I am continually amazed at how some churches have an identity crises related to technology and all the facets of the ministry.
Let me ask you some questions to show you what I mean:
1) How many of you listened to an 8-track player in your car on the way to work?
2) Does your church still use a leather bound ledger to track membership and attendance?
3) Do your financial teams use an abacus to count the weekly tithes and offerings?
4) How many of your media teams use a slide projector to project your worship songs and sermon notes?
5) How many of you have an IBM PC Jr. on your desk or still use a “bag-phone”?
If you are reading this blog, then my guess is that none of the above apply. Most of you serve in churches that use Church Management Software (ChMS) systems to track membership, attendance, kids check-in, online giving, volunteer teams and even missions initiatives. I would venture to say that the large preponderance of your media teams are using digital media coupled with LED technology and more wireless options than we could have imaged 20 years ago.
The adoption and implementation of these types of technologies are now the norm and not the extreme. And for the most part, the size of the congregation has little to do with these technologies being incorporated into the everyday life of the church and its staff. Heck, think about how so many of us even read our Bibles. I am so thank to Life Church for developing YouVersion. I use this app on my phone and tablet and actually get frustrated when I attend another church that does not have good Wi-Fi in the worship center so I can access my choice in Bible (that is a hint to all you IT directors).
But what are we doing to incorporate current technology to our facilities?
More often than not, our facilities are considered the “means to an end” or as a necessary evil, and our facility managers are the red-headed stepchildren. I am not sure we sit in our staff meetings and specifically say those words or even think them consciously; but, if you were to travel with me for a week, you would see that most churches’ actions speak louder than their words.
Getting back to my “identity crisis” statement above, here are six questions to ask yourself that just might challenge your technical know-how:
1) Do you use a cloud-based room / event scheduling software? The world is moving to the cloud — are you there?
2) Do you have a way to control your HVAC systems remotely? Or better yet, do they interface with you room / event scheduling software?
3) Have you incorporated elements like occupancy sensors on lights, auto flush plumbing fixtures, building automation and other such features?
4) Have you replaced old-technology lighting with new CFL or LED?
5) How does your facility team track and process work orders and service requests? If they’re using a paper log or e-mail requests, you might as well ask your accountants to use the abacus.
6) Do your facility teams use tablets to process their daily tasks?
Here is my point: Next to your staffing budget, your facility-related costs are the second largest expenditure.
So, 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.
What’s your next step to develop a proactive facility stewardship approach?
Tim Cool is project executive at Visioneering Studios in Charlotte, NC, and founder of Cool Solutions Group. Since 1986, Cool has served the church community in the areas of construction, facility planning and facility management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This blog originally appeared on his blog, “Cool Conversations Live.” This blog was originally posted on Church Tech Today.