deferred maintenance can ruin your first impression

Table of Contents


Over time, deferred maintenance begins to leave its mark. What do you think your guests think when they arrive at your parking lot, walk toward the building, and step inside the facility? Will guests want to return? Will they be confident their children will be in a safe, clean space?

Being wise facility stewards of the resources entrusted to us is important. However, I want to challenge you to remember that nothing we do is ever simply about us; second, everything we do or do not do has eternal consequences. First impressions are essential. Studies have even shown people often make up their minds to attend or return to a church based on what they see. 

Deferred Maintenance Costs More Than Just Money

For example, this past spring, I was driving with the family after church to meet friends for an Easter afternoon lunch. We passed a church that had put an Easter message on their roadside sign with attached balloons to draw attention to the sign. But the weeds were so high you could barely read it, and the parking lot hadn’t been cleaned in months. The message of their sign was incongruent with the look of their property.

 For those of us who attend church regularly, we tend to overlook the visible issues. However, what about the first-time guest who may be making a church-home decision? Do you think they will notice the duct tape patching the carpet in the foyer? Will they see the cracks in our parking lot and sidewalks or the pond that forms on rainy days? 

In his book First Impressions, Mark Waltz, former Pastor of Connection at Granger Community Church in Granger, Ind., addresses what it may be like to be a guest in our churches and how the first impression may not always be the best. In addition, the first impression may be the only chance we have to impact their lives. 

He writes: “When your guests are distracted from the real purpose of their visit to your church, you’ll have a difficult time re-engaging them. In order for people to see Jesus, potential distractions must be identified and eliminated.” 

Have you ever considered that the condition of your buildings could affect your ability to engage and minister to people? You may be thinking, “The gospel is compelling enough, the buildings are only a tool, and we need to focus more on delivering the gospel message than worrying about our buildings.” Whether we like to admit it or not, first-time guests will consider all elements of their experience at your church, including the facilities. I am not suggesting the gospel is not compelling. But, closing a blind eye to the overall experience and impact of your facilities is just foolish. 

Conclusion: First Impressions Matter

We live in a consumer-minded world, whether we like it or not, and many—if not all—of your guests will determine their experiences upon first impression. If you need a second set of eyes to evaluate your facility and avoid deferred maintenance issues, don’t wait any longer. Contact our team today; we will give you an idea of what getting back on track will look like with our Facility Condition Assessment.

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.