"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." – Ecclesiastes 4: 9–12
Remember the three-stranded cord? In part one of this series, we talked about the safety and strength that can be found by belonging to a larger group. I believe that the strongest cord in my career is Christ, the NACFM and myself.
In part two, we looked at the value of mentorship as practiced by Christ and the apostle Paul. The importance of face-to-face time cannot be overlooked in the mentoring process.
That brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, local networking. In addition to the valuable face-to-face time, there are several advantages to local chapters that the NACFM, as a national organization, cannot provide.
ADVANTAGES OF LOCAL NETWORKING
The NACFM user forum is a great resource for our members. This feature alone is worth more than the cost of an annual membership. Still, some things would be beneficial to discuss at the local level. Below are a few.
* VETTING LOCAL CONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS
We have all experienced great contractors and suppliers. At the same time, most of us have dealt with less than stellar businesses in our careers. At the local level, you can find out who does good work and has a heart for churches.
* COMPARING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Localities have specific codes and regulations that do not apply to other areas.
* SHARING SECURITY THREATS
Cities have their security threats. For information to be useful, it must be timely and applicable. Here are a few examples of what we've experienced in Nashville over the past few years:
- Traveling gypsies that can steal cash, credit cards, and even multiple purses in a matter of minutes.
- Wedding crashers looking for valuables.
- People stealing checks out of the church mailbox.
- Crackpots that pose a danger to others. (We had one of these join our church, only to find out other churches had restraining orders against him.)
- People who professionally seek financial assistance.
* LOCATING NEW EMPLOYEES
Finding qualified employees can be one of the most difficult parts of our job. What works in one city may not be the best option for your location. Talking to FMs in your home town can make this much easier.
The benefits of local networking are obvious, however, I feel that the NACFM has room to grow. While many local chapters excel at networking, there are others that need improvement. There are many reasons for this. Some areas lack enough members to make it work. Some regions have the membership numbers needed, but the right leader has not stepped up. What works in one city, may fall short in others.
In Nashville it has not been easy to keep a local chapter going. How can that be with a church on every corner? Our lack of success is not due to a lack of effort. Jim Vance and Sandy Walker have invested much time and effort with our local group. They have planned and conducted lunch and learn sessions with less than anticipated response. It can be done as we have seen in other areas. Others have had success to one degree or another. Still, the majority of the country is underserved on the local level. This is not a push for revenue on the part of the NACFM. The national organization receives no monies from the local chapters, but we all benefit when the NACFM gains new members. As our membership grows, more companies want to partner with us. The money we receive from their business memberships and advertising keeps our dues and conference cost down.
NACFM's national leadership does not have all the answers. Many of the policies and decisions that have made the NACFM a great resource for church facilities professionals have come from our membership. So, as we come to the end of the “Why do we need each other?” series, I am asking for your help in two areas. 1) We need your input to help us grow as an organization and 2) your involvement in local networking for your chapter.
"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." – Matthew 5:15-16 (NIV)
As Christians, we are called to let God’s light shine through us for all to see. As church facilities professionals and members of the NACFM, we realize the value of this organization. For me, the NACFM is an instrument that God is using to provide a lighted path for church facilities professionals. We all need to share this MINISTRY with others in our local areas, a ministry that supports us as we work to share the mission and vision of the congregations we serve. We are serving in full-time ministry, and need to share the mission of the NACFM with those around us. We are doing our communities a disservice by hiding the light God provides through the NACFM.
I challenge each of you to reach out to other church facilities professionals in your area. Share what the NACFM means to you. Share what it has done for the church you serve.
The last request I have is for each of you to provide your ideas on how we can best reach new members and support local chapters. By the way, our new website allows local chapters to have their own group page. We have some prospects that don’t join the NACFM because there isn’t a local chapter. I see the two going hand-in-hand in our effort to serve church facilities professionals.
Please click here to complete the linked survey to give us your opinions and ideas on reaching new members and participating in local chapters. Your opinion matters! You can always reach me at President@nacfm.com.
Blessings to you brothers and sisters,