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

 

 

 

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

Want to Catch More Fish – Put Bait on the Hook

If you were driving down a road in your town and saw this building, would you be intrigued?  Would you want to check it out? As you look at that picture, who do you think this building meant to attract? Who was the primary target to get sucked in by the design and amenities?

If you said MEN…then you would be correct. But not just any man, a mid “thirty something” man.  And why would a church focus on that age group and gender?  It is actually pretty simple for the leadership at Northside Christian (designed by Visioneering Studios).

They believe that if they can attract men in their mid thirties, they will likely bring their wife and 3 +/- children as well. In most cases, it is easier to engage the entire family if the husband/father is leading the charge and is compelled to attend. For most men, there is too much talk about love (especially loving another man…YUCK), surrender, “feelings”, and a whole host of other words and songs that are just not appealing.

So what did this church decide to do?  They were intentional about communicating a story and message to the target they wanted to attract.  They made the conscious decision to put “bait on the hook” as they fulfilled their calling to be fishers of men.  The attractional elements of the physical campus were intended to be appealing to those they were trying to reach…just like the worm, minnow or lure are on a fishing hook.  If you going fishing for bass, you would not leave the bait at home.  Yes, it is possible to catch a fish on a bare hook…but it is less likely , much harder and far less rewarding.  So why do we think it is wrong to put “bait” on the hook when we are fishing for souls? Given some recent responses to my other posts on “story”, I am sure some of  you are saying “But the Holy Spirit is the only thing we need…he will draw them in…why should we try to manipulate.” While I am in complete agreement that the Holy Spirit will move in a person’s heart to take action, God  also gave us eyes…ears…noses…and other sensory attributes that he uses to influence us.

For this church, they decided to use several types of bait…here are a few examples:

  1. The overall design is that of a lodge or “man cave”.  It is very masculine and appealing to a man. It makes me want to go hang out, how about you?
  2. The materials are “manly”.  From the stone, to the exposed wood grains, to the exposed metal, to the car license plates used to clad a section of the facility (above pic), the materials scream MAN!  Women are generally drawn in by color…but men are attracted to materials.
  3. They took the “bait on the hook” concept and developed a fishing hole in front of the building that is open to the public…that they actually stock with fish.  Again, the idea is that a mid-30 year old man with 3 kids would bring the kids to the fishing hole (i.e. a WELL…see this post for more on that concept) even if they have never gone to the “church”…or what we might refer to as the Temple experience.
  4. Amenities…besides the “fishing hole”, this church has been deliberate in the location of their exterior public spaces.  Even if you are not interested in fishing, but looking for a place to sit outside by a gentle waterfall to read…or you have those 3 young kids and need to get them out from under mom’s feet to blow off some pent up energy, this campus shouts…COME HERE.  The playground is open to the public and the outside sitting areas and tables are inviting to anybody just looking for a place to hang and do life with others. In addition, they were judiciously placed on the front side of the campus so they are visible to people passing by…more bait!

The kid’s space continues this theme and attractional relationship with their community. You can see why “Your Kids Won’t Want to Leave”, on the blog by Jody Forehand….which is another form of “bait”.

Are you ready to go fishing for your community?   Is your church more interested in “cleaning” fish or catching them?  If it is the later, make sure you have the right bait.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.