The National Association of Church Facility Managers (NACFM)
An organization dedicated to the growth and development of today's church facility manager
As published in Worship Facilities, Apr/May 2005
The National Association of Church Facility Managers (NACFM) offers facility managers knowledge and fringe benefits of camaraderie.
While the main responsibilities of the facility manager have long been maintenance and upkeep of the church, the manager must now also keep abreast of many new technologies. Today Hooker, the director of properties and services for Park Cities Baptist Church located in Dallas, Texas, says he deals with at least 75 contractors in his church alone.
Ten years ago, Vanoy Hooker, had the realization that his
small neighborhood church shared many of the attributes of a small business and therefore needed management. He tried to connect with other church facility managers for knowledge and support, but found there was no one place he could go for information or go to network with others in his same position. That's when he founded the National Association of Church Facilities Managers (NACFM).
As NACFM's executive director, Hooker spoke with Worship Facilities Magazine to talk about the organization's origins and how national meetings and certification programs are helping facility managers stay on top of technology and management solutions.
WFM: When you started up NACFM in 1995, how many members were there, and how many do you have today?
Hooker: In 1995, there were nineteen charter members. Today, we have 300 members. That number is striking when you realize that in order for a church to have a fulltime facilities manager the church is likely to be 90,000 square-feet or larger. However, any new testament church in the United States can join NACFM.
WFM: Aside from size, are there any other guidelines churches should use for hiring a fulltime facilities manager?
Hooker: Whether or not a church needs a fulltime facilities manager is specific to church needs. There can be two 70,000-square-foot facilities. One could have a kitchen, a daycare center, food service and a gym. They would likely need a facilities manager. A church down the road that is the same size, but doesn't have all that activity might not.
WFM: Networking seems to have been the primary purpose in starting the association. Has that changed?
Hooker: Originally, the purpose was to have a national conference once a year for networking. But, I knew in the back of my mind that once we got large enough we'd start having a certification program. Somewhere around the year 2000, our membership was large enough to start having that one-week certification program. We now have one in May and another one-week program in October.
WFM: What kinds of classes do you offer, and how did you come up with the programs?
Hooker: I came from an engineering background and geared the courses to that. I set up all of the courses for both certification programs with the purpose of making a facility manager more well-rounded. I heard many of the same questions over and over in various subject areas including air conditioning, architecture and energy management. We decided to bring in professionals to teach the same course year after year. Some of the courses include: "what you should know when working with a general contractor," taught by NACDB's [National Association of Church Design Builders] Greg Barron; "energy management systems" taught by Johnson Controls' Chris Ducas; and "cooling towers" taught by Baltimore Air Coil's Greg Henderson. Those are just a few. For certification, members must attend all nine workshops.
Also part of the certification is for each facility manager to write a 10-page paper related to something in facility management that can be shared with any other member in the organization. Titles of some of the papers include "Selecting an Air Conditioning System for Your Church"; "Is A New Church Building/Addition in your Future?"; and "Roof Analysis Report".
WFM: When and where is your next certification week?
Hooker: For 2005, it's May 9-13. It will be hosted by the United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The cost is $475
WFM: Can you offer a specific example as to how the association has helped a facility manager in need?
Hooker: I had a guy call me the other day and say, "I'm getting ready to go to a meeting and I need to find out some information about re-carpeting a whole church over a summer." I sent an inquiry to the membership. He got back 27 e-mails, printed them out, stapled them together and went to the meeting with these handouts, and said here are 27 churches from all over the United States. that have done what we are proposing to do. It was impressive. If you join the organization, the more involved you are, the more you are going to get out of it. If somebody sends an e-mail and you have an answer, then answer it. You never know when you'll need some information.
WFM: How are you getting the word out about NACFM?
Hooker: We do very little advertising. It's by word of mouth mostly; members having experiences like the one I just mentioned.
WFM: How do you join?
Hooker: Contact me on the web at www.nacfm.org, or call (800) 738-4345. I will send you an application. To join, it's $150 per year. As soon as we receive your application, Jim Boyd, vice president of communications, will contact you with a password and a pin. Ken Meines, vice president of education, is in charge of the thesis paper and will be contacting you to tell you about the certification program.
WFM: Are there regional meetings? How many national meetings are there a year?
Hooker: We have ten regions and regional directors. Their job is to contact churches inside their region and see if they want to join the organization. If there are enough interested church members in one place, then we would have them start a local chapter.
Chapter meetings can be held as often as the group wants to do them. We only have one national meeting which takes place the third week in June. In 2005 it will be in Jacksonhole, Wyoming, June 19-23. It is being hosted by St. John's Episcopal Church Next year, the meeting will be in Boston, Massachusetts. We vote on sites at the national meeting about three years in advance.
National Association of Church Facility Managers URL: [http://www.nacfm.org]