facility manager: job or calling blog

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When you were growing up, what did you want to be? A doctor? Pro athlete? Musician? Fireman? Nurse? Mom? Pastor? Facility manager (probably not)?

Now, how many of you are actually doing what you envisioned as a child? I surely am not. When I was a teenager, I was convinced I would be a professional musician. While I was blessed to dabble in that profession (if you can call $15/week a profession) in my college years, I was quickly brought back to reality. I graduated from college and had real-life bills to pay.  I needed a job with more security. 

During my early years, I floated from a couple of different jobs without much lasting fulfillment or a sense of “calling.” When my dream of being a vocational musician never took root, I was hurt. I felt robbed of the future I envisioned.

Musician Turned Facility Manager

Then came church facility work. In 1987 I started assisting my father-in-law with marketing and selling construction projects to churches. At first, it was just a job, and I needed to support my wife (his daughter).  I would ride in his car and carry the overhead projector and screen (if you are under 40 years olds, check this out). It was not until several years later when I felt in my zone. I realized I was pretty competent in the field, and I gravitated to all things church facility.

As I continued in my career growth, I came to a point – not exactly sure when –  the job became a passion and a calling.  While I never served a local church as a music professional, I was able to serve hundreds of churches as their “minister of facilities.” That was not what I expected. I got to the place where I felt like Eric Liddel; if you have seen Chariots of Fire, you know the iconic phrase: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” 

That is how I felt. And how I still feel when I am in the midst of consulting with a church to address church facilities and how they are to be stewarded.

Job or Calling?

What started out as a job was actually my calling in life. What is a calling?  It is not really a mystical thing.  Here is one definition:

Calling = a strong urge toward a particular way of life or career; a vocation.

If you are in the role of Facility Manager, Facility Director, Operations Director, etc., are you just doing a job?  Is this merely a stepping stone to something better?  Were you out of work and just needed a job (that is where I was in 1987), and your church offered you the position?

I am not being critical if that is the case.  However, I do believe there are others who see facility management and facility stewardship as a true calling.  A lifelong pursuit and vocation. They study, train, and develop their skills to serve their organizations with the same fervor as their lead pastor does.

If that is you, I commend you and want to encourage you to live out your passion and calling.  Do not settle for mediocrity and do not abandon your goals.  If that is not you, no condemnation.  Who knows, you may find that your job is actually the blossoming of a calling.

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.