Training: Doing The Right Things Right

Church Leader…is your training plan of “my team will read and follow directions” valid? Let us not try to rationalize…it is not. Training is not just reading. I like the Collins Dictionary definition, British usage:

“the process of bringing a person, etc, to an agreed standard of proficiency, etc, by practice and instruction”.  

So, let’s unpack the key terms: Process, Agreed Standard, Practice and Instruction.

  • Process – As the word implies, it is a method that has a definable and observable method. A beginning, middle, and end. We do not hand the keys to our 16-year-old and say, “Be careful, don’t wreck” and expect that they will be competent drivers. Some people may have (looking at you Dallas), but if we want our kiddos to be safe drivers we follow the process of drivers’ education. It has a beginning (written materials), a middle (practice driving with those that are trained), and an end (final testing at the DMV). At any time in the process, you may have to camp out a bit longer or review.
  • Agreed Standard This one is big. You remember “the Dress”? (now we have “the Shoes“). We can disagree on what color something is, even when we read the description, so how easy is it to have different views on what a “standard” is? This is when reading becomes part of training…write down what the successful completion of a task looks like. Show it to your team and let them refer to it when they want to know if they have done it correctly. If you are leading a team, there is no excuse for you not to put in the extra effort to define your standards.

    “Training provides the foundation for the results of what we do.”

  • Practice and Instruction – Now you need to teach and observe. Teach them what you want, observe the progress, correct and re-train as necessary. This is an on-going process…but not a process without end. If you have someone that simply cannot achieve the agreed standard, you then have a choice. You can change (lower) the standard to their level of capability, or you can change the team member. Sometimes the most gracious act we can do is let under-performing team members go sooner rather than later. It is not easy, but as leaders it is part of what we are expected to do.

Training provides the foundation for the results of what we do. If you are getting less than stellar results, it is because your training is lacking. I find that there is a great deal of truth in a quote that is attributed to the Greek soldier Archilochus, circa 650 B.C:

We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”

Let me ask a few questions:

  1. Do you want a team that performs consistently but are not sure how to proceed?
  2. Are you confident that your team knows the RIGHT things that need to be done?
  3. Have you invested in your team with the right training….so you are doing the RIGHT things RIGHT?

Those questions and many more are critical to ask and answer, and exactly why we developed our SUSTAIN services. We can assist you in developing a “best-in-class” training program that will ensure that you are being a good steward of your resources. Your team can be equipped to handle everything from cleaning to preventive maintenance tasks.

In everything, remember the reason for what we do:

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men,” (Col 3:23 HCSB)

Does your training program meet your expectation of something that you are proud to do in His name? We are here to partner with you, how can we help?


Are you…

  • Spending too much on utilities?
  • Investing enough to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration?
  • Properly staffing for your facility needs?

If you can not answer these definitively, then you need more information. To that end, we have developed this 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

 

 

 

JUST RELEASED: Event Registration, Ticketing and Payment Processing

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Cool Solutions Group and eSPACE has just released a new “product” as part of our suite of Facility Management Software. This new offering continues to be driven by our passion to “assist organizations to be EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT and INTENTIONAL with the facilities they have been entrusted to steward.” 

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.”

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 a Event Registration (i.e. Books, T-shirts, CD’s, etc.)

In addition, we have a bonus that is included…ONLINE GIVING.  We have researched and learned that many organizations prefer to offer their event registration payments with the same online giving component.  Now you can…all within eSPACE.

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!


Almost every component of your facilities will have to be replaced at some point. Do you have an action plan? INTENTIONAL organizations plan today for tomorrow’s costs. That’s why it’s critical you establish a capital reserve account now. Download our FREE guide to learn more. 

CAPITAL RESERVE PLANNING

Avoiding the "Chicken Little" Syndrome

Security in church is a big deal. Google it; and over 155 million resources show up, some good, some bad. The reality is that violent events happen at houses of worship. A gentleman by the name of Carl Chinn is someone that has about the best and most sobering statistics collected on it. From 1/1/99 through 7/1/17 he has collected verifiable data on 1573 deadly force incidents, 447 of which resulted in death of others (*update* this was written prior to September 24th; yet one more incident that will be added). Carl not only collects the data, he has a heart for security in church; I encourage you to check him out.

So how do we not let those statistics cause us to scream warnings (like Chicken Little) and have them ignored until it is too late (like his peers)? We have quite a few options available to us. One, we know that the evil in this world is a direct result of sin, and our Savior has defeated sin. And lest we forget, as believers, Matthew records these words from Jesus:

28 Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28. HCSB)

We do not fear the evil of this world; a personal relationship with Christ means we know the eternal love of our Father. That does not mean that we just stand aside and let whatever may happen, happen. It means we become intentional in protecting our churches so that we can provide the safest place possible so that all people may hear the Gospel.

“We become intentional in protecting our churches so that we can provide the safest place possible so that all people may hear the Gospel.”

Paying attention to security is yet one more way we help further the mission of the church.

Second, we want to encourage you to be proactive, not reactive, regarding security. There are three areas that deserve attention:

1) Policies/Procedures – How do you ensure that all the best security practices are in place and followed if you do not know what they are. Not known, like a great deal of church operations (meaning oral tradition), but known and trainable because it is written down and codified. Have a plan. It may not be the best one at first, but if it is written down it means it can get edited later.

2) Equipment – What things can you install/procure to make your church safer? This can be signs, new locks, cameras, panic buttons, even access control. The beauty of equipment is that if you are intentional with how you begin to implement, you can improve and expand the equipment in the future.

3) Personnel – Never forget that policies and equipment mean nothing if you do not have personnel trained on it. Training on security is never a one-time proposition, it is on-going.

If you are serious about security in your church, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to begin investing; develop your plan before the storm, not during. At Cool Solutions Group we understand that security is important to the church, but must be implemented in a way that ensures that all who need to hear the Gospel feel welcome and wanted. Our Facility Specialists stand ready to come alongside you to help assist in the development of the best plan for your church.


Are you…

  • Spending too much on utilities?
  • Investing enough to keep up with the natural rate of deterioration?
  • Properly staffing for your facility needs?

If you can not answer these definitively, then you need more information. To that end, we have developed this FREE Church Facility Evaluator. This simple tool will provide you with a snapshot of some key indicators associated with facility operational costs.

Nathan Parr Joins Cool Solutions Group

For the past several months, we have had a significant increase in inquiries from churches that need help with addressing issues related to their facilities. Some are in need of new space, but the majority have one of the following needs:

  1. Better utilization of their space (flow/circulation, right-sizing, contextualization of space based on today’s ministry means and methods, etc).
  2. Understanding the Life Cycle of their facility (and components) and their deferred maintenance.
  3. Desire to improve their Facility Management (Facility Stewardship) means, methods, systems and knowledge.

This is encouraging for us…not because it could generate more business for us…but because we believe that church leaders are coming to the realization that Facility Stewardship is a Biblical mandate and as such, we are seeing leaders take the care, management, utilization and INTENTIONALITY of the stewardship of the ministry facilities entrusted to them much more seriously.

To that end, we are expanding our SUSTAIN services to help lead, train and support church leaders in all of these areas.  In fact, we believe so strongly in this that we have added a new member to our team.  I would like to introduce you to Nathan Parr as our newest full time team member.  Here is what Nathan has to say about this transition:

I am excited. Excited to begin this new journey, excited to be a part of this new team, excited to partner with folks across the country in being intentional with their facilities…excited to be where God directs me.

For the previous 12 years, I served as the Operations Manager at First Baptist Church in Belton, Texas. First Baptist Belton is unique in that it is in a small town, but operates on a scale usually seen in much larger municipalities. In addition to normal church services, the church hosts a private school, operates a state licensed child-care facility, averages over 11,000 room uses a year, supports a Spanish and Chinese mission church, and maintains around 9 acres in downtown Belton. That is a sampling of how it serves the community; it is a seven day a week operation. In my time at FBC Belton, God grew me in ways I never imagined.

Prior to my tenure in Belton I held a few different positions. I served in the United States Marine Corps, I owned a construction company, I worked commercial construction in South Carolina, I worked in the construction shop for Kansas State University, worked commercial lawn care for three years, and even have some paid theatrical design work in my portfolio. It was in high school in Kansas that I met my wife, and we were married on campus at KSU in the old limestone chapel. While at FBC Belton, I completed my BS in Social Science, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and an MBA.

Nathan is one of the brightest Church Facility Managers I have ever worked with…which is why he is a perfect fit for the Cool Solutions Group Team.  He could truly be seen as a “Pastor of Facilities” for nearly any church in America…and now he can come alongside churches across the country to share his passion for ministry, excellence in processes and expertise in all things Church Facility Management.

Here are some of the expanded services we will be making available:

Standards & Procedures

Great Facility Stewardship starts with “Best-In-Class” systems, standards and procedures. This also includes understanding “WHY” you do the things you do. Our services include:

  • Means and Methods Review
  • Facility Management Best Practice
  • Facility Staffing Reviews
  • Hiring Procedures and Qualifications
  • Budgeting and Reserve Planning
  • Preventive Maintenance Plan
  • Data Storage and Software Applications

Facility Training

Once you know WHY…make sure you know HOW. Our team of skilled Church Facility Management professions provide training in the following areas:

  • Security Planning – developing the best fit in your facility for:
    • Policies
    • Equipment
    • Personnel
  • Cleaning 101 – developing a base cleaning program that keeps your guests and staff safe in the most cost-effective manner
  • Cleaning 201 -Building upon your base to create a program that continually improves in effectiveness and efficiency
  • Team Building and integration of the Facility Staff in the mission of the church
  • Project Management
  • Procurement processes -finding the best solution for the long-term; developing vendor relationships
  • Role of the Facility Manager in Church activities – Integrating them early to ensure more time is spent on the mission, not logistics

Facility Assessments

Do you have a firm grip on the condition and life cycle expectations and expenditures related to your facility? Our team of facility professionals and engineers can provide detailed assessments of these aspects including:

  • “Fresh Eyes” Assessments
  • Deferred Maintenance Evaluation
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Energy/Operational Efficiency Including Facility Staffing Assessment
  • Spatial Planning

If you have a church facility…then you will benefit by what we offer.  Give us a call or email Nathan at nathan@coolsolutionsgroup.com

Property Acquisition 101: Free Assessment Tool

“We got such a great deal on this ___________!” (You fill in the blank)

I have heard these words far too many times, and 9 times out of 10, the “deal” was anything but. Yes the purchase cost was less than market, but the cost of development was astronomical.  Things such as:

  1. Poor topography
  2. Odd shaped parcel
  3. Lack of public water and sewer (if you build more than 300 seats, you need a fire sprinkler system)
  4. Lack of Three Phase Electric (needed for most commercial applications)
  5. Utility easements slicing through the property
  6. Wetlands
  7. Deed Restrictions
  8. Zoning restrictions
  9. Poor road visibility
  10. Located outside the target market you are trying to reach

I have seen first hand how the “deal of the century” actually cost a church MORE than acquiring a site for market value.  Don’t misunderstand…I am not saying that you need to be prudent with the acquisition price of any property.  What I am saying is make sure you ask ALL the right questions BEFORE you purchase.

If you are considering purchasing an existing facility, there are similar “horror” stories I can share related to:

  1. Zoning limitations
  2. Lack of fire sprinklers
  3. Low ceiling heights
  4. Inadequate parking
  5. Handicap/ADA issues
  6. Inadequate Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC systems
  7. Excessive deferred maintenance
  8. Cost of renovation
  9. Incongruency of the facility compared to the vision and “story” of the church…and
  10. Located outside the target market you are trying to reach

To help you get started in this process, we have an invaluable tool on our website. This tool is a simple tool that allows you to create a grading system to evaluate multiple site.  This is in an Excel format, so you can customize it to meet your specific situation.  This is a FREE tool that has morphed over the years by several friends of mine.

Download your free copy of the Potential Church Facility Assessment  (scroll down to CHURCH LOCALITY RESOURCES)…and make the wise choice!

Church Facility Staffing – How Many Do You Need?

I NEED YOUR HELP!

Several years ago our team did a survey of the number of Church Facility Staff needed to properly maintain a facility and keep up with the natural rate of physical deterioration (1-4% annually) as well as the day to day activity of keeping a facility functioning effectively to meet a church’s ministry objective. As part of that survey, we contacted approximately 200 churches and received some incredible information.

Now, Cool Solutions Group is partnering with Vanderbloemen Search Group to update this research and develop an eBook on the topic. In light of  this, we would love to get feedback from you all.  If you are game, here are some questions we are looking for responses:

  1. How many Square Feet of buildings are on your campus(es)?
  2. How many full time and part time facility staff do you have? Please identify employment status (PT/FT)
  3. Of those staff members, how many commit more than 75% of their time in housekeeping/janitorial activities?
  4. Did you include your Facility Manager in the total count?
  5. If so, how much of their time is spent on “managing” the staff and facilities vs. actually performing the physical work?
  6. What is your average weekly attendance?

We would love to hear from you…then we will share our findings. Click HERE to submit your responses.

Also, don’t forget to download your FREE eBook on Capital Reserve Planning.

5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account

If you are reading this post, then your organization likely owns or utilizes a facility. Given that, there are some facts about the life cycle and condition of your facilities that you need to be aware of:

  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. The rate of deterioration can more than double if we do not stay current with the natural rate of deterioration
  4. All of the above will require dollars

So the big questions are…how much money will be needed and when.

If you cannot definitely answer either part of that question, then we have the right resource to help you better develop a long term life cycle and capital reserve plan (and it is FREE):

5 Intentional Steps to Establish a Capital Reserve Account

Almost every component of your facilities will have to be replaced at some point. Do you have an action plan? INTENTIONAL organizations plan today for tomorrow’s costs. That’s why it’s critical you establish a capital reserve account now!

What’s in the eBook?

  1. Easy to understand concepts of Capital Reserves
  2. Compelling statistics about the cost of facility ownership
  3. Intentional steps to get you on the right path
  4. Tools to get you started

This FREE e-Book helps you implement the 5 steps necessary to start the process of Life Cycle and Capital Reserve planning.  Click HERE to download your copy.

Also, don’t forget to check out the eSPACE Event Scheduler and Work Order Management tools to help you be efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Stewardship.

 

Facility Management vs. Maintenance

Over the past 8 years, I have met with dozens and dozens of business administrators, executive pastors, operations directors and facility personnel. As I have documented these experiences, I see a real and perceived discrepancy between the meaning of Facilities Management and facilities maintenance. To some of you, this may sound like semantics, but I think that it is much, much deeper than two “words”, even if some may consider them synonyms. Let me describe what I have seen and then let you decide if there is or is not a difference.

First, let’s explore how various dictionaries and sources define these 2 words:

man-age-ment
1. The organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives
2. The act or manner of managing; handling, direction, or control
3. The technique, practice, or science of managing, controlling or dealing with

main-te-nance
1. The act of maintaining
2. Care or upkeep, as of machinery or property
3. The work needed to keep a road, building, machine, etc. in good condition

As I look at these definitions, I see a couple things that jump out at me:

1. Management appears to define the act of being proactive.
2. Management requires a skill to lead and direct activities of an organization or team
3. Maintenance appears to be developing a way to maintain the status quo
4. Maintenance is focused on the care and upkeep of something which may be seen as reactive.

What words could be used to differentiate management vs. maintenance? Here are some possible word associations:

MANAGEMENT

MAINTENANCE

Proactive

Reactive

Preventive

Corrective

Lead

React

Plan

Respond

Systematic

Scramble

Save over the Long Term

Spend as needed

Increase Life Cycle

Band-Aid

 

I think there is indeed a difference between these words…especially as it relates to facilities. Facility Management can be defined as so much more than maintenance. It can and should be proactive in looking for ways to staff, save, and service. Keeping up with the best tech ideas, security, budgeting, Life Cycle planning,  “green uses” and more. Also, Facility Management staff can look for ways to better set-up, design, and use its “plant” rather than simply caring out work orders or manual instructions. In most church settings these functions are a last minute “Hick-Up” and are not thought out well or processed INTO Ministry systems, processes and flow. In short, Facility Management is working “ON” verses simply “IN” a process.

A simple way to think of the difference is that maintenance is keeping what you have running smoothly and efficiently, but Facility Management means planning ahead, seeking to improve, managing risks, learning what is available, proactive and possible.

So, as you explore your facility stewardship needs, are you providing management or merely maintenance? Both are important…but there is a difference.

If you need assistance sorting out the difference and leading a proactive Facility Management initiative in 2017, please contact our team of facility professionals.  You will be glad you did.

Also, don’t forget to check out the eSPACE Event Scheduler and Work Order Management tools to help you be efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Stewardship.

Church Annual Giving Statements

I am thankful for my friends at Generis for offering a great FREE tool to help your church look at your annual giving statements a little differently.

As a leader, you have much to do. Not only are you responsible for the daily care of the congregation, but you also deal with life’s unexpected moments that require your pastoral attention. You lead the staff and volunteers, and oh, by the way, attend to the weekend and message prep questions that keep popping up every week.

Even with all of these leadership realities, elevating and normalizing the giving conversation in your church and saying thank you to givers is HUGE. Don’t miss this natural moment to invest into the spiritual life of your givers. It’s worth the focus and the work to demonstrate a spirit of gratitude!

Church management software does a great job of making these statements an easy and efficient administrative task. The Annual Giving Statement should not be just an administrative task, it is an opportunity to normalize the giving conversation in your church! Don’t settle for easy and efficient but instead aim for making a meaningful engagement with your givers. You can do this by celebrating, building trust and casting vision through an excellent annual giving statement strategy.

As you prepare an annual giving communication to your givers, use this resource to frame your work. This resource will walk you through several important steps to engage with your givers on a new level this year. Engaging them like this opens their hearts and develops deeper roots in their church engagement.

For more information about surprising and delighting your givers through a successful annual giving statement strategy, click below to download this amazing resource.

Image result for download buttonAlso, don’t forget to check out the eSPACE Event Scheduler and Work Order Management tools to help you be efficient, effective and intentional with your Facility Stewardship

Thom Rainer: 8 Causes of Concern for Bible Belt Churches

I am a Thom Rainer fan.  His influence on the local church is far more impactful and far reaching than many people may realize. where serving the local church or  serving at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism or leading research project. and most recently in his role as the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, Thom has impact the Kingdom in amazing ways (By The Way, I am a pretty big fan of his kids – Sam, Art and Jess…my publishers at Rainer Publishing).

In a recent podcast, Thom Rainer and Jonathan Howe discussed concerns about church in the Bible Belt.  Living in the heart of the Bible Belt, this caught my attention. What am I, and those I live near, needing to be aware of?  What can we do? What new realities need to be faced and addressed?

Here are the 8 Causes for Concern that Thom and Jonathan addressed:

  1. They don’t recognize the decline in cultural Christianity.
  2. They have many “church rules.”
  3. They have leaders who have never led in a highly unchurched mission field.
  4. They confuse traditions with truth.
  5. They do outreach the way they’ve always done it.
  6. They have significant conflict due to frustration.
  7. They are very slow to respond.
  8. They have significant facility challenges.

Some highlights from this episode include:

  • > Culture and people have changed over time, but many churches have not.
  • > Many churches refuse to admit that the world around them is changing.
  • > Cultural Christianity no longer exists—even in the Bible Belt.
  • > Sometimes a church’s habits become “the only way something can be done.”
  • > Some people are more obedient to the traditions of a church than they are to the Bible.
  • > If you want to find out what a church’s idols are, start changing the bylaws.
  • > How do you change the culture in an established church? Slowly.

If you are in the Bible Belt (or any part of the country) how does this impact your approach to outreach and ministry? How is culture changing around you and are you addressing it?  Are there things that need to change at your church? How you do things?  Why you do things?

Click below and listen for yourself.  It is time well spent. And don’t forget your FACILITY CHRISTMAS gifts.

8 Causes of Concern for Bible Belt Churches – Rainer on Leadership #279