Your church is growing and you’ve run out of space OR your church has plateaued and is looking for a new initiative to spur growth. Whatever the reason, your leadership team has decided to venture down the path of multisite. Most churches don’t have millions in reserve to build a new facility or retrofit an existing one. If that’s you…it’s time to consider a non-permanent strategy. Below you will find 13 steps to help you successfully launch a non-permanent (or portable) location.
1 – Establish a timeline.
As a staff or core team discuss and determine a tentative date on which you would like to launch. Ask yourselves, “What season will that be? How will the season affect our initial attendance? How does our current church calendar factor in?”
2 – Identify a location.
This seems like an obvious first step. You need somewhere to meet but not all buildings are created equal. Despite your hard work and greatest efforts a campus can succeed or fail because of unconsidered logistics. When deciding whether a location is suitable, consider these criteria:
- Does our timeline match the date of occupancy?
- How many people will the auditorium seat during a prime experience time slot?
- Will the number of parking spaces accommodate the total number of seating? (Don’t forget to round up because of an overlap of attendees between services.)
- How far away will the children’s area be from the adult auditorium?
- Are there enough rooms for kids and students? Is the space safe and clean?
- Can we adequately secure all kids rooms and hallways?
- Is there additional space for on-campus meetings, special needs area, guest overflow, volunteer training, etc?
- Is wi-fi available?
- Will administration allow for onsite storage?
- Can we use the location during the week or on special occasions?
- Will we be allowed to make small permanent changes or upgrades?
- Can we leave anything set up? If not, what’s the solution?
- Will we need police or paid traffic direction?
3 – Determine marketing and community involvement.
Calculate how much you have to spend on marketing and decide how you’ll use that money. Choose community outreach partners and meet with the staff at those non-profit organizations. Make a support plan with these partners. Order door hangers or mail outs. Schedule neighborhood canvasing within a two-mile radius of the new location. Make a splash in the community.
4 – Put the call out.
Once you’ve determined an anticipated number of attendees during those first few weeks of launch, you’ll be able to calculate how many volunteers you need in each area. How do you find these people? Start with the multisite location closest to the area of town in which you are launching the new campus. Speak with the campus pastor. Ask to have onstage talking points inviting current volunteers and attendees to join the launch team. Once the initial team has been established, it’s important to determine where the holes are. Creating a Haves / Needs Document can be helpful when recruiting new people to the launch team. Encourage initial launch team members to invite friends, family, and coworkers to join the team.
5 – Meet with school / facility administrators.
Schedule a meeting with school or facility administrators at your new location. Have the meeting catered. Bring church swag to give away. Establishing a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship is key. If using a school, leave presents (gift baskets full of school supplies and candy) on all the teachers desks in the rooms you plan to use.
6 – Begin Launch Team meetings.
The number and frequency of launch team meetings, which should include all staff and volunteers assisting in any aspect of launch, will be determined by your timeline. Below is an ideal model:
Six months out: monthly
Two months out: biweekly
One month out: weekly
Week of: multiple run-throughs
7 – Establish a volunteer training or readying strategy.
Undoubtedly, you will need more volunteers than you are able to launch with. Many who attend for the first time during the early weeks of launch will want to plug in and get involved. Establish a quick training and transition plan to help these individuals swiftly move into empty positions.
8 – Order resources and supplies.
You need stuff! About a four to six weeks prior to launch, you need to order your resources. It will take up more space than you expect so make sure you have a box truck or storage unit to organize supplies. Label every box with the area or room it belongs. This will save time during your initial set-up.
9 – Schedule run-throughs.
Run-throughs help to identify gaps and highlight weak points. Schedule at least two or three full run-throughs, complete with set-up and tear-down. Encourage all volunteers to be present and share observed ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness. These run-throughs will also help to identify additional resources and supplies you may have overlooked initially.
10 – Initiate prayer initiative.
Prayer offers peace, perspective and focus. It also brings unity. Schedule a week of prayer or round-the-clock day of intercession. Have teams pray for specific aspects of launch each day or the names of those they plan to invite. Prayer is a great way to launch every new endeavor.
11 – Host final prep and logistical meeting.
With less than a week before launch, it’s time to finalize details. Everything needs to be considered and discussed, from parking strategies to the scent of the air. No detail is too small. Open a group chat or email chain that keeps staff members and key volunteer leaders informed.
12 – Launch.
Lay your clothes out the night before. Set the alarm early. Wake up in prayer. Calm your spirit. Decide to be positive no matter what. Walk in with a smile on your face. Call a final staff and volunteer rally to focus your teams’ efforts and clarify the vision of the day. Assign volunteers to take pictures and collect stories. You’ll need these for the next step.
13 – Celebrate!
At the end of the day when tear down is complete, host a dance party. Pass out party favors. Turn up the music. Reveal the launch numbers in an exciting way. Share the stories you collected and send your volunteers home with a sense of relief and accomplishment.
Stuck on any of these steps? I’d love the opportunity to meet with your team and help you work through and execute a successful launch season. You can contact me here on FamilyMinistry.Church. Input your information in the sidebar now.
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