Which Way Do I Go?…Which Way Do I Go?

Have you ever been a first time guest at a large complex? Maybe a hospital, corporate office building, university, major league sports venue, airport or some other similar destination. Have you ever felt like the hound from Of Fox And Hounds – (Warner Bros, 1940) …“which way did he go George, which way did he go?

As I have said several times in this series, I spend a fair amount of time on the road. I am in and out of airports, rental cars, and hotels on a weekly basis. I may be in 2-3 different airports in a single week. On top of that, I am a guy (DUH). So as a member of the male species, it is ingrained that I do not ask directions. I am a man, and by golly, I can figure this out on my own. I am so thrilled that smart phones have GPS…that is a man’s best friend when you are on the road. But I have learned that the GPS does not work very well inside the airport when I am trying to navigate my way to destinations within the terminal. However, most airports (except for Newark…the blithe of all airports) use the same, or very similar, iconic signs that allow me to find my way to key landmarks without  damaging my much protected masculinity. They are:

These 3 signs put me at ease and make me feel like “I can do this”, even if I have never been to that airport. I can follow these signs and not look like a neophyte or an “occasional traveler” (you know who I am referring too). I can proceed with confidence that I will be able to locate the restroom, rental cars, and baggage claim (which I rarely use, but is nice to know where it is on those occasions or when I am assisting someone else find their way). These are all examples of Wayfinding.

Here is what Wikipedia says about wayfinding:

Urban planner Kevin A. Lynch borrowed the term for his 1960 book The Image of the City, where he defined wayfinding as “a consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment”. In 1984 environmental psychologist Romedi Passini published the full-length “Wayfinding in Architecture” and expanded the concept to include signage and other graphic communication, clues inherent in the building’s spatial grammar, logical space planning, audible communication, tactile elements, and provision for special-needs users.

In laymen’s terms, wayfinding are elements that help lead a guest through the maze of a facility.

Wayfinding are elements that help lead a guest through the maze of a facility.”

This can take the form of signage, “weenies”, floor markings, pathways, visual graphics and even sound and smell. Any element that provides a sensory clue to a desired location can be considered wayfinding.

Let me say this again…these elements are NOT for your current members/attendees, although they will enjoy it as well (and in the same way I may not need to know where the baggage claim is, if I am trying to help someone else, it is nice to have obvious clues to be of assistance). Rather, wayfinding is for those not yet at your church…your guests. By providing wayfinding…starting at the entrance of your parking lot and continuing throughout the campus experience…you reduce a portion of the walls that a first time guest may have erected and you ease their mind.  They are able to navigate the parking lot, the pedestrian access points, and circulation spaces without feeling and looking like “the dumb new guy”.

In addition, wayfinding done right, can be the landmarks for connection. “Hey Sam, I will meet you outside the double door with the large orange KID CITY sign”.  These wayfinding elements become part of the fabric of your campus, your culture, and your guests’ experience.  Don’t see them as just signs or directional components. See them as part of how your facility tells the unique story of who you are and what you value.


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.

Welcome To Your Dirty Clean Building

You have probably heard that first impressions of your facility happen very quickly when a first-time guest comes in. So, we push our facility team to keep entrances clean. The concern is, what does clean mean to you? Clean is one part of a proper cleaning program in your facility, and while it is the most visually impactful, it doesn’t mean you have a “clean” facility.

Clean is one of the “Big 3” of a proper understanding of what it takes for a great custodial program. The other two are Sanitize and Disinfect. Let us look at their bios and see why they are all important.

Clean

Clean means free from visible dirt, marks, or stains. Keeping the trash picked up, wiping up Brother John’s coffee spill (again), wiping little Susie’s handprints off the glass door; that is cleaning. Keeping an area clean is very important to the program, but what if Brother John spilled his coffee on the table you are about to eat that donut on? Oh, and the rag he used to wipe up the spill is the same one he wiped his hands on after putting the raw chicken in the crock-pot for the potluck. Then, you hope that Sanitize is part of your program as well.

Sanitize

Sanitize means treating food-contact surfaces by a process that destroys vegetative cells (cells that are growing) of microorganisms of public health significance, and in substantially reducing numbers of other undesirable microorganisms, but without adversely affecting the product or its safety for the consumer.

“Clean is one part of a proper cleaning program in your facility, and while it is the most visually impactful, it doesn’t mean you have a ‘clean’ facility.”

That last is important, because it means that the sanitizer will get rid of some nasties (99.999% of those that cause food-borne illness), but is (relatively) safe for you if you touch the residue.  Sanitizers that are food contact rated are certified by the EPA first, and maximum use level for direct use on food contact surfaces are set by the FDA; they will be labeled as such. Most sanitizers will state that the first step to sanitizing is cleaning the surface of debris and spills first.

So, that makes the donut break at the table better, but what about little Susie’s handprint that got on the glass because she was wiping her runny nose? That is where Disinfect comes along.

Disinfect

Disinfect is like sanitize, except for the control issue. Disinfect does not want to leave anything alive on a surface it is on. Depending on type, wet dwell time may need to be 30 seconds to 10 minutes. A disinfectant can be tested and rated as a bactericide (kills bacteria), viricide (kills viruses), fungicide (kills fungus), and mildewcide (kills mildew). Many are rated for a great deal of things based on concentration and dwell time. Just like sanitize, most disinfectants require cleaning as the first step.

 

Fun Fact Time

Sanitizers and disinfectants that are registered with the EPA fall under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) because they are pesticides. They kill living organisms. Overexposure and improper use and handling can cause a great deal more harm in your facility than not using them.

So how do we keep the facility healthy with Brother John and little Susie running around? Simple, we get intentional in developing and training on a comprehensive cleaning procedure. We make sure our cleaning procedures utilize the proper mix of the “Big 3”. If you need assistance, Cool Solutions Group stands ready to partner with you and help you develop the program that welcomes guests to your clean (and sanitized and disinfected) facility.


Does your church meet in a facility (rented or owned)? Do you believe God has entrusted the care and stewarding of those facilities to you (or your church)? Are you proactive and intentional with these efforts? If any of these relate to you, then you need to get your copy of the Intentional Church Series: Facility Stewardship Manual.

Your Church Needs More Weenies

Just to disarm you, I am not referring to wimpy people.  I am not suggesting that you have hot dog carts in the lobby (although it would be a neat twist on your pre and post service experience).  What we are talking about are icons.  Let me explain.

When Walt Disney was designing his world class theme parks, he used the analogy of how you can lead a dog to illustrate his concept of using attractional elements.  He said that you can get a dog to do what you want in one of 2 ways;  you can take a stick and beat the dog…or you can take that same stick, place a weenie on the end of it and lead the dog.  One requires brute force and is not pleasant for the recipient (or the enforcer) while the other creates a sense of anticipation of a treat…a reward…something special at the end of the journey.  Which would you prefer?

How many of you have been to a Disney theme park?  If you have, then you will be able to take this mental journey with me.  Close your eyes and image you have just arrived at the park.  You have paid the admission and walked through the turnstiles to be greeted by the train station which is encompassed by the most incredible array of landscaping and the image of Mickey Mouse…but you cannot see anything else except the entrances to either side of the depot. They draw you in with a giddiness childlike sense of anticipation. “What could be on the other side?” is a common thought that rushes through the minds of even the eldest of guests.

The vine covered train trestle creates a gateway that identifies the start of a truly magical journey.  With its magnetism you are sucked into the park and thrust into Town Square.  At first glance of your new surroundings, you are faced with so many choices.  The fire station with musicians…or maybe Goofy and Minnie to give hugs…or possible see Mickey Mouse himself at the theater.  Regardless of which venue, personality, or feature you gravitate to first…or second…or 10th, all roads in Town Square lead to one place…MAIN STREET USA.

As you round the corner from either side of Town Square, you are transformed into Marceline, Missouri, the home town of Walt Disney. You have stepped back in time to the early 1900’s…a time of simplicity and a era almost forgotten by many.  MAIN STREET is where turn-of-the-century architecture and transportation bring the small-town Middle America of the early 1900’s to life.  There are shops, a dentist office (listen for the drilling in the open window), Walt’s apartment and so much more. But if you stand anywhere on MAIN STREET and look in the direction of the park, what is the thing that will always catch your eye?

Cinderella’s Castle!!!!!

It is a “weenie”.  It leads all of the park guests in that direction. You do not need a tour guide (although they are available) to tell you where you are heading.  You do not need a big flashing neon say that says, “Go to the castle.”  It is iconic and it sucks you in.  It is almost like a force field that gets stronger and stronger the closer you get.  It is magical. It is intentional. It communicates a story.  It WORKS!

So…go ahead and open your eyes and let’s apply this to our churches.  Our campuses and facilities need weenies.  We need these elements that draw people in and shout a message…a story.  What if the entrance to your kids environments was designed in such a way that it would be so obvious to a guest that they would immediately venture to that area…without a sign or someone telling them where to go, the entrance would shout KIDS COME HERE.  Now, I am not suggesting you do not have signs or greeters.  What I am suggesting is that the experience for the guests will be enhanced by providing other visual clues to communicate the story.  It is not an either/or…but a both/and.

Make it attractional (what ever that means in your DNA and culture…don’t get hung up on the above example of Disney.  If you do, you will have missed the point).

Be creative.

Be intentional.

Provide the environment for life change to occur for your guests.  Disney is selling the “Happiest Place on Earth”…we are selling the greatest gift this world will ever know.


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.

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

Your Church Facilities Should Suck

Have you ever driven by a park, mall, restaurant or other building that caught your attention and sparked your interest to the point that you just had to pull in and check it out?  Maybe it was the design of the building?  Maybe it was the look and feel of the campus/grounds.  Maybe it was the crowds of people in the parking lots or those mingling throughout the campus or maybe it was some other attribute that was so compelling that just sucked you in.  There was this innate and unspoken draw that was irresistible.  You may have fought the suction the first or second time you passed by…but eventually, the gravitational pull and indescribable suction pulled you in like being sucked in by a massive vacuum.  I know I have.

The design of a facility and campus are far more critical in telling your story than most people realize.  Road appeal matters.  Aesthetics matter. I am not saying that your facility needs to be opulent or look like the Crystal Cathedral (sad what has happened there), but it is going to make a “statement” and tell a story to those in your community. It can also be the catalyst to suck people in or repel them.

I once attended the Exponential Conference and loved being with thousands of church planters and leaders with a passion to expand the reach of the gospel. But let me give you a common mistake I see many, not all, church planters and new churches make far too often.

Church Planters will do their due diligence and locate their church in an area of the community that fits their “target market”.  They understand the community and the people they plan to reach.  Momentum builds…which leads to growth…which leads to crowded conditions in their rented facility…which leads to buying land…followed by the planning and building of a facility.  As with most new churches, money is tight and yet space is needed for ministry. So they find themselves in the conundrum of space vs. dollars.  They have bought land in an area of $250-$500,000 homes…right in the heart of their target. That is GREAT! But because of their need for “cheap” space, they throw up an austere structure…most likely a plain looking metal building. They cut corners on the street scape, landscaping and entrance signage, or worse, they put some something incongruent with who they are and the community they are trying to reach.

What story have they just told their community?  Will people whom spent $400K plus on their house…who are not yet believers, want to come to the little metal building around the corner? To a “passer-by”, what are you communicating with your building and campus? Is it appealing?  Does it draw (suck) them in? Does it spark a positive emotional reaction? Does it say “WELCOME…come check us out” without posting a billboard or sign? Does the community see you as an asset or a detriment?

Now, I totally understand the need to have space to fulfill the vision, mission and ministry of the church.  I get the reality that there is a limited budget.  These are real issues. What I am suggesting is that we be intentional with our campus and facility design…and intentional does not necessarily mean more expensive…but it does take effort, planning, vision, and vigilance.

We will keep unpacking these factors in the weeks to come.  But in the meantime, drive around your community with a set of fresh-eyes…and notice the way some of the facilities and campuses (not necessarily churches) look and see what kind of story they communicate to you. When we are aware that design matters, we start to see things that will cause us to pause and either be sucked in, or merely say, “Huh.”

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.

What "Story” Does Your Church Facility Tell? – Intentional

What does it mean to be intentional? When I use this word in conversation, I think of it in these terms:

  • On Purpose
  • Premeditated
  • Done with a specific result expected
  • Attention to details

These are words and phrases that are totally opposite to concepts such as:

  • Do it on the fly
  • Let’s see what happens
  • Make it up as we go
  • Hope for the best

Most successful ministry leaders adherer to the first list rather than the latter when planning sermon series, accounting methods, ministry initiatives, music sets and transitions between songs, website design, blogs and the like.  They plan.  They have an eye on the net result of their plans and goals.  They do not leave things to “chance”. And they, or someone on their team, is paying close attention to every detail.

I have used the example of Disney before and how they are all about the guest experience.  Do you think they care about the details or the “story” they want their guest to tell their friends and family after their experience? Do you think they leave that experience up to chance?  HECK NO!  Let me give you some examples:

Trash Cans – Did you know that Disney studied and learned that the maximum amount of steps a person will walk to get to a trash can is 30 paces. In order to promote  the cleanliness of the park, trash cans are placed no farther than 27 paces away from each other.  Wow…that will keep things clean. And not only that…they are not just trash cans…they are a prop and part of the story.

On-Stage/Back Stage – Disney makes a clear distinction between what people see and what people don’t see. This goes back to Walt Disney’s desire for Disneyland to be a “show.” Whenever “cast members” walk on-stage, the show is on. This distinction continues into how cast members dress and even the conversations they have with other cast members. This is part of their culture.

Street-scape – Disney knows that most of its guests entering the park are excited to see Sleeping Beauty’s castle…which happens to be at the end of Main Street.  To enhance this visual, the buildings along Main Street get shorter and the awnings extend out further along down the sidewalk. This makes the castle appear farther away and larger than life. This draws you toward the castle  and starts that transformation process (more on this in future weeks).

Sight, Sounds, Smell and Texture – When you get near the end of Main Street you are presented with a myriad of options as to where to venture next.  With each of these options, whether it is Tomorrow LandAdventure Land or Frontier Land, you will be drawn in and transformed incorporating all of your senses…and then some. Disney is very intentional with the imagery that greets you at the entrance of each “land”…and that theme draws you in and stays consistent. They also use music, sounds, and other audible effects to make your experience congruent with what your eyes see.  It then draws you deeper into this transformation by appealing to your sense of smell and “texture”.  Next time you are there and start to explore the various lands, look down and make note of what you are walking on…and so the intentionality continues.  Amazing!!!

What I have seen and learned by observing this is that many, if not most, of these impactful impressions are not that much more expensive, if at all, than their “basic” counterparts.  And in areas where additional investment is made, it is counterbalanced by a reduction in investment in others.

So…the bottom line is that “intentionality” does not have to equate to it being more expensive….it just means you have to be intentional. Purposeful. Thoughtful. Deliberate. Focused on the outcome.

As you consider your church and ministry facility, have you been intentional with its design, story and sensory elements…or have you left it to chance?

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.

What “Story” Does Your Church Facility Tell?: Story vs. Fairy Tale

Which do you prefer…a Story or a Fairy Tale?  What is the difference? Let’s look at these…then apply them to our church facilities.

The word story may be used as a synonym of “narrative”. It can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. More narrowly defined, it is the means whereby the narrator (or Story Teller) communicates directly to the reader.

Stories are an important aspect of culture. Many works of art and most works of literature tell stories; in fact, most of humanities involve stories. Owen Flanagan of Duke University, a leading consciousness researcher, writes that “Evidence strongly suggests that humans in all cultures come to cast their own identity in some sort of narrative form. We are inveterate storytellers”.  We use stories to pass on the past to the next generation or to give instruction.  It is also used to convey an idea, concept, precaution, and the like.  A story can be fiction or non-fiction and can become embellished over time…but most stories that convey a non-fiction narrative are generally filled with truth.

fairy tale , on the other hand, is a type of short story that typically features folklore and fantasy.  Most of the time we refer to them as a type of children’s literature.  The term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in “fairy tale ending”  or “fairy tale romance” (though not all fairy tales end happily). In the vernacular, a “fairy tale” or “fairy story” can also mean any far fetched story or tall tale; it’s used especially of any story that not only isn’t true, but couldn’t possibly be true.

I like stories and I like fairy tales. I like to understand perspective, the past, the present paradigms and all the things you can learn from a story.  I also like getting lost in a good fairy tale.  I love fairy tales like The Lion Witch and the Wardrobe.  It is great to become transformed into these make-believe worlds with their unique languages, places, characters and assumptions.

However, what I do not like is when I think I am observing or participating in a story to learn that it is actually only a fairy tale. I feel betrayed, tricked or misled. Have you ever read a story and were fully engulfed in a theme to only find out that it was not true or relevant or congruent? Bummer! I hate “bate and switch” experiences.

Consider the following word association chart:

So…when it comes to your church facility, is it telling a story or a fairy tale?  Is it congruent with who you are?  Your vision? Your mission? Your culture? Or will people see your facility…then upon experiencing your interactions, worship experiences, first impression, and culture realize that it was just a fairy tale?

Tell me what you think.  Are your facilities telling an intentional story or merely a fairy tale?

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.

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

What “Story” Does Your Church Facility Tell? Delta vs. Former USAir

I fly a lot.

Living in Charlotte, NC, I used to predominately fly USAir (now American) as Charlotte is their primary hub.  Most any where I want to go is a direct flight.  They have a significant number of flights every day to most of the destinations that I fly to. Most of the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is designed to cater to them and their clientele.

So, why do I almost exclusively fly Delta Airlines? Why would I subject myself to having to fly through another port (unless I am specifically flying to Atlanta, Memphis, Detroit, NYC or Minneapolis)?

Let me share some of the reasons why I fly Delta and then we will look at how this applies to the story our church facilities tell:

  1. About 80% of my travel is paid for by the clients I serve as part of reimbursable expenses.  In light of that, I am constantly looking for the best value I can for our clients…helping them be good stewards.  Seeing I generally have to subject myself to a “two-legger” (meaning a connection flight to get to the destination), the flights are less expensive than the equivalent direct flight with USAir/American. Seeing that stewardship is important to me, it influences my buying and partnering decisions.
  2. With the exception of their small CRJ 100/200 planes, every flight has WiFi.  If you know me, you know I love my email and connectivity…so I do not mind sitting on a second flight if I can be productive.  Our family recently took a vacation that required a 3+ hour flight each direction.  We flew USAir/American as I had significant miles accumulated and we used them for the trip. We flew a standard 757 going and a transatlantic 757 on the return. NEITHER plan had internet service.  GRRRR!!!  While I was glad not to be “working”, I still wanted internet access for other things like social media, videos, cloud accounts, etc. My expectations were grossly unmet and I was frustrated and very disappointed.
  3. For the most part, the Delta fleet is newer and better maintained…or at least they appear to be for the areas of the planes I see (i.e. the cabins, seats, flooring, etc.). The flights I mentioned above were older planes…old decor…straight out of the 1970’s: frayed seat upholstery, worn our carpet, 0ld seat controls, retrofitted video monitors, and in-flight entertainment systems that did not work or were not activated. The condition of the planes I submit my physical life and safety are important to me. If they are not taking care of the areas where paying customers sit for hours, what else are they not maintaining?  HMMMMM.
  4. On the flights our family recently took,  we received a single beverage in coach…and no snack…on a 3+ hour flight.  REALLY!!! The stinginess or generosity experienced influenced me in a significant way.
  5. Flying can be stressful…especially for the infrequent flyer…like my wife and kids…and the majority of the people on a vacation destination flight.  So the attitudes, outgoing personalities, approachability, and over all demeanor of the crew, gate agents, and flight attendants is critical.  Again, poor marks for our recent experience…and Lisa and I were sitting in first class on the way home. Still, it was below average customer service compared to what I expected and what I am used to experiencing. It was clear that the first class flight attendant was not invested in her role on this flight. Personal interactions are a direct reflection on the culture, DNA, and attitudes of an organization, and this spoke volumes to me.

I could share more about the airline industry pros and cons, but that is not really my point.  The point is, that the experiences people have as a guest at your church (or any organization) will impact them and can play a significant role in determining if they return (become a patron, enthusiastic customer, and ultimately a raving fan) as they find their way on their spiritual journey.

We have talked about how First Impressions are so critical…and it tells a story, whether we intent to or not. This is a real life example of how this is played out in an everyday occurrence.

Does your church offer a WOW experience and tell a story that is congruent with your mission, vision and ministry objectives? If not, you may be missing an incredible opportunity to meet the needs (especially spiritual) of those in your community.

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.

Church Facility Projects – You've Moved In…But You're Still Not Done

You’ve moved into the new facility and are enjoying the “new car smell” and excitement that comes with seeing the vision become reality.  As you celebrate this momentous occasion, there’s still work to be done to keep this new building running at peak performance.

Capital Reserves

Start setting aside money in a Capital Reserves Account.  Ideally, this is a separate bank account used only for facility maintenance and repair expenses.  At the very least, it can be a separate line item in the general ledger.  Don’t forget to include reserves for IT and AVL (audio, visual, lighting) equipment.  How much should you set aside?  For a new (or fairly new) construction, save $1.00-$3.00 per square foot each year.

Maintenance-Related Expenses

Add or update the maintenance-related expenses in your church’s annual budget.  Expect to spend roughly $2.00-$2.50 per square foot annually on general maintenance.  You’ll also need to budget for additional facilities staff to handle those general maintenance tasks.  Plan for one FTE (full-time equivalent) for every 25,000 – 35,000 square feet.

Utilities

Update the budget to account for the change in utility costs at your new facility.  A good place to start is $1.00-$1.50 per square foot each year.

Janitorial Services

Whether you handle this in-house or outsource janitorial work, you’ll need to budget approximately $1.75 – $2.50 per square foot each year.

Handling these behind-the-scenes tasks will help keep your new facility running smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Intentional organizations plan today for tomorrow’s costs. That’s why it’s critical you establish a capital reserve account now. Download our FREE eBook to learn more.