Worship services. Discipleship classes. Youth events. Kids' ministries. Sports' ministries. Biblical counseling. The list of events that churches host in their respective facilities continues to grow, and it makes for a jam-packed facility schedule. Many churches today have their doors open seven days a week. Of course this is a great thing. Anytime discipleship and evangelism can happen outside of the normal Sunday service, then greater numbers of people can be exposed to the love of Christ and His ability to change us.
The question is, how can a worship facility adequately manage all of these events while at the same time be given the care and maintenance it needs to continue to be as useful as possible? Like so many other areas of life, the answer is to have proper planning. Worship facility management is no different than any other type of building management. There are some deviations, but all in all they are very similar. One deviation, for example, is that volunteers may take on the duties that paid staff normally takes in building management. Also, the uses for the worship facility will no doubt point to a higher purpose then the uses for other buildings, but overall the two types of management are very much alike.
Because of this striking similarity, church leadership can seek out models of how other organizations manage their facilities, worship-based or otherwise, and they can be confident for the most part that what has worked for these organizations should work for the church as well. Organizations like the YMCA, the American Legion and the Lions Club are great examples of proper facility management. Even local park districts, schools and public libraries offer excellent models of how to maintain a facility and maximize its use. If you need help developing a game plan for your facility, any one of these organizations would be a good place to look.
Aside from borrowing insight from other churches and organizations on how they manage their facilities, it is safe to say that the implementation of some general principles will go a long way in making your church facilities as useful as possible. It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the most important tools you can use as a worship facility manager is an event calendar. Simply put, if an event is not scheduled some place, the chances are great that double booking can take place or that proper cleaning and maintenance cannot happen at the proper time. A common rule of thumb that many churches use is that if an event it not on the calendar, then it cannot go on. This may seem cruel, but it is the only fair way to ensure that ministries using the proper channels are given the space that they requested. Electronic calendars are great tools to communicate the facility schedule to both staff and congregation. There are many web-based calendars to provide access to anyone, anywhere.
Nearly as important as an event calendar is a cleaning schedule. No one wants to worship in a filthy, dirty building. Also, a dirty facility can have a negative impression on visitors that might otherwise like the church. As much as possible, the cleaning schedule should be as regular as possible, but you never want cleaning to get in the way of ministry. At minimum, the cleaning schedule should include a time every week that basic cleaning will be done and by whom. To solve the problem of cleaning getting in the way of ministry, some churches even hire after hours cleaning services or enlist the help of some very dedicated volunteers to clean the church late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It is also important to schedule regular deep cleanings on a monthly or bi-monthly basis as you see fit.
An area that goes hand-in-hand with the cleaning of the facility is general maintenance. This area, as well, should have a written schedule detailing what needs to be done and when. A basic maintenance schedule would include various activities such as replacing furnace filters, changing light bulbs, landscaping etc. along with the frequency that these jobs need to be accomplished and when, throughout the calendar year, they are scheduled to be done.
Along with proper scheduling, facility management is most successful when you use all of the resources at your disposal to do it the right way. Church members are always looking for ways to get involved at their church. An excellent way to put them to work is through volunteer work days. You can use these service opportunities to perform grounds maintenance, paint, get spring cleaning taken care of, or do pretty much any task that would benefit from the help of a number of people.
With proper planning, scheduling and delegating, church leadership can ensure the maximum bang for their buck when it comes to their facilities. As church leaders sharing the Gospel of Christ, we have the market cornered on Truth. Through proper facility management, we can guarantee that there are ample opportunities for that Truth to be disseminated in an environment that is clean and comfortable.