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Church Facility Reopening: 4 Phases You Need to Navigate

June 5, 2020 jill Blog
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By Tim Cool

As with the many phases of state and federal reopening, our team has been developing the phases for reopening. We have developed 4 phases that we think every church should consider.

Before we dive into the 4 phases, let me reiterate that there is no crystal ball or magic wand. No one knows exactly the right time or process for reopening our churches (or country). There is no formula that works in every instance or for every church. This is all uncharted ground, and we are figuring it out as we move forward.

With that said, here are the phases as we see it (today):

PHASE 1: – While the Facility Is Empty

What are things you always say you can’t get to because the building is being used? What could you/should you do while the facility is empty? Are there repairs, refreshing, or projects that you should be addressing? Here are some examples:

  • Check all the windows in your facility, inside and out
  • Same for doors
  • Check all your emergency exit lights and emergency lighting
  • Touch up painting
  • Carpet and floor cleaning
  • Check all plumbing fixtures, cutoff values, etc.
  • HVAC filter changes
  • Fix Fascia/Soffits
  • Change batteries in smoke detectors, AED and the like.
  • And much more

PHASE 2 – Pre-Occupancy

If you have not done so already, download our free checklist HERE. This phase includes the things you should consider doing as you prepare to move back in. Here is a sampling of the items in this checklist:

  • Remove debris from your parking lot and around the building
  • Trim all shrubs and trees
  • Check all your lights and replace bulbs
  • Run your HVAC systems then replace filters
  • Check all entrance mats
  • Pour water in all floor drains (contact me if you need to know why)
  • Check pilot lights on gas appliances
  • Check your breaker box for thrown breakers
  • Tune your piano(s)
  • Confirm that your AED battery and first aid kits are current
  • Confirm fire extinguishers are up to date
  • Clean, Clean, Clean!!

PHASE 3 – Occupancy

Let’s move in…but what needs to be considered? Our team developed another free resource – Facility Utilization Guide – to help drive conversations with your church leaders as you actually move back in the facility. Get your copy HERE.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Preparing, documenting and training on your intended cleaning plans and procedures
  • Possibly quarantining some of the spaces in the facility – only open what you need
  • Should you serve coffee (that one hurts!)
  • Move furniture out of the lobby to avoid congregating
  • How will you open and close doors…and by whom
  • Should you consider multiple services or multiple venues on campus
  • What about the offering and communion
  • When to open kids’ ministry
  • Cleaning all high-touch elements
  • Clean, Clean, Clean (see a pattern)

In addition, we have developed a series of short videos that will help your church and team to see first hand ways to re-open safely, intentionally and successfully – VIEW HERE

PHASE 4 – The Next New Normal (whatever that looks like!)

TO BE DETERMINED…so stay tuned. Seriously, we just do not know. But I assure you that our team will continue to work to develop information, checklists and guides to help you navigate these uncertain times. We are in this together.

Tim Cool is chief solutions officer of Smart Church Solutions,

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