Most of us probably have an annual checkup with our doctor.
This is an important part of staying healthy and catching potential health concerns early. Every year, my doctor orders bloodwork and conducts a full physical. He asks lots of questions and encourages me to engage in healthy activities such as exercise, healthy eating habits, and proper amounts of sleep and rest.
All of this is a way to maintain good health and to avoid bad health. The same should be true for our church facilities. An annual checkup or assessment is a great way to avoid potential problems and concerns and to make sure that the church facility or facilities are in good shape.
Church facilities and buildings are resources.
The church facilities and buildings are resources to help us in our work of reaching people with the gospel and helping them grow spiritually. We need to make sure that we give them proper attention in order to maintain them well. A simple, annual evaluation plan can help churches to not only save money but to discover problems and concerns before they become major expenses or hinder the work we are called to do. Facility check-ups are just good stewardship of our resources.
Your facilities send a message.
It’s also important to note that well-maintained facilities also communicate the right message to our members and guests who attend. They let people know that we take care of our physical resources, and that we will also take care of them. Annual checkups keep us from ignoring and overlooking problems and issues.
When I was growing up, the refrigerator in my family home made an odd and loud noise every time the compressor kicked on. Our family had become so used to the noise that we didn’t even notice it, but guests noticed it as soon as it started up. Annual checkups will help the church to keep from getting used to problems and issues that need to be addressed. Don’t let them be ignored to the point of not evening noticing them anymore.
So, how do you go about an annual facilities checkup? Here are a few suggestions:
- Schedule a facility/campus walk thru with staff and key leadership. Allow each individual to do a personal walk thru of the campus and to make notes of any problems or issues that they notice. Compile the notes and then create a plan of how you will address the issues discovered.
- Hire a secret visitor to come to church on a Sunday or at another time. Ask a friend or member of another church to come to your church on a Sunday or at another time and to walk around. The friend can give you feedback on your facilities and things they see that need to be addressed. They may notice missing ceiling tiles, broken light fixtures, and other things. Remember the refrigerator story? They will see (or hear) things that you, your staff ,and members have learned to ignore.
- Hire an expert. When you go to the doctor for a checkup, you are seeing an expert. Someone who is trained to see things that you do not. Consider hiring an expert who is trained to inspect buildings and to give you expert advice. Make sure to do your due diligence in finding the right person. Get references and check their credentials.
- Use a facility inspection check list. These types of lists are available from several sources, and offer you a guide to a physical facility evaluation, and also cover things like building records, hazardous substances, building codes, safety plans, fire and lightening prevention, safety plans, insurance and other items. Your church insurance company probably has one that is available on their website. Here are a few examples:
Our facilities are a significant financial investment, and we must be a good steward of them. This means taking care of them and evaluating and inspecting them regularly. They provide the place where much of our ministry and work is done, and how we take care of them will have a direct impact on our effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.