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By having this post in your hands, you are already moving in the right direction. We are about to embark on a journey to help energize your ministry ... if you are willing. In the church facility management world, the easiest way to make mistakes is not to know where you should be focusing.

All too often, the facility steward moves from one "emergency" to another. The phrase "putting out fires" describes many workdays. This has got to stop. Not only is it inefficient and unintentional, but it also is not sustainable or healthy for the facility team. I propose that instead of "putting out fires" we learn the skills and processes that allow us to "clear the brush" and avoid the random destructive nature of recurrent flare-ups.

So, how do we do that? It starts with considering the necessary skills and requirements one needs to be aware of as a facility steward. Kind of a 101 class. It is hard to accomplish all you need to if you do not know all you need to do. Ignorance of safety and security concerns within the facility steward role is not excusable or defensible if something goes wrong. Learning the basics can help put in perspective all the areas you need to consider in accomplishing the mission. This allows you to develop ways to incorporate risk management, compliance, safety, and efficiency into all that you do. Done intentionally it does not add more to your already full day; it clarifies your focus.

Learning the broad skills is one thing. One part of the comprehensive skill set is cleaning. As a facility steward this area can have the most significant impact on the entire ministry. Here is the ugly truth... many organizations are not training their teams correctly or providing the right equipment to have a clean building. There is a science to cleaning, which implies that when you do not understand the science you are not accomplishing what you think you are. Too often we hear terms like sanitized, disinfected, clean used interchangeably... they are not the same thing. I can have a clean building yet still be the epicenter of a viral outbreak. Fun times, right? The beauty is that learning the science behind cleaning and instilling a program that creates a clean and safe environment is straightforward and attainable. All it takes is a little time focused on the fundamentals.

Let's switch gears just a bit. Our ministries, our needs, our facilities are unique. If done correctly, our facility will be a positive enhancement to the "why" of the church and its ministries. If our facilities are intentional and connected to our unique DNA, comparing what one church has versus another can be futile. However, knowing how our facility performs and how we maintain it compared to similar operations of ours, well, that is a good thing. We are moving out of subjective data and into objective data. Objective data is one of the most powerful tools available to a facility steward. It is what it is. It does not demand you do anything; it merely informs you of where you are. Making positive improvements, well, that is up to you. Understanding some objective benchmarking standards concerning your facility is necessary to help identify potential areas of growth, and to help focus you on the areas that need it. To successfully understand and utilize benchmarking information, you need to know your facility and have comparative sample data. Do you have that data? Do you have a comparative sample set?

Finally, what about the future? Well, to be blunt, many church facilities lag in adopting the current building integration and automation opportunities. For many, the future is here. However, it would be a poor decision to adopt equipment and integrations just because they are available. A facility steward must know their facility and equipment to the level that allows them to select what makes sense now, and how to make the best future purchases to take advantage of what is out there. There also must be a willingness to learn about systems and how they operate. Service contracts and trusted service providers are great, but sometimes having a basic level of understanding of how a system integrates and what it does is a must.

We just threw a great deal out at you, and if you are feeling intrigued, or overwhelmed, take heart. Our team of Church Facility Specialists are here to help.  Together, we will focus on what is essential as a facility steward. Contact us HERE.

Tim Cool
Tim Cool is the founder of Smart Church Solutions, but more importantly, the husband to Lisa and father to 27 year old triplets. His passion is serving churches to be intentional with their facilities…and he loves hiking in the NC Mountains.