We are almost at the end of 2021 — you have almost made it. This year, we have covered a lot of topics on preventative maintenance, budgeting, owning a church facility, and more. 

As we head into 2022, we wanted to share some of our most popular blog posts among website visitors this year. Here are the top 10 blogs (pssst...there may be a few free downloads throughout as well).

(10) Top Church Facility Management Trends for 2021

“Over the past several weeks we have been asked how COVID-19 will impact our church facilities in 2021 and beyond. This is a great question, and our team has been developing thoughts on the matter. As we move into month two of 2021, I want to share several church facility management trends along with intentional tips.

Now, before I share these trends and tips, let me provide a few disclaimers: No one really knows all the answers because we have never been here before. There will likely be restrictions in how we use our church facilities, and we believe that it will be more determined by the local ministry and not a wide-sweeping national change. I am convinced the “gathered church” needs to meet. We need to be in community, and while micro churches and small groups are a critical component to the spiritual community, I believe corporate worship is still important and part of our North American church culture.

Things are going to change. In fact, I would guess we may see a number of ebbs and flows over the next 36 months. In short, we may be pivoting on a regular basis.”

(9) Church Facility Budgeting Part 1: Where to Start

“Where do you start when it comes to church facility budgeting? This question has risen to the top of many inquiries we receive at Smart Church Solutions. In fact, we asked the members of the Church Facility Management Solutions Facebook Group which topics members would like more information on. As you could guess, “budgeting” was the top result. 

A couple of years ago, we developed The 4 Buckets of Church Facility Budgeting. While this is a great tool, it may have been more of a 30,000-foot view of budgeting and not as granular as you may need. Therefore, over the next four weeks, we will be posting a series of blogs to provide specific steps and considerations when it comes to budgeting. While every situation is different, these steps will set you on the right path to handle all budgeting initiatives moving forward.” 

(8) Four Tips to Successful Facility Management

“You probably practice facility management regularly. What you may not realize, however, is what you are a facility manager of. For instance, if you are a homeowner, you are a facility manager of your house.  Some of us are facility managers by profession. Others steward facilities, such as a home, because it is our responsibility.

As I have studied facility management and stewardship, I have seen obvious patterns and traits among those who have facilities operating at peak levels and those who don’t. Specifically, there are four I believe to be a direct correlation to successful facility management.

Below are four tips for successful facility management and how you can be proactive:”

(7) New eBook: Church Facility Budgeting

“Where do you start when it comes to church facility budgeting? This question has risen to the top of many inquiries we receive at Smart Church Solutions. That's why we are releasing a new eBook to provide you with specific steps and considerations for church facility budgeting.”

(6) Facility Management Glossary of Terms

“Have you ever been part of a conversation with seasoned experts in their field, and you felt like they were speaking a foreign language? We see this a lot in the world of facility management and stewardship, especially for those new to this sector of the church world. Or for those with limited exposure, the terms that get tossed around by contractors, vendors, warranty manuals, blueprints, trade magazines, and textbooks can be confusing.

We feel your pain!

To that end, we have compiled a very detailed glossary of facility management terms. For some of you, this is going to feel silly and elementary. However, this will prove a useful tool to use as a reference guide for the rest of us. 

Fair warning: This is a huge list, so do not let it overwhelm you. Take it word-by-word.” 

(5) 4 Types of Church Facility Maintenance

“Maintenance can be defined, as it relates to property, facilities, and equipment:

‘The upkeep of property or equipment’ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Maintenance is what we do to keep our facilities and equipment functioning as intended use. It is the process of increasing the utility (i.e. use) of a building by regular servicing capital assets, major systems, equipment, and areas inside and outside a building. We all do it. If you own any property, facility, equipment, vehicle, etc., you do maintenance.

Having served the church facility world for nearly 35 years, I believe there are 4 types of maintenance that are prevalent or should be considered when developing an intentional Facility Stewardship plan. Some of these 4 maintenance types are proactive while others are reactive. Some will save you money and others are necessary to keep the facility in operation today. Of these 4 types, there are 2 that are a must for any intentional church facility steward and manager. One is yet to have become commonplace in churches (although, it will) and the 4th is one we should avoid.

Let’s dig in."

(4) 3 Key Principles from the Parable of Talents

“I have always loved the parable of the talents. I have heard numerous sermons, teachings, podcasts, and the like on the Matthew 25 passage.

As I was recently reading verse 14, there were several words and phrases that jumped off the page.

  1. Long trip
  2. Entrusted
  3. While he was gone

‘Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone.’ Matthew 25:14 NLT

Let me explain how these impacted me.”

(3) Registering to Attend Our Church Service...Really?

“If you ever attended a sporting event or concert, you likely paid for a ticket and in some cases obtained a reserved seat for that ticket. You may have even tried to obtain entrance to an event that was full and unable to get a ticket. In that case, you knew not to show up unless you hoped to find a “scalper” who would price gouge you in order for you to gain access.

In this post-COVID-19 reopening season we find ourselves in, we see several aspects that are going to impact the number of occupants we will be able to accommodate at any time. These include, but are limited to:

  • Limited seating due to physical distancing
  • Number of required services due to limited occupancy
  • Potential of multiple venues on the campus operating simultaneously…with limited seating in each”

(2) The “Real” Cost of Church Facility Ownership

“As you may know, I come from a background in planning and building ministry facilities. I have been blessed to invest over 30 years of serving churches to develop new and renovated ministry facilities. While this role has brought me much fulfillment, it has also burdened me to see the millions of dollars spent each year without a clear understanding of the real cost of ownership. 

I recently hosted a live webinar about the real cost of owning a church facility. In case you missed it, here are the cliff notes:”

(1) The Art of Preventative Maintenance

“Life happens: machines break, money can become tight, and unpredictable events can happen (hello, COVID-19 pandemic). The best way to cushion the blow of these outcomes (and keep your church operating) is to follow a preventative maintenance plan.”