I recently saw a video of visually impaired runners racing around a track. It was fascinating to watch as they ran as fast as possible while wearing blinders. Each had a sighted partner running alongside, encouraging them and guiding them to help avoid obstacles.
I’m sure some visually challenged individuals might be able to make their way around the track without assistance or injury. However, it certainly doesn’t seem like the best way to achieve their goal of winning or even completing the race. For those who desire to run competitively or for health and recreation, an organization, United in Stride, pairs visually impaired runners with sighted guides.
What Does This Have To Do With Church Facilities Management?
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to encourage and challenge believers to persevere in their faith (and their ministry calling), especially amid trials and persecution. If you’re reading this now, you are likely involved with church facilities management. In my 18 years in the field, I have not met someone who had planned to become a church facilities manager from a young age and then spent years studying and preparing for just such a position. Most of us come into this role from various fields such as construction trades, military service, or perhaps other ministries. I started my post-college career in youth ministry; I know others that traveled a similar path.
Anyone serving a church in a facility manager role will quickly realize that they are ill-prepared for the responsibilities they are called to shoulder. These servant leaders often feel isolated and alone in their quest to be the best steward of the facilities with which they are entrusted.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone that could come alongside us to guide us through challenges and help us to persevere despite unseen obstacles?
The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. There are various sources of guidance and encouragement that we can look to for help in gaining efficiency in our ministries and avoiding pitfalls.
National Association of Church Facilities Managers
I was introduced to the National Association of Church Facilities Managers when I was just starting out in the field. If you serve a church or school in a professional facility role, NACFM is designed for you. NACFM is dedicated to equipping church facilities professionals for the unique care and management challenges they face through continuing education, leadership development, and peer support. Its Certification Program provides professional development and training with material that includes advancements in the profession. The program offers cross-functional skills, networking opportunities, and knowledge progression with like-minded professionals. By completing the program, facilities managers can earn the Certified Church Facilities Manager designation.
NACFM also offers local groups where you can gather with other professionals in your area for support, encouragement, and fellowship. It also puts on an annual in-person conference that provides continuing education and networking.
International Facility Management Association
While the NACFM focuses primarily on balancing traditional facilities management functions with a ministry focus, the International Facility Management Association concentrates specifically on the traditional facilities management role. IFMA, the largest and most widely recognized association for facility management professionals, offers three types of credentials through programs, including Facility Management Professional, Sustainability Facility Professional, and Certified Facility Manager). Local groups and conferences also provide an opportunity for continuing education and networking with other facility management professionals.
Church Facility Management Solutions
Whether you are a church facilities professional, a volunteer, or even someone whose job includes some facilities management-related tasks, the Church Facility Management Solutions group on Facebook fosters a community of ministry-minded individuals for support in facility stewardship. Group members can log on, ask questions and receive guidance and support from others in the community. Smart Church Solutions runs the group, so the facilities stewardship professionals on our team can also chime in.
In addition to NACFM and IFMA conferences, other conferences are available to assist you in your ministry.
The Church Network
The Church Network is a professional organization for church administrative professionals. It offers a one-day Facilities Management FastTrack program the day before the actual start of their National Conference. This is an excellent opportunity for additional continuing education and networking opportunities.
Church Facilities Expo (CFX)
Church Facilities Expo is the largest conference and expo for church production, facilities, and leadership teams. The two-day annual conference offers a variety of workshops and a large exhibit hall where the latest technologies are displayed. You can meet with exhibitors to learn how their offerings can assist you in your ministry. The exhibit hall also has multiple short workshops available for additional learning opportunities.
Church Facility Management Conference
Church Facility Management Conference is an annual virtual two-day conference. It is hosted by Smart Church Solutions and brings together church facility stewards for training opportunities without the time and expense of traveling to a conference. Those who register will receive a link to all presentations so they can still reap the benefits of attendance.
Texas Ministry Conference
Texas Ministry Conference is a one-day conference that provides tools and resources for people in all types of ministry. This includes, but is not limited to, churches, schools, and other nonprofit organizations. The conference is for everyone — people in leadership who drive their organization's vision and supporters of the organization. TMC offers a wide variety of exhibitors, inspiring worship, and workshops. And, no, you don’t need to live in Texas to attend.
As you can see, there are many avenues available to assist you in your facilities ministry. You really don’t have to go it alone. I encourage you to see which one(s) might be a good fit for you. Speak with your leadership to get the support and guidance you need as you run the race set before you.
Become a member of our free online community by joining our Church Facility Management Solutions group on Facebook. This group is all about church facility management. It includes church facility practitioners, professionals, volunteers, paid staff, pastors, deacons, trustees, and nearly every type of church personnel. Here you'll find answers and encouragement from other facility management professionals.