What is Facility Stewardship?
For over 14 years, you have seen me refer to facility stewardship. For some of you this may be still be a new concept. By definition, stewardship is the responsible management and protection of something, especially something valuable. When it comes to church facilities, stewardship ensures that the physical space, resources, and equipment are used and maintained in a way that supports the mission and vision of the church.
You know what a facility is and you are familiar with stewardship…but how exactly do the 2 go together?
Let’s first look at the definition of each:
FACILITY (ies) – something designed, built, installed, etc., to serve a specific function affording a convenience or service.
STEWARDSHIP - (act of being a STEWARD) – a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.
If you have grown up in the church or been involved in church for any period of time, you have heard the term “stewardship”…and I am sure that in almost every case, it revolved around money or raising money. In these cases, we are generally talking about financial stewardship which is critical to our spiritual life as well as the life of our ministries.
How Finances Tie Into Facility Stewardship
The word “money” is used over 140 times and if you add terms such as “gold” and “silver” the number is huge. For example, financial matters are mentioned more often in the Bible than prayer, healing, and mercy.
But stewardship is not just about money and finances…but refers to (as its definition above indicates) the caring for or oversight of something of someone else’s. The EPA has a section on their website that explains “Environmental Stewardship”. They define it as:
Environmental stewardship is the responsibility for environmental quality shared by all those whose actions affect the environment.
How do we apply this to our ministry facilities?
Do we really believe that God has entrusted these to us, thus making us stewards of their care and oversight? As I have shared before, I have witnessed churches and ministries spending millions of dollars in the construction and renovation of their facilities…but then fail to maintain them (i.e. steward them). They wave the banner of “stewardship” when raising money to build them…but then neglect their care, management and maintenance.
Maintenance & Upkeep
Practicing facility stewardship requires action. One of the critical aspects of church facility stewardship is regular maintenance and upkeep. Think about tasks like cleaning, painting, and repairing any damage. It's essential to keep the facility in good condition for the comfort and safety of church members and to present a positive image to the community and those visiting the church.
Use & Allocation of Resources
Another vital aspect of church facility stewardship is the use and allocation of resources. This includes things like energy usage, water conservation, and the management of financial resources. By being mindful of how resources are used, churches can save money and reduce their environmental impact. Win-win.
In addition to regular maintenance and resource management, church facility stewardship also involves planning for the future. Facility stewards may create long-term maintenance plans, set aside funds for major renovations or repairs, and consider the potential for growth and expansion.
A list of attributes that I believe are part of Facility Stewardship
- Proper cleaning
- Systematic and proactive Preventive Maintenance
- Proactive Capital Reserve Account planning
- Life Cycle analysis and planning
- Development of a systematic painting plan
- Proper facility scheduling – this is a key element of stewarding the facility…they were meant to be used
- Sustainability implementation
- Vigilant monitoring of operational costs
- Implementation of energy saving processes (i.e. HVAC interface with a Building Automation System or WiFi thermostats of better yet)
- Proactive cataloging of facility components and tracking of work orders and service requests
With the above as a backdrop, how are you doing with your Facility Stewardship? What can you implement immediately that would make you a better steward?
It Takes a Village
Okay, so maybe you are already checking all of these boxes. But is the rest of your team? Effective facility stewardship requires everyone in the church community to be on board. Your staff, leadership, and even volunteers and members should clearly understand your church's mission and vision.
Ultimately, church facility stewardship is about being good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by God. By taking care of the physical space and resources of the church, we can create a welcoming and inviting environment that supports the spiritual growth and development of all who come through its doors.
Other Facility Stewardship Resources
- Facility Stewardship Manual: A 275 page manual that provides all the know-how and tools you need to be an intentional and proactive steward of your facility.
- Entrusted book: After 35 years of assisting churches navigate issues related to their facilities, Tim Cool has compiled an initial guide for any and every church to become the best steward of what has been ENTRUSTED to them.
- The 7 A's of Facility Stewardship
- Deferred Maintenance Explained for Facility Stewards