We have all heard the phrase - "In the Long Run." Leaders use it regularly to cast vision for what is potentially in the future as well as to muster up encouragement for their team to continue to being intentional with the tasks at hand. Wikipedia defines it as "over or after a long period of time; eventually." There have been songs written with that title and lyrics.  There have been television shows and movies titles with these words.  It is common...But do we really grasp the implication and requirements to accomplish something "In the Long Run?"

In a blog by Seth Godin, he writes:

I hope we can all agree that the long run is made up of a bunch of short runs.
That seems obvious.
The surprising thing is that we live our short runs as if that isn’t true.

That may seem really obvious to you as you read that...but there is some very poignant realities that I fear many of us don't grasp...especially as it relates to Facility Stewardship.

We have been the evangelists of the concept of Facility Stewardship for nearly 12 years. This is not some quip saying or marketing ploy.  This is reality (See our free eBook). We have written, spoken, and thumped the pulpit on what a church should be saving for capital reserves, and driven home the point what they should be investing in general maintenance, janitorial and utilities.

I understand that much of the things we have been trying to communicate can feel unattainable and overwhelming.  That is true...if you only look at the end of the journey.  But to accomplish any of the principles we promote...And deeply believe in, you have to start somewhere...With "small runs."  Here are some examples of short runs:

  1. You may not have adequate Capital Reserves for the inevitable costs of capital replacement.  You are not alone.  While we recommend $1-3/square foot annually set-aside funds, you may need to start with $.25...then increase over time.
  2. Use our Life Cycle Calculator to start tracking the items in your facility that are at the greatest risk of failure or replacement.
  3. Your church may not have adequate staffing for facility operations.  We get it...But how can you assist your team to be more efficient by automating tasks that can be automated to free up your team to do what only they can do?
  4. You might need to solicit more volunteers to help until the church can sustain more staff.
  5. Are you spending too much on utilities?  If you spend more than $1.25/SF, you have room for improvement.
  6. Do you know how much deferred maintenance you have?  If not, you are on a slipper slope that can lead to serious issues in the....you got it...the LONG RUN!!!
  7. How does your Facility Operations budget, means and methods compare to other churches?  If you don't know, you really need to check out this new REPORT.

We could go on all day...but you get the point.  These "short run" tasks and consideration will compound over time...to the LONG RUN! And let's be honest, as the Church...Are we not in this for the long run?

The first step to addressing the LONG RUN and short term issues is to face reality. Without a real and concise understanding of the current condition and operational standards of your church facility, there is little to no way to make changes and adjustments that will prepare you for...The long run.