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Chemistry Conversations with Tim Cool [VIDEO]

| 2 min read

Written by Matt Steen
May 7, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Churches all over the world are strategizing about relaunching their services. In this session of Chemistry Conversations, Matt Steen, Co-Founder of Chemistry Staffing, discusses relaunch strategies with Tim Cool, the Chief Solutions Officer at Smart Church Solutions.


Don't forget to download your free Post-Coronavirus Facility Re-Opening Checklist.


Watch the conversation or view the transcript.  



Chemistry Staffing COVID-19 Resources ... 

Covid19 Resource ButtonCOVID-19 is causing all of us to have discussions that we never thought we'd be having. We're here to help you and your church during this time. Even if it's just to have a sympathetic ear to talk candidly and off the record about what might be next. Click here to find out more.


We'd love to hear thoughts about YOUR church's re-launch strategies and ideas (just email us at news@chemistrystaffing.com). As always, we are here for you, and we're praying for churches and teams all over the United States!




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Read the Full Transcript

Matt: Well hey I'm Matt Steen, the Co-Founder of Chemistry Staffing. Joining me today is Tim Cool. Tim is the Chief Solutions Officer at Smart Church Solutions. Tim, thanks for taking some time this morning to hang out with us.
Tim: My pleasure. It's not like I have any place to go, Matt.
Matt: I hear you. You can only mow your backyard once a day at most. Well hey, we're talking just real quick. Tim works with tons of churches across the country helping them think through facility issues and developed a great resource on what to be thinking about as churches go into reopenings. We'll share that down below here in the link. Tim, talk to us a little bit about how the churches you're working with are thinking through reopening their buildings. How should our churches be thinking through this?
Tim: Yeah, great questions Matt. Thanks for having me with you today. There's a couple of, I would say, big buckets of things that we're seeing churches do and we're encouraging churches. And as we start to come out of this, the first bucket will be waning some. But the first bucket is, what are the things that you wish you had time to do that you never had time to do that you should be doing right now? It's that extra deep cleaning. It's the steam cleaning and extracting all your carpet because you couldn't do it when everyone was in the building. Or getting caught up on all your deferred maintenance items. We have a Facebook group called "Church Facility Management Solutions" that we've got hundreds of people around the country on.
And just the ideas that that group has shared with each other has just been remarkable. We have one church in Detroit that actually bought one of those big blue mailboxes, like the public mailboxes. You can buy them. There's a couple of suppliers in the country. They painted it the color for their church, put it out at the side of their covered drop-off, and use it for donations. So people can just drive by and put their donations in it. So, again, seeing the creativity of churches through this period of time has been really kind of fascinating. We have one church say that they were upgrading all of their thermostats so that they would be ready for occupancy when it comes back in. That's the kind of stuff that people should have been doing for the last four or five, six weeks anyways, and we probably still have a few weeks left. And even as we get ready to reopen, it's not going to be a hold back the doors kind of thing. It's going to be a trickle. So it's not going to be a mass entrance by any stretch of the imagination.
Matt: Let me ask you something. The deferred maintenance thing I think is brilliant. When do we get the time to really be able to do some of that stuff, like carpet cleaning and all that. Some of the churches that we've been talking to are seeing their giving just being really strong through this season, but we're also seeing some that are struggling right now. So what are maybe one or two of those deferred maintenance things that are relatively inexpensive that can make a world of difference that people just don't typically think through?
Tim: Yeah, so anything that has the potential of water infiltration is a deferred maintenance thing that has long-term and big-dollar expenditures on it. Whether that's caulking windows, making sure that your weather stripping is in place, walking your roof if you have a flat roof looking for clogged drains and things like that. That's a big thing. The other thing is, is all your air conditioning filters up to date? That's a simple thing. Have you ever walked into a house or a cabin or some facility that's been boarded up for eight, ten, twelve weeks? What's the first thing you notice when you walk in?
Matt: Yeah it's the smell right?
Tim: Boom. And so while this isn't deferred maintenance, someone needs to go around and flush all the toilets, run all the sinks to make sure they're working. Some people will walk into a bathroom and it smells like someone had been there ahead of them. That's not the case particularly when the building's been shut for weeks. What it generally is, is your P-trap in your floor has dried out because you're not mopping the floor with water. And so that dries out. What water does in a P-trap is it blocks sewer gases. Well if the water is no longer there, the sewer gases come back up. So just take a cup of water and pour it down all of your floor drains. Again, that's a no-cost item. It just takes somebody a little bit of time to do it.
Matt: That's great, that's great. So let's ask the question about facilities and reopening and that kind of thing. Honesty we don't know when that's going to happen. Anybody that says they do are lying, but every church is starting to think through when the time comes what does that look like. So two questions. One, what are savvy church leaders thinking through as far as timeline goes and when to actually open? And not dates on calendars or anything like that, but just kind of principles. And then, what are some practical things that need to be done, say, the week before opening happens?
Tim: I'm a firm believer that the church has a responsibility to pay to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Which means we should be obeying the laws of the land. It also means that we have a testimony to be prudent and responsible cultural citizens. So I think it's important for us to watch and listen to what our local government authorities are saying we should or shouldn't do as far as reopening. And I think to whatever is reasonable, we need to adhere to it. You think about even reopening your children's ministry. Well if you haven't reopened daycares in your area and they haven't reopened schools, you need to rethink opening up your childcare at your church. Because the world is going to watch us, and if we just thumb our nose at them and say we'll do it our way, forget you, we are making a witness that is going to damage our ability to minister to our local community. So forgetting a date, I would watch very carefully what your local government authorities are recommending you do. Now from a practical standpoint, the number one thing you need to have in place is, what is your cleaning plan going to be going forward? It's going to be different than what it was in the past. If you are a church that has multiple services, how are you going to clean the building between the services, and do you have enough time to do that?
Matt: How much time do you need to really clean it the way that it should be cleaned before services right now?
Tim: It depends on how much of the building do you open up. That's another piece of it. You need to have a plan of how much of your facility do you really need to even open. If you're not going to have Sunday School, then clean those rooms, put a piece of safety tape on the door and put a sign that says "this has been cleaned, do not enter." That way you don't have to then go back and clean those areas. But your worship space, if you have to wipe down every chair, if you have to wipe down every door knob, if you haven't removed your pew bibles - which I strongly recommend, remove hymnals, pew bibles, prayer books, remove them - all that stuff has to be wiped down before the next service gets in there. If you had enough volunteers, you might be able to knock that out in 20-30 minutes. But here's another thought to think about. Let's say you have movable chairs in your worship center. Well are we going to make it look like a White House press conference with them six feet apart from each other now? If you have theater seats or pews, are you going to block off certain areas of seating? Well if any of those means that you're going to have a reduced amount of capacity in that room for worship. So are there other rooms in your building that you could simulcast to? Do you have a gymnasium, do you have a fellowship hall, do you have a large lobby space that you could set up chairs in and have proper - and I don't like the term social distancing because we should never distance from a social perspective, we should do physical distancing because we need each other bottom line - but those are just practical things, Matt, that I think we need to think through. How do you disallow, or to at least mitigate the tight congregational community that happens in a lobby space? Number one is you get rid of the coffee. Don't allow coffee at all.
Matt: Wait a minute, does Jesus even come to church if there's no coffee?
Tim: He does, but he gets it outside of the building. He can bring it with him, but don't serve it in the building. Automatic door openers. Think of the things that we have done during this quarantine period in the physical distancing stuff that we've done and making sure that our hands are clean. Get extra hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your building. Have them outside the building. Keep your doors propped open as people are coming in instead of people constantly having to grab that knob and pulling it. Yeah, you might waste a little bit of electricity during that period of time -
Matt: It's better than the alternative, right?
Tim: It's better than the alternative. And for a good bit of us in the country right now, we're still in the tail end of spring. So it's not like we're in Phoenix in August. It's not like we're trying to go from 68 degrees to 90 degrees and that kind of thing. We're in a moderate temperature right now.
Matt: That's really helpful. That's really helpful. Thank you for that. Now Tim I'm sure you have got plenty of thoughts. Your blog has been a great resource, and you can find that at smartchurchsolutions.com, and we'll also link off to the reopening checklist that we mentioned earlier at the bottom of this. Tim, before we wrap up, any last-minute thoughts that churches need to be thinking about right now?
Tim: Matt, we're putting out another resource in about two weeks, and we'll make sure that your listeners get access to that as well. But it's basically a facility operations kind of guide as to at the very least what are the questions you should be asking and answering. Even something just as simple as taking an offering. Are you going to pass the plate? I hope not. Do you just set up a donation box? Well then if you do, who is going to handle it, and will you require them to wear gloves and masks? All of these things are practical-type things that at least need thought. And if you don't act upon them, at least know why you're not acting on them instead of doing it out of ignorance.
Matt: Exactly. That's really helpful. So Tim thank you so much for spending some time with us. Greatly appreciate it.
Tim: My pleasure. Thanks Matt.

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