions and deeds. I have used the analogy that you can get a chicken sandwich (and a taco and a burger and…) from Jack-In-The-Box, but if I am looking for a “best-in-class” chicken sandwich, I go to Chick-fil-A.

Our team has made a very INTENTIONAL decision to be the Chick-fil-A of the church software market.  We are not trying to be all things to all people. It is not our competency. We are FACILITY PROFESSIONALS that have developed best-in-class Facility Management software solutions for those responsible to steward their ministry facilities. PERIOD…end of story. No if, and, or but!  We are here to serve the church as it relates to their facilities usage, management, maintenance, integration, controls, training, services, and life cycle planning.

eSPACE does not accommodate member management, child check-in, small groups, accounting, missions trip planning, worship service planning…we are all about FACILITIES.

As we shared last week, given our conviction, we have integrated with many of the “best-in-class” Church Management Software applications…you can see the whole list HERE.

If Facility Stewardship is important to your church, then you owe it to yourself and your congregation to give us a look and see how we can assist you to be EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT and INTENTIONAL with the facilities God has entrusted to you to steward.

We ARE the Bar!


eSPACE integrates with the tools you use to manage your church. You can now integrate your Church Management Software with the industry leading suite of Facility Management applications including HVAC Integration, Event Management, Work Order Management, and Capital Reserve Planning

3 Reasons To Do Parking Right

Last week we were exposed to just what little time we have to make a first impression on a guest – 7 seconds. Not much time to impact the thought and emotional reaction of these guests. Every “touch” point during a guest experience has the opportunity to build on the previous interaction…or to destroy it. Every encounter and milestone of this first experience is critical…like building blocks. Without a strong foundation, the rest of the blocks find themselves less stable and tentative.

Assuming your first time guest has made the conscious decision to pull onto your site, their first 7 second encounter will be in your parking lot. Their first impression starts at the entrance of the parking lot and may continue until they reach your front door. Too often, church leaders think the parking lot is irrelevant and  just a place to store the means of transportation used by the congregation. They see it as just common place instead of a touch point and a place to impact people (thus souls). Big mistake!

As you think about your parking experience, here are 3 things that are foundational in making this the best 7 seconds possible:

1. Have a Parking Ministry – This is a great way to accomplish two significant ministry initiatives for 2 very different groups. The first group this impacts is obvious…the guest. A vibrant, proactive, enthusiastic and welcoming group of people can lift your spirits and defuse some of the anxiety that a guest may be experiencing. Seeing happy people waving, smiling (yes, Christians should smile), even acting crazy has more impact on others than you realize. The second group that this impacts is your team. Many of the churches we serve have met in schools or other temporary facilities for years…and now they have a facility to meet in. During those years of being a “church-in-the-box”, they had set up teams that would show up on Saturday night or Sunday morning at the crack of dawn to set up for the worship that day. These people have developed a bond and a kinship that is infectious. The setup team has actually become their “small group” and they love doing life together. But what happens when you do not need to setup every week? What do these people do? And let’s face it, most of the set team is made of men…and they are NOT going to serve in the nursery (nor would we want them to). I have been on set up teams with guys that were not yet Christ-followers, others that were new followers, and others that were more comfortable doing physical labor. To not provide a similar ministry opportunity once you occupy space that does not require setup robs them of a ministry opportunity that they are comfortable performing…which can drive them away or have them feel unnecessary. By starting or expanding a Parking Ministry, you open up a new opportunity for many of these people to serve.

2. See it as a ministry and not a mundane task – Do not see the “Parking Ministry” as just a functional activity, but rather an opportunity to impact people’s lives. Not only are the above functions important for the reasons given, but if you believe that  prayer is impactful, then your parking team should be praying for each of the cars entering the lot. Maybe it’s for their first experience. Maybe for an issue they are confronting at that moment. Maybe for peace that they did not experience on the way to church when the family got in a fight in the car. The parking lot should be blanketed with praying people…it should be the largest prayer chapel on your campus. Help set the tone for the rest of their experience and see what happens.

3. Function and safety – Church parking lots are not like a retail center, even though many designers and civil engineers lay them out as if they were. In a retail or other commercial application, most of the vehicular traffic is spread out over the entire day. Cars pull off and pull on at different times during the day. But a church parking lot is much more similar to an event venue…more like a concert venue or theme park or sports complex. You have a lot of cars trying to enter and/or exit the site at the same time. And if you have back-to-back worship experiences with 15 minutes or less between services, you have a real issue. Having a succinct plan for how to best get cars on and off your site will reduce the amount of stress for the drivers, but will also provide a safer environment. If drivers are not attempting to navigate the parking lot on their own, the likelihood of mishaps is greatly reduced. And not just for vehicular traffic, but for pedestrian.

Please do not see your sea of asphalt as just a place to park vehicles…but be intentional (we have talked about this before) and make it a safe environment that is bathed in prayer and enhances the experience of your guests. Sounds like a winner to me!


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.

It’s More Than a Time Change

It is that time that many people seem to like (except for Arizona, Hawaii, and the U.S Territories); it is daylight savings time! Otherwise know as the universal bulletin announcement of, “Everyone should be on time this Sunday; don’t forget to set your clocks back.”

For facility stewards, this is also a great reminder to check certain systems. Not taking the time to inspect and check your systems at regular intervals throughout the year will directly contribute to increased maintenance costs and potential downtime of systems.

                Critical systems to check:
  • Roofs – if you live in part of the country that sees snow, now is a good time to start checking your roof. Water getting in is annoying; having water intrusion during a freeze/thaw cycle will destroy your building. The issue is not only indoor air quality issues (mold). The action during the freeze/thaw cycle can destroy the integrity of brick/stone cladding and deteriorate your sheeting and framing material.
  • Gutters – Take the time to clean and inspect your gutters. Whether it is from melting snow or increased rain, having an unobstructed path for the water to flow away from the building is a good thing. If your downspouts flow into an underground drainage system, it is a good idea to ensure it is not obstructed as well. If you can’t tell by a flow test, have a plumber run a camera through it.
  • Window Flashing – As you move around your facility take the time to check the flashing and caulking around your windows. Water intrusion is the concern here. Remember, a $2 tube of caulk now can save a $2500 window replacement later. And it is not just caulk…if you have a wood sill, how is the paint holding up? Touch-up as necessary to seal it from the elements.
  • Exterior Faucets – If you have faucets on the outside of the building (or sprinkler system back-flow valves) check to make sure they have the proper weatherization covers. You can generally find faucet covers at most hardware stores for a couple of bucks, proper covers for a back-flow is a bit more. Both are less expensive than a plumbing repair bill.

    “Not taking the time to inspect and check your systems at regular intervals throughout the year will directly contribute to increased maintenance costs and potential downtime of systems.”

  • Weather-stripping – Checking and replacing worn or missing weather-stripping on your doors will help improve energy efficiency. While you are at it check the openers and hinges and lubricate as needed.
  • Walk Mats – These are critical year-round, but are especially critical during inclement/wet weather. Well-maintained entrance matting helps reduce wet floors, making it safer for all. You may want to consider rotating entrance matting; longer length matting for winter, shorter for the summer.
  • Parking Lots/Sidewalks – Cracks in parking lots and sidewalks do not look the best, and when water gets underneath during a freeze/thaw cycle they can get worse as well as damage the substrate. Fortunately, the available sealers, caulks, and patching products for asphalt and concrete are affordable and easy to use.

The great thing about these tasks is that most can be done by just about any person; the tasks that require working on a ladder or roof should be undertaken by someone with experience. This might be a good time to have a church workday and make these tasks a time of fellowship; what would be better than gathering together to worship and maintain what He has entrusted to us?

If this list seems daunting, we are here to help. Contact us today and let one of our facility specialists speak with you and help you with stewarding your facility.


We have developed a FREE Church Facility Evaluator. This simple tool will provide you with a snapshot of some key indicators associated with facility operational costs.

Church Facility Evaluator

 

The Four Letter Word That Is “OK” In Church

So, I am not an advocate of foul language, but there is a four-letter word that many consider “bad” that was never meant to be…OSHA. When you look at the push for improving workplace safety, OSHA came from a desire to see less people killed or horrifically injured on the job…seems legit right? I, for one, am thankful for New Jersey Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. and Representative William A. Steiger, the key drivers behind The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, also known as the Williams-Steiger Act. Like any piece of legislation, it has morphed over the years in some unfortunate ways; however the fact remains that keeping people safe at work is a good thing.

So as a house of worship, does it apply? –  YES.

Here is chapter and verse of the sections that apply to churches and houses of worship:

1975.4(c) Coverage of churches and special policy as to certain church activities

1975.4(c)(1) Churches. Churches or religious organizations, like charitable and non-profit organizations, are considered employers under the Act where they employ one or more persons in secular activities.

1975.4(c)(2) Examples. Some examples of coverage of religious organizations as employers would be: A private hospital owned or operated by a religious organization; a private school or orphanage owned or operated by a religious organization; commercial establishments of religious organizations engaged in producing or selling products such as alcoholic beverages, bakery goods, religious goods, etc.; and administrative, executive, and other office personnel employed by religious organizations.

There is an exception during the performance of religious services, but it is a very specific exception. It is in the latter part of 1975.4(c)(1).

So, what does that mean for you?

First, it means there are some very specific OSHA regulations you should be addressing. Stay tuned for more posts about those.

Secondly, do you value your personal safety and the safe work environments of those around you? Great! Then develop, grow, and encourage a culture of safety in your building. It is not that hard…but it must be intentional. You see that word used a great deal at Cool Solutions Group; what we do is done on purpose and deliberate. Safety is no accident. My second child just recently got her license. She didn’t just walk into the DMV and say, “Hey guys, I want to drive, how about a license?”  She went through months of the class work and practical driving experience with us. We were intentional about going over the why and the how. She accepted that if she was going to earn her license, operating a vehicle safely was always required. It is part of the driving culture we created.

The same method is how you create that culture in your organization. You focus on your mission and what you are called to achieve; you also have to recognize that keeping everyone involved safe is a critical part of your mission.

“Keeping everyone involved safe is a critical part of your mission.”

The funny thing about safety…you really cannot force it upon individuals. If establishing rules was all it took to make people responsible, we would have fewer lawyers and insurance agents. Show your team how integral they are to your mission and in turn, you will have a team that sees the value in safely executing the role they have been called to…natural personal safety advocates.

We exist at Cool Solutions Group to help churches tell their story, and ultimately the greatest truth ever shared is the Gospel. If there is a way that we can connect with you to help with developing safety within your culture and mission, contact us. We are here to support you and your mission.


We have developed a FREE Church Facility Evaluator. This simple tool will provide you with a snapshot of some key indicators associated with facility operational costs.

Church Facility Evaluator

 

Environmental Graphics and Story Telling

For some of you, the term “environmental graphics” may be foreign or one that you have not heard used in a church context.  I hate to admit it, but I was not aware of its meaning, use and significance until a few years ago.

In short, Environmental Graphics address the visual aspects of wayfinding, communicating identity & brands, information descriptors, and shaping a sense of place. The word environmental refers to graphic design as part of creating the built environment, not to the natural environment. So this has little or nothing to do with “environmentalism” or being a tree-hugger…unless that is the story your environmental graphics intend to convey.

To many churches, when they hear this term, immediately think “kids theming”. You have all seen the planes hung in kids spaces or half a fire truck that looks like it is driving through the wall or Noah’s Ark with animal heads peering through portholes.  And while those are definitely a component of this subset of story telling, it is not the only area of your campus where environmental graphics convey story.  In fact, I believe that it is a little disingenuous to have a kids facility/building/wing/etc. that is pimped out with the balance of the campus being passé?  I understand that your target market may be families with young kids, so having your kids space scream KIDS is congruent with your vision.  But don’t forget their parents…again…or your guests.

Environmental Graphics are not just for church.  Take a look at the collage below and tell me if you recognize the location by these images (HINT:  If you are a traveler, you may have an advantage).

Do you see a theme?  Is there something that jumps out at you…a story that these images are communicating?   Any guesses as to where these images are from?  If you are an HHonors member, it should be pretty simple…HILTON GARDEN INN.  They are communicating a story about a garden…their tag line is “Welcome to the GARDEN”. The story starts as you approach the front door…enter the lobby…even the carpet in the corridors has the same story telling theme. In keeping with this story,  their logo on their website has a vine growing.  All of the visual elements above, and so many more, are examples of environmental graphics that communicate a story.  I can assure you, that as a weary traveler, when I see the images of vines growing on the the front door, or the park like setting off the lobby, I begin to relax and become transformed mentally and emotionally.  These kinds of customer/guest-centric businesses know that the environment and the sense of place is an asset to their guests.

“The environment and the sense of place is an asset to their guests.”

 They have been intentional about setting an environment that is welcoming, warm and “familiar” all while communicating a story that guests relate to and regulars are comforted by.

Our guests see these kind of environments in many of the places they hang out and visit.  It is part of their every day life and culture.  The church does not have be the “world”, but lets not be so different in our built environments that guests are put off before they ever have a chance to hear the good news of Christ. Being intentional with creating an environment is as critical as determining how many seats you need in the worship center. Don’t miss this opportunity to impact people.


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.