Paint Cans and Praise Bands

Cool Solutions Group is all about intentionality and maintaining what God has entrusted to you for His glory. Like my father-in-law is famous for asking me, “So what?”

So why do, or should, we maintain? There is a plethora of data that talks of the economic benefit, fiscal sense, and just plain “it is what you need to do”. As believers, however, we have a more significant impetus:

The word of the Lord came through Haggai the prophet: “Is it a time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?” Now, the Lord of Hosts says this: “Think carefully about your ways:…

“You expected much, but then it amounted to little. When you brought the harvest to your house, I ruined it. Why?” This is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts. “Because My house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house. (Haggai 1:3-5, 9, HCSB)

“Cool Solutions Group is all about intentionality and maintaining what God has entrusted to you for His glory.”

Haggai was the first of the post-exilic prophets and he faced a pretty serious issue with God’s people: apathy. Apathy in the people to honor God above all else. It showed in what they focused on to make complete and maintain – their spiritual commitment (or lack) to what God had set before them. The people started out with some great funding, but it didn’t last. Then their neighbors opposed the rebuild; it became easier to not proceed (wouldn’t want to offend them). It became easier to focus on the places that meant more to them, the places that were “comforting”.

Am I still writing about the people that Haggai prophesied to? Or the church today? Kind of confusing, isn’t it?

Take hope, however, because when the Lord spoke to His people through Haggai, they listened. They repented, they focused on completing the task, and the Lord responded:

13 Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, delivered the Lord’s message to the people, “I am with you”—this is the Lord’s declaration. (Haggai 1:13, HCSB)

“I am with you.” When we are committed to the Lord, do you see what He promises? “I am with you.” The Creator of everything, the Lord our God who has authority of everything on earth and in heaven, is with us. Why would we be ok as His people to be anywhere else than under His authority and committed to Him in all things?

It is not about having the most, newest, greatest, largest church property. It is about recognizing that if God has entrusted a place for gathering to you, how you maintain it reflects your heart. He makes it beautiful (Haggai 2:9) and He calls us to maintain it to the best of our ability.

So where does the praise band come in? Worship. What is worship?

“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.”

– William Temple

When we are intentional and commit to maintaining what has been entrusted to us, we experience His holiness, we share the truth that all things are His, we experience the beauty of His creation, and we flourish in His will. We worship and are reminded:

17 And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (Col. 3:17, HCSB)

How can we partner with you today?

Shalom

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.

The Church of “Generica”

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

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

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

Sam starts the article by asking 2 questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facilities Facilitate

In order to get started today, we need to step back to our 10th grade English class and make sure we understand the definition of 2 words and the tense of each:

FACILITY (noun) – space or equipment necessary for doing something

FACILITATE (verb) – make (an action or process) easy or easier.

If you are like me, you have slept since 10th grade and so the nuance of the difference of a verb and a noun may be foggy…so let’s recap:

A “noun”, in its simplest form, is a person, place or thing. “Watch SPOT run.” “That TREE is very big.” ” Our CHURCH is located on Main Street.” (Side note…I only use this for example since many of us say that…but in reality the CHURCH is not the building…it is the people)

A “verb”, on the other hand, is a word that shows action. Verbs are the main part of a sentence in the English language. They are the component of any sentence that brings life and meaning to the words.

So back to our 2 words above…

A “facility” is a noun.  It is a place…a structure…a building…a location.  However, without a verb, it is just a stagnant word.  In fact, you can have a sentence without a noun…for example…”Go over there.” You can say those words, point and have your intent conveyed.

What does this have to do with our ministry facilities?  Glad you asked.

If a Facility is a noun…then it needs a verb to provide action, meaning and relevance. By itself, a facility is merely a monument…an edifice…an architectural statement (good or bad). Sticks and bricks are inanimate objects.  I still believe that our facility (the physical attributes) will tell a story.  I am not bending off that premise.  I believe in the concept of story and how we need to be intentional related to the storytelling of our facility…but…the reality is that facilities, in and of themselves, are not a living organism.

In order to bring life (action) to a facility, it needs a verb…and I believe the best verb for ministry facilities is that it FACILITATES.

Facilities should facilitate…

  1. Worship
  2. Education
  3. Connection
  4. Interaction
  5. Fellowship
  6. Community
  7. Outreach
  8. In-reach
  9. Discipleship
  10. Life change

So…what do your facilities facilitate? Does the facilitation fulfill your vision, mission and goals?  If not, may need to step back and re-evaluate.

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