How to Utilize the Power of Story on Your Church’s Campus Facility

Over the past several years we have become acutely aware of the essence of “story.” We hear this term used in the church world and in business settings.   It has been used to prompt people to open up about their lives and life experiences… to tell their story. On a corporate level it is the interwoven thread used to identify the mission, vision, direction, and passion of organizations.

The reality is, we all have a story.   Some of these stories are sensational while others may seem mundane or routine. Others grip our emotions and pull on our heartstrings while transforming us into the story.   What has struck me lately is that everyone has a story to tell and that people are reading— taking in— those stories even when we are not aware.

We do not have to write a screenplay or book to tell our story. When we walk into a room full of people, you will start to read certain aspects of people’s stories, and they will start to read yours as well. They might not see the entire story, but they will see some pretty obvious chapters in that story.   The way you enter the room will tell the chapter of your story related to your self-confidence or possibly your physical attributes or limitations. The way you shake the hands of the other guests will convey yet another part of the story, as will the clothes you are wearing… and you may not have even said a word. In addition, the room itself tells a story.

Did you know that your church campus tells a story? Why Church Buildings Matter: The Story of Your Space offers a unique perspective on the importance of church buildings. These buildings are vastly more important than most understand. The church campus and the story of the people in the church go hand-in-hand and are interwoven into each other. We cannot neglect the power of story and how our church facilities communicate a story.

Church facilities and all of the things associated with “story” and “setting” will not save a person from a life of sin and frustration. But the lack of attention to these things can indeed be the road block to reaching those people that need   to hear the gospel message the most. Don’t minimize their impact. That would be a huge mistake.   “Story” is all around us, in virtually every aspect of our daily experiences, which means that our church and ministry facilities also tell a story. Here are a few important questions to ask about  your church facilities:

  • What story are your facilities or campus telling?
  • Are we intentional about the telling our story through our facilities?
  • Is the story congruent with who we are, who we think we are, what we believe and value, and who we want to reach for Christ?

Why Church Buildings Matter explores each of these areas in more detail. I believe as we become more acutely aware of the impact of our ministries’ unique stories, and how they impact our guests and the people God has called us to reach in our community, the greater the impact we will have on fulfilling our calling.

Get Tim’s book here.

Why Church Buildings Matter

Read more from Tim here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Magic of Place – Even When It’s Not Your Place

Does the theology of “storytelling” with a church’s facility apply to multisite campuses and church plants, especially if it is not your “place”? Does it matter that we don’t create a sense of place? Is it worth the mental, emotional, physical and financial investment to communicate your unique story?

Answer: Yes

Why does it matter? Because people matter, and your multisite or church plant is there to reach your community and people.

I believe it is obvious, that if you have an owned  facility or a long term lease the options that avail themselves to you for communicating your story are vast.  You can impact the exterior elevation (in most cases) and the interior environments.  You can theme the rooms, change colors, add lighting and all the elements to communicate your story that these kinds of facilities present.

But what if you are in a school, community center, performing arts center, YMCA or any other facility that you rent and only have access to one day a week…and only for a few hours?  Are you stuck with what they give you?  Do you have to settle with the decor, features, and storytelling of that facility?  Are you relegated to compromising on every aspect of the environment and sense of place?

Answer: No

Let’s think about all of the different ways that you can impact the first impression of your guest as you tell your story.  These are going to look very familiar to the components we have been exploring for owned facilities:

1. Website – As we have discussed, your website is the new Front Porch. Work it.  Make it relevant and contextual to your target market.

2. Street-Scape – Just because you cannot change the facade of the high school you are renting, does not mean that you should neglect the sense of arrival. If you owned the facility you could greatly impact the 7 day-a-week view for passer-bys. But just because you only have the facility 1 day of the week does not mean that you should just settle for what the existing built environment communicates.  Add banners.  Install temporary signs. Add bright colors that catch people’s attention. Use digital effects. Line the street with people in matching t-shirts. Make a visual statement. Don’t squander this opportunity to catch the attention of the community and suck them in.  They may not pull in the parking lot the first time they drive by…but if you are consistent and relevant to them, they are more likely to become your guest.

3. Parking ministryDo Parking Right: It does not matter if you own the parking lot or are just renting, you can impact guests by how their first impression, once on the parking lot, is handled.  The interaction, prayer and safety elements can make or break the experience of every guest.  Remember, you only have 7 seconds to make that first impression.

4. Which way do I go? Make it obvious.  Use all of the senses to lead your guests to the entrances you want them to use.  There should be visual clues at a minimum, but why not use auditory and interpersonal clues?

5. Write your scripts – Develop and use scripts that depict the experience you want every guest to realize.  This is a great way to set expectations for your volunteers/ambassadors and to train them as you continue to grow and expand your teams.

6. Environmental Experience – This is where intentionality and creativity may be required the most. How do we make a school entrance feel like a warm, cool and inviting lobby where people want to hangout and share life together?  How do we make the kids spaces feel fun and secure?  How do we downplay the institutional feel of the typical school facility?  As you develop your plan, think about the mediums that communicate your culture and vision, then figure out how to make them portable.  Maybe it is TV monitors that are mounted to truss material that can be stored in a travel case and pulled out on Sunday?  It may be banners, a portable expresso machine, comfy couches, area rugs, banners, static applied graphics, etc, etc, etc. It may also mean being a “partner” with your landlord and offering to invest in their facility to improve the environment…like re-carpeting, painting, adding a killer sound system that they benefit from and so many other ways.  I am not trying to give you an exhaustive list, but rather trying to stretch your thinking.  Don’t just think outside the box…ask WHAT BOX?

7. Personal Interactions – Nothing overcomes a less than perfect built environment like engaging personal interactions. There are many obvious human touch points that will impact your guests.  We talked about some when we discussed the parking lot ministry and how incredibly important it is with establishing that first impression. The greeters are the next obvious touch point.  Are they warm, welcoming, engaging, not too overbearing, informative, etc.  Are they there only to hand out the “bulletin” or worship guide or are they to impact people? Don’t forget to write a script for this area of your ministry just like we did for the first time guest with kids or the parking lot team. Determine what defines a WIN for that group of ambassadors of your story. They are not just greeters or the only people you could find to do that “job”…they are the initial face of your story…they are ambassadors and ministers in their own right.

Don’t succumb to the trap of mediocrity just because you rent a school or other facility.  Expend the same intentionality (if not more) that you would if you owned a facility or were getting ready to build from the ground up.

Don’t settle…your guests are counting on you.

Read more from Tim here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Using the Physical Attributes of Your Campus to Intentionally Communicate Your Story

“I ask all of our first time guests why they decided to come to our church and 90% of them said they were driving by and were intrigued by our site and our new building, and that is all thanks to the creativity of Visioneering Studios.”

David Garison, Lead Pastor,  Northside Christian Church, Spring, Texas

Northside Christian

If you were driving down a road in your town and saw the above building, would you be intrigued?  Would you want to check it out? As you look at that picture, who do you think this building meant to attract?  Who was the primary target to get sucked in by the design and amenities?

If you said MEN…then you would be correct. But not just any man, a mid “thirty something” man.  And why would a church focus on that age group and gender?  It is actually pretty simple for the leadership at Northside Christian.

They believe that if they can attract men in their mid thirties, they will likely bring their wife and 3 +/- children as well. In most cases, it is easier to engage the entire family if the husband/father is leading the charge and is compelled to attend. For most men, there is too much talk about love (especially loving another man….YUK), surrender, “feeling” and a whole host of other words and songs that are just not appealing.

So what did this church decided to do?  They were intentional about communicating a story and message to the target they wanted to attract.  They made the conscious decision to put “bait on the hook” as they fulfilled their calling to be fishers of men.  The attractional elements of the physical campus was intended to be appealing to those they were trying to reach just like the worm, minnow or lure are on a fishing hook.  If you going fishing for bass, you would not leave the bait at home.  Yes, it is possible to catch a fish on a bare hook…but it less likely and it is much harder and far less rewarding.  So why do we think it is wrong to put “bait” on the hook when we are fishing for souls? Given some recent responses to my other posts on “story”, I am sure some of  you are saying “But the Holy Spirit is the only thing we need…he will draw them in…why should we try to manipulate.” While I am in complete agreement that the Holy Spirit will move in a persons heart to take action, God  also gave us eyes…ears…noses…and other sensory attributes that he uses to influence us.

For this church, they decided to use several types of bait…here are a few examples:

1. The overall design is that of a lodge or “man cave”.  It is very masculine and appealing to a man. It makes me want to go hang out, how about you?

Norhtside 1

2. The materials are “manly”.  From the stone to the exposed wood grains to the exposed metal to the car license plates used to clad a section of the facility (above pic), the materials scream MAN!  Women are generally drawn in by color…but men are attracted to materials.

3. They took the “bait on the hook” concept and developed a fishing hole in front of the building that is open to the public…that they actually stock with fish.  Again, the idea is that a mid-30 year old man with 3 kids would bring the kids to the fishing hole (i.e. a WELL…see this post for more on that concept) even if they have never gone to the “church”…or what we might refer to as the Temple experience.

Northside 2

4. Amenities…besides the fishing hole, this church has been deliberate in the location of their exterior public spaces.  Even if you are not interested in fishing, but looking for a place to site outside by a gentle waterfall to read or you have those 3 young kids and need to get them out from under mom’s feet and blow out some pent up energy, this campus shouts…COME HERE.  The playground is open to the public and the outside sitting areas and tables are inviting to anybody just looking for a place to hang and do life with others. In addition, they were judiciously placed on the front side of the campus so they are visible to people passing by…more bait!

Visioneering has just finished Phase II for this church and the new kids space continues this theme and attractional relationship with their community. You can see why “Your Kids Won’t Want to Leave”, on the blog by Jody Forehand….which is another form of “bait”.

Are you ready to go fishing for your community?   Is your church more interested in “cleaning” fish or catching them?  If it is the later, make sure you have the right bait.

Read more from Tim here.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Ron Furgerson — 06/12/13 12:07 pm

This definitely qualifies as a "Cool" article. Thanks. <

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What Shape is Your “Front Porch” In?

If you lived around the turn of the century until the 1950′s, the front porch of the homes, the general store and local business was a vital part of culture.

If you wanted to know what was happening in your community, especially your immediate 5 minute walk, you could sit out on a front porch and see and hear what was going on.  My grandparents lived in an old house in Canton, Ohio with a front porch.  I can remember as a boy sitting out there and watching the neighbors interact…watching the “social media” of the day in full action.  My grandfather used to take me on a 3-4 minute walk up Second Street to the general store that also had a front porch that was occupied by people connecting, sharing life and sharing experiences.  I also remember watching the Any Griffith Show and seeing how the gents used to sit out front of Floyd’s Barbershop talking to the passerby’s and getting caught up on the local news (or gossip).  If a new person or business came to town and you wanted to know more about it/them, you could hang out with these boys and get the skinny.

The front porch was a primary means of gathering information.  It is also the place that a “first impression” of something or someone might be developed. If the boys in the rockers said that the new hardware store was a great new addition to the community, your first impression would be positive.  The converse would also be true. If you wanted to know what was going on at the local church, you could hear the latest by hanging out on the front porch.  Or you would ask your neighbor as you swung on your front porch swing and they played catch with their kids in the street or front yard.

So what about in today’s culture? I would suggest that in 2013 (as in the previous 5-10 years), the new front porch is the internet, websites, social media and the like. While the traditional “front porch” has been decimated by zoning laws, busy-ness and our desire to hibernate/escape society in our suburban settings (which is where I live as well), we have turned to other means and methods to gain the information that we desire.

Like it our not, the new “first impression” of your church may have little or nothing to do with your facility, preaching, music,  friendliness,  denominational affiliation or any of the other things we think attract guests.  In fact, more times than not, a first time guest (not visitor) is going to check you out on the web before darkening your doors.  They will check out your website.  They may Google the church and see if there are any reviews or good/bad press about the church. What if they get to your site and there is a picture of Brittany Spears? If you can capture their attention…which is usually less than 1 minute…they may even check out a sermon or podcast.  From that initial experience, they will make a determination if they want to physically come and check you out.  If your website and other internet interactions do not tell a story that impacts their interest, they will be moving on to the next website.  Period.

I know that many of you are thinking, “How shallow.” Really?!?!?  You think that? When was the last time you were looking for a good place to have dinner and you searched the internet before leaving your house or office?  Did you open a website to be unimpressed by the “presentation” and representation of the establishment, so you moved on to another?  I know I have…and I have missed out on some great dinning experiences because the website turned me off. Whether we like to admit it or not, first time guests…especially a non-believer, is a consumer.  They are “shopping” for an experience and that experience starts on the web.  I know many “churched” people don’t like to think in these terms, but thats reality…deal with it (in Jesus name).  Just like you “shop” on line for a restaurant that meets YOUR needs and expectations, people are doing the same thing with church.

I was recently talking to Peter McGowan with PlainJoe Studios about this topic. He said the biggest factor for churches is being intentional about who you’re trying to reach.  For example, making a church style website with tabs like “ministries,” “service times” and “current series” will generally just appeal to your standard church audience.  The key is to really think through who you’re speaking to and trying to reach.  Is the site for your existing attendees?  Seekers who have never had a church experience?  Seekers who have walked away from church after being raised in a religious household?

Peter mentioned the Granger Community Church site as a great example of a church that’s moved their web site away from the traditional model in order to speak to people that are looking for more than the typical church experience (i.e. their target market).

Over the next several weeks we are going to talk more about the “story” your church facility tells.  ”Story” is a huge part of our interaction with people and having a congruent story about or churches starts not at the front door, but at your new “Front Porch”. How inviting is your front porch?

Read more from Tim here.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Communication >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Well Diggers vs. Temple Builders

We are well diggers instead of temple builders” is a phrase I heard for the first time from Mel McGowan, president of Visioneering Studios.  The first time I heard it, I needed to have it explained….but once it was, it really resonated with me.

The concept is fairly simple and yet profound.  It is based on the John 4 passage about the Samaritan woman at the well. Most of us that have been around “church” for any length of time, know this story.  We know that Jesus goes to a well in the middle of the day and meets a women with a sorted past and shares life with her by getting a drink of H2O….physical water, and then offers and provides living water…a relationship with Jesus.  I have heard dozens of sermon applications about this story and I am sure you have as well. So how does it apply to church facility development?  This is where it really gets cool.

The concept is that we need to look for opportunities to develop “wells” on our campuses and within our communities and not just temples.  The well is representative of several attributes that I believe the church, as a whole, has not done a great job in providing to our communities.  We have been notorious in building temples…you know, buildings that are used one or two days a week.  Places that people in our community believe you have to act, look and smell a certain way to enter. A place with too many “thou shalt not”  rules, whether  they are real or perceived.

A well on the other hand is a part of the community.  It represents a place that was/is a vital part of  that culture.  People came there 7 days a week to get water…but also to see their neighbor, get caught up on what was going on in each others lives, share concerns and sometimes just hang.  They would do life together.  Not just on the weekend…but every day.

The well was “common place”. It was not a top-of-mind place that the community folk would think of when contemplating a place to “meet God.”  And yet, that is exactly what happened.  This common place become a destination were God meet a women in need of a savior…even though that is not what she was looking for that morning as she heading out to gather water.  They shared conversation.  Shared a drink of water.  Talked about the past, the present and what the future could be.  All of this happened in an environment that felt “common” to the women…just the normal place she went every day…but this was an intentional encounter by Jesus.  He knew he was going to have this encounter.  He used the common place for the extraordinary. Verse 4 of this passage tells us that Jesus “had to go through Samaria”. The fact is, from a physical perspective, there were other routes he could have taken to get to Galilee. But he was intentional about going to Samaria…to have this encounter…to change a life.

But the story of the well did not end there. In vs. 28  it says, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  They came out of the town and made their way toward him.” The story continued…and the well was a drawing point for other people to come and hear from Jesus.  The women went and hold her neighbors that there was something cool happening at the well and that they needed to come check it out…and they did.  Do you not get excited to see how one “common place” experience…over a glass of water…in a non-temple setting, lead to life change for not only a woman, but for others in her community.

As you think about your church facilities and campus, think about what “wells” you are providing your community for these kinds of encounters and then be intentional to open yourself up to meet people to do life and start a conversation that could change the world.

Read more from Tim here.

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Environments >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Tony — 01/24/13 3:55 pm

Fascinating perspective. I like putting this metaphor to use. More and more I am talking to churches in the midst of campus development and they really want to build something that can be used by the community, like sports fields, meeting places, CrossFit workout areas, etc. I think this really sums up the concept well (pun intended).

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Is Church Design and Construction Just a Commodity?

“We have a local builder that builds warehouses, how different can that be to a church?”

“We want a ministry space specialist to help us plan and design our new facility, but any contractor can build it.”

” We are going to bid it out and just take the lowest price.  All contractors and architects do the same thing.”

These are all comments that I have heard over the years.  I understand how people formulate these perceptions….but I am convinced they are flawed.  As a rule, the construction industry is seen as a commodity…and that is a shame as the best projects (quality construction, relationship, scope, value/cost) are almost always done in a collaborative environment with experts in their fields.

Let me ask you some questions:

1. If you are having an issue with your heart, are you going to rely on your Family Physician to be responsible for all of your care? They’re all doctors…Right?

2. If you drive a high performance European car, are you going to get it serviced by the corner gas station that usually only works on Fords? It’s just a car…Right?

3. When you need a professional audio/video/lighting package, do you call your local music store to get your HD cameras and to “fly” your subs? Aren’t we just getting some microphones and speakers?

You get my point…the answer, most of the time, to the above is NO…we call an expert in their field.  OK…but isn’t any doctor an expert in all things medical?  Why would you want a cardiologist vs. a general internist to care for your heart?  Why do churches call WAVE and other similar firms when they need the best AVL systems to meet their ministry objectives.  Why would you hire Plain Joe Studios to develop your branding, way-finding and environmental graphics? Same answer.  And we could go on and on and on.

So, why do we think the local commercial architectural design firm or the local general contractor that builds houses, retail and warehouses is the best choice for our church development project?  Where does the above logic go “off the reservation” of hiring an expert? Do we really think that all designers, architects and builders/developers are created equal?

Let me take it even one step further.  You might have a local cardiologist who is “pretty good” at what they do. They may do several procedures a year and have a good reputation.  But when you have an important situation…or are not sure your local resources can meet your goals and desires, you would most likely go to John Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic or you would go straight to the number one rated hospital for Cardiology & Heart Surgery which is the Cleveland Clinic (according to U.S. News).

Seems like a an interesting dichotomy.  But I assure you….not all designers, builders, developers, AVL designers, car mechanics or doctors are created equal…nor do they all have the same expertise, specialization and experience.  So get the RIGHT EXPERT to meet your needs…don’t settle and don’t look at them as a commodity, unless you only want a commodity product/service.

More about Tim Cool here or visit his website here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Cool

Tim Cool

Tim Cool is the Founder and Chief Solutions Officer of Cool Solutions Group, a company leading organizations to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. Tim has assisted nearly 400 churches over the past 28 years, throughout the United States, with their facility’s needs. Tim has been married to his best friend, Lisa, for 29 years and resides in Charlotte, NC with their 17-year-old triplets. They are active members at Elevation Church.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

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