The church custodian
by Daniel Ausbun, First Baptist Church, Moreland
LifeWay Christian Resources president, Thom Rainer, wrote in “Surprising Insights from the Unchurched” that the cleanliness of a church’s facility is a key factor if visitors will return.
Dirty restrooms and unkempt children’s facilities were listed as the top priorities a church must keep clean if visitors are going to return. The nursery and women’s restroom should always look their best.
The church custodian, maintenance director and building and grounds committee are extremely important, yet often forgotten positions.
In 2 Kings 12:5 King Joash ordered the priests to repair the deteriorating temple. Unfortunately the priests were negligent in making the repairs. The temple was falling apart and only the king seemed to care.
What happens with a dirty and unkept church:
• Clutter could be killing growth. Places matter to people. We live in a physical world, and environment affects the way we think and worship. Unused furniture, broken toys and unneeded cabinets convey the idea that our space doesn’t matter. I once visited a church that had filled the majority of their Sunday school rooms with unsold yard sale items. The best purchase that church could make is a dumpster.
You might not have the nicest church facilities, but you can have a clean and clutter-free one.
• Unkept facilities lose their reverence. Stains on the carpet, crumbs in the pews and candy wrappers in the hymnal racks establish an environment that worship isn’t important. Greeters shouldn’t allow people to enter the sanctuary with a cola in their hand. You can get too casual when approaching God.
Before God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses He required all the people to first wash their clothes for two days (Exodus 19:10).
• A messy stage. Does your church’s band leave a bird’s nest of cables all over the stage? Has your pastor tripped and fallen while preaching? Unused microphone stands, music stands and instruments should be neatly organized. The best worship environment is one that is least distracting.
The church custodian has two weekly ministry opportunities unlike anyone else.
First, he cleans every room each week. This means he can weekly prayerwalk the church. What other church attender walks through every room each week? The custodian goes room to room, cleaning and asking the Lord to help listeners hear the Word of God and invite visitors to their class.
Second, the custodian has the privilege of going through every pew each week. As he cleans and refills the offering envelopes he’s able to pray for those sitting in the pews on Sunday. Prayerwalking every room and each pew is one of the best opportunities for spiritual awakening for any church.
Imagine: your church custodian is the key to revival
Once a newspaper reporter visited the famous Metropolitan Tabernacle in London in the late 1800s. Charles Spurgeon, the famous British Baptist pastor there for 38 years, met the reporter for an interview. He asked the reporter if he’d like to visit the basement of the large church. He said he would, and Spurgeon led the man downstairs to see 1,000 people on their knees praying to God. The reporter asked Spurgeon why all these people are praying in the basement of the church. Spurgeon said these 1,000 prayer warriors influence the 5,000 worshippers upstairs. Without the downstairs prayers, they’d be nothing upstairs worth listening to.
Spurgeon knew the importance of prayer for a worship service. Tomorrow remind the custodian how his job is central to your church experiencing revitalization.