With rare exception, church facilities are a tool that God has entrusted to us to steward. Part of stewarding is the utilization and use of these facilities. If your facility is only used on the weekend, then I would question the need to have a facility at all. If all you need is a place to meet on Saturday or Sunday, then why invest so many Kingdom resources to construction and maintain a physical structure?

Buildings were meant to be used. And as such, their use must be properly planned and coordinated. Have you ever shown up for a meeting, not just at your church facility, and learned that another group was also planning to meet in the same space? Awkward!

So, why should your church implement the use of facility and event scheduling software? What are the real benefits?  Won’t Google Calendar, Outlook or the endangered paper wall calendar suffice?

Here are five needs that facility and event scheduling software just might be able to remedy:

1) Who’s on first?

Do you remember the Abbott and Costello sketch? It is a classic and funny to hear and watch. But it is anything but humorous when you thought you had a room scheduled for your event with the right number of chairs and tables to only find out that the receptionist forgot to write it down on the calendar or added it to Google calendar but had no way to know it conflicted with another event. Don’t let this happen…scheduling software can eliminate these kind of conflicts.

2) Virtual systems 101.

Does anyone on your staff not use a computer or smart phone? How many staff and lay leaders work remotely full time or at least spend large amounts of time away from a physical office? The world has gone virtual. Even my staff is sprawled across five cities in several states. To be most effective, organizations need to implement collaborative tools…many that will be cloud based (i.e. virtual). Don’t limit the interaction of your team by continuing to use a scheduler that is bound to a single user or single computer/location.

3) One and done.

Business TalksOver the past seven years, I have witnessed so many churches who log their facility and event schedules at least two to three times. They first enter it in their event scheduler “system” (I use that would loosely as the “system” may be a paper calendar). Then they add a portion of the same data to a calendar on their website. Finally, they either enter the data into their Building Automation System (to control their HVAC) or they provide a print out to a facility staff member to run around like a chicken with their proverbial head cut off, frantically changing thermostats. That sounds so ineffective. Why not find a system that can do all three of those in one fell swoop?

4) Avoid the Chinese fire drill.

When you schedule an event and you reserve a space, is it like a Chinese Fire Drill to get all of the resources, people, approvals, etc. lined up for the event?  Do you have to call five other ministry leaders to verify that they can provide the resources and services that you require? I have been in that boat and it is so very frustrating. Wouldn’t be nice if you could schedule the event along with the physical space and ALL the needed resources and services at one time with automated notification and approval process from all the impacted ministry groups? This is very possible, so find the right solution.

5) Can you hear me know?

When you read those words, almost all of us will immediately relate to the man in the cell phone company commercials walking around the globe asking if you can hear him when he speaks. In today’s virtual world, we cannot afford to be “down” for any length of time. In light of that, you need to partner with a firm that will provide over the top support including talking to a real person on the phone. Customer Service and support are no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Make sure they can “hear you now.”

What is your church using to schedule your facilities?  Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.