By Tim Cool A while back, Gary Nicholson, a church architect formerly with LifeWay in Nashville, wrote a blog about 9 diseases of church facilities. Since that post, our researchers have determined that there are additional diseases that many church facilities — and those involved in church facility care and development — may suffer from. […]
If you have read my blog for long or follow me on social media, you know that I have 100% embraced the word (and its meaning) INTENTIONAL. We call our initial visioning session the “Intentional Workshop.” We have developed the “Intentional Church Series” manual, and I use the hashtag #intentional with most of my posts.
I believe in being intentional … deliberate … on purpose.
A few months ago, I was having a dialogue with Rich Birch of Liquid Church (and unSeminary) about one of his blogs: Is “Multisite Church” the Last Good Idea?
Rich asked me to add some commentary to his post, as we have shared in collaborating on other subject matter related to multisite church, including Birch’s contribution to Church Locality. The premise of the blog was whether or not multisite was the last good idea for church growth and multiplication, which spawned a lot of good conversations.
My comment to the blog supported multisite as a great tool for church multiplication, but I had a slightly different take. Here was my response.
What do we need to do at our churches to avoid this chasm in developing a great guest experience?
In the world of church facility construction, renovation and development, there are several integral roles and responsibilities that are required for every project. They might or might not be paid professionals for each role, but they are present and the responsibilities to the project are no less important. Here are the basics that virtually every project must have as part of the church’s team.
When I started my career in church facility development in 19XX (you venture a guess), the foyer/lobby/narthex (for my liturgical friends) was generally sized to be 1- to 2-square-feet per seat in the main worship space. In those days, this space was intended to be used as a place to funnel people from the worship space to the outside or down a series of narrow corridors that led to the education, administration or fellowship areas. There was often a small table for giving / tithing envelopes or general information, along with one or two uncomfortable high-back chairs … usually not ones you would enjoy sitting in for any length of time, nor were they arranged in a manner to encourage conversation or community.
For all practicality, the foyer was nothing more than a well-appointed cattle chute. (MOO)
Not any more.
For most of my professional career, I have been anti-performance and payment bond-oriented. To me, they seem like such a waste of money. In short, they’re just an insurance policy (although the Surety industry would say they are not “insurance” but rather a “guarantee” — semantics!) in the unlikely event the general contractor on a job is unable to complete the project (usually due to a bankruptcy or other major catastrophe related to the contractor). In theory, that sounds great. It almost feels like the proverbial “Get Out Of Jail” card. But is it really?
“Listening” online can be similar and yet very different from audible conversations. For years, we have been told that we need to listen twice as much as we talk since God gave us two ears and only one mouth. I have trained many consultants in the art of listening with their ears and eyes. Non-verbal communication is generally an even more telling indicator of emotion. That is why face-to-face communication is generally more productive than any other kind.
If you haven’t intentionally committed as much time in making it one of the most efficient and effective operational systems as you have developing your network and IT infrastructure, you have missed an incredible opportunity to impact the financial status of your church. Also, remember that your facilities will have one of (if not the longest) life cycle of any other component of your operational systems.
A litany of items must be explored and navigated by any church looking to acquire another facility. Be careful to not get too excited about the “deal” that you do not perform adequate due diligence. The time, energy and/or money invested will be worth every dime and minute.