No matter the experience you provide for your guests on the weekend, a dirty facility is going to leave a bad impression. It doesn’t matter how friendly your greeters are…it doesn’t matter how long your pastor spent prepping his sermon…it doesn’t matter how quickly you get people connected to a small group. If guests have to walk across a cluttered parking lot or endure filthy restrooms, it will impact the experience. It may not derail it (I believe the Holy Spirit still works amidst trash on the ground) but it will certainly impact it.
The easy, one-size-fits-all solution is this: pick up your junk. Pick it up. All of it. Every time you see it. Every time you notice it.
Let’s take a virtual tour of your facility and see what we see, shall we?
(Yes. Yes we shall.)
Parking lots and sidewalk. Invest in a good trash grabber and a five gallon bucket. Walk the lot and pick up the cigarette butts, the dropped bulletins, and the gum wrappers. And don’t just save this for the weekend. When you’re walking the campus during the week, stop, stoop, and lead, because leaders pick up the trash.
Lobby and hallways. Clean the glass in your doors. Wipe down the handles. Check the walls for leftover remnants of Scotch tape and posters that are three months out of date. Vacuum the entry rug.
Information table. Kill the clutter and cull the piles. If everything is important, nothing is. Think about what is being talked about from the stage vs. what has zero context if it pops up on your table.
Storage closets. Empower your vols to throw away anything that they think needs to be tossed, with no repercussions. I’m convinced that future archaeologists will be able to trace local church history based on the sedimentary layers of junk in our storage areas (“I have no idea what they believed, but here is a box of bandannas advertising VBS ’94.”)
Classrooms. You don’t need those dust-encrusted silk flowers that were donated by the WMU back when Reagan was president. You really don’t. I promise. You also don’t need four year old curriculum, curriculum-related posters that were produced in the Baptist Sunday School Board era, or the forgotten jacket that has been hanging on the coat rack for generations. Toss it. Toss it all.
Meeting areas. Erase the whiteboard. Push your chairs under the table. Throw away your leftover donuts (this doesn’t apply to Baptists, who never have leftover donuts). Turn off the lights. Return chairs that you borrowed from other rooms.
Auditorium and stage. Check the pew racks for gum wrappers…and even gum (gross). After communion, do a sweep for empty cups and dropped crackers. On stage, pay attention to cords, unused instruments, and sheet music piles. If a pew or chair is permanently stained, recover or replace it.
Restrooms. I get it: people are nasty. I have been in our restrooms between services and tried to do a full wipe-down of counters, mirrors, faucets, and floors, and by the time I make my way from one end of the room to the other, it looks like I’ve never touched it. But we must touch it. We need to clean that space up during the down times so it’s ready when service lets out.
Forgive me for cutting and pasting from above, but it bears repeating: pick up your junk. Pick it up. All of it. Every time you see it. Every time you notice it. Cleanliness is everyone’s job. Whether you’re the lead pastor or a lowly intern, whether you’re a charter member or a fledgling volunteer, whether you’re eight or eighty, it’s on you. It’s on me. This isn’t about being a fancy church or seeker-driven or putting on airs, this is about taking care of what has been entrusted to us. Let’s steward it well.
Related post: Ten Ways to Keep it Clean