financial gatekeepers related to facility stewardship

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Every church has someone or a group of people who are the gatekeepers for financial things.  These people could include the following: 

  • Business Administrator
  • Director of Operations
  • CFO
  • Executive Pastor
  • Finance committee/team
  • A board

Having someone to take charge of finances is essential. Can you imagine giving every staff member or ministry leader free rein of the church’s checkbook? Lord, have mercy.

Show Me The Money

One of the questions we hear almost every week from facility managers, facility maintenance people, and those striving to be excellent Facility Stewards is:

 “How do we convince our _______ (you fill in the blank) that we need more money to operate our facility and save for the inevitable costs of capital renewals?”

I have immense compassion and empathy for these facility stewards. They want to stay ahead of deferred maintenance and provide a safe environment for guests. They want available funds to replace items that have reached the end of their useful life. And yet, they are often asked to try and maintain and manage a complex commercial facility (a church building) with a micro-budget.

I don’t believe that church leaders sit in meetings dreaming up ways to make their facility staff’s life miserable or to conjure up ways to deteriorate their facility. However, that results from underfunding the management, maintenance, staffing, and life cycle planning at most churches. Maybe even yours. 

Leadership Roles & Facility Stewardship 

In light of the above, I want to provide some thoughts on the role of these leaders as it relates to Facility Stewardship.

You Must Face Reality

Do you know how much deferred maintenance you have? Are you spending too much or too little for facility operations? How many staff members do you have? And are your capital reserves are adequate for what is coming down the pike? Knowing all of this information is critical to stewarding your facility. 

Ask Questions

When did you last have an open and honest conversation with your facility team (whether paid or not)? Here are some questions to consider:

  • How are they doing personally and at home?
  • How is their work environment?
  • Do they have the resources and tools necessary to do the job right?
  • Are they getting the support they need from you?
  • What is coming down the path that we need to get on the radar…and how much money will be needed?
  • How do we start to attack the deferred maintenance that has been identified above?

Listen (For Real This Time)

Don’t just hear what your facility team is saying but really listen. Then, ask follow-up questions.   Don’t just stop at the initial response. Push a little; dig deeper.

Take Action

To quote Sean Connery, “What are you prepared to do?” You probably cannot take immediate action on everything you hear.  But you do need to take action. Here are some possible action items:

  • Prioritize the information
  • Establish a plan to address the prioritized list
  • Include the team in the process
  • Act on the plan

Rinse & Repeat

The steps above should not be a one-and-done. There should be a communication loop established that keeps everyone engaged and accountable. We are all in this together. So, let’s take action together


Tim Cool
Chief Executive Officer
Tim Cool is the President and CEO of Smart Church Solutions and takes great pride in helping churches optimize their facilities. When he’s not at the helm of his company, he’s dedicated to his family, being a husband to Lisa and a father to 27-year-old triplets. An enthusiast of the outdoors, Tim enjoys the simplicity of hiking in the North Carolina mountains.