The email last April gave the staff and specific laity a week to complete a space audit. By definition, an audit is an official inspection of an organization’s or individual’s accounts typically by an independent body. What brought this on was a lack of dedicated space for our ministry to youth whose previous space was given to a new worship service. Rather than just finding space, the entire campus underwent this amazing endeavor.

Each ministry lead was asked to answer inquiries in three parts:
Part 1: Current Utilization
A. Name or identify the area(s) currently used by your ministry area.
B. Identify the schedule(s) of your current ministries, per areas identified in 1-A.
C. Identify the maximum and minimum number of people using the spaces in 1-A.
Part 2: Projected Future Space Needs of Your Ministry Area
A. Do you anticipate that your ministry will need more, less or the same space in five years?
B. If you identified “more” space, what area(s)might be ideal to accommodate the growth?
Part 3: Your Professional Opinion
In your professional opinion, are there spaces/areas (whether within your ministry area, or not) that are currently underutilized and/or need to be reconfigured to better accommodate the church’s overall ministry effectiveness – current and future?

Once everything was submitted, the trustees enlisted the help of professional organizers beginning in May to evaluate all of the space including storage. Everyone was instructed to clean out their spaces and at least three huge dumpsters were set up in the parking lot to take all the debris.

This was awesome and took great courage. Every church has things lingering in the corners, under the stage, and above the closets. There are sacred cows that moo from the last century. I recall the tongue lashing I endured for removing a brown cotton banner from a stairwell at a previous church I served. This banner hung from a stick, had children’s hand prints from the 1970s and was probably a white sheet to begin with. Anybody else with similar experiences?

Negotiations have begun for the cleaned-out spaces through the professional organizers which is genius because we all know how that could go if initiated by staff. We have laughed a lot through this process because I discovered there were two storage areas in another building that belonged to children’s ministry. I had no idea! (I’ve been here two years on August 1st.) There was also a great workroom that was not claimed by any ministry because three ministries thought it belonged to the others. Ha! We ended up getting that space. How did we know? It was the one area that was not cleaned out after all the dumpsters left.

In the process, we’ve lost space, gained space, gained storage, and made a classroom out of another ministry’s storage space. It’s the only room we do not share. Yep, we share space. We share with weekday preschool ministry, recreation ministry, nursery ministry, and worship ministry. Using space and sharing space is what we do. You probably do, too. Yet if feels so much lighter, just like it feels when you might clean out the garage, the basement, or that closet upstairs that no one opens anymore.

Would your church benefit from a space audit? Ours has!

“But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” 1 Corinthians 14:40