After finding a facility for your church, corralling a group of cheerful volunteers, and setting a launch date, you are ready to open your doors! You can’t wait to create a church family, change lives, and impact your community. But will your launch be successful? Will all of your hard work and preparation inspire new visitors to become regular attendees? Make sure you have these seven things to ensure a successful launch weekend and provide your congregation with a life-changing, God-filled experience.
How many parking spots does the facility have? Are there too few? Too many? If there isn’t enough parking, are you providing easy transportation options (shuttles or buses) from a public parking area to the facility? How far is the walk from the parking lot to the children’s drop-off area? Is there a parking lot closer to the children’s area for families? Will your congregation be so large that you need volunteer parking directors to help with traffic flow?
While parking may seem like a trivial detail, it really does matter! On average, there will be 1.7 adults per car. You need convenient parking for your church members, and you need enough of it to support the number of people you hope to have at each service!
2. Clear Signage
People choose whether they will return to a church within the first seven minutes of their church experience. First impressions are very important and signage plays a big part in setting the tone. Whether your facility is large or small, you don’t want any first-time visitors getting lost before they make it to the worship experience!
Where can they get coffee? Where can they drop off their children? Where can they fellowship and make connections? Can visitors easily navigate the facility on their own? A basic rule of thumb is to always have a sign in view. When a first-time visitor is standing at a particular sign, there should be at least one other sign in view. They should be able to quickly and easily find exactly where they need to go, so that they can truly enjoy and experience your community.
3. Restroom Facilities
Any time you bring together a large number of adults and children, it is important that you also have plenty of restrooms. Believe it or not, there are actually international standards stating the minimum number of toilets per attendees for places of worship. The recommended ratios are 1:75 for women and 1:150 for men.
The ultimate thing to consider with your restroom facilities is the comfort and privacy of all those attending your church. You don’t want anyone (especially a child!) to have to wait a long time for an available toilet, and you also want your restrooms to be accessible and easy-to-find for first-time visitors.
4. Safe and Fun Children’s Area
Of course you aren’t going to set up your children’s area in the facility maintenance room! But no matter where you set up the toys and Bible story pictures, you want parents to feel comfortable leaving their children there. Are these areas clean and secure? Do you have trustworthy, reliable volunteers caring for the children? Have you provided plenty of activities to keep the children entertained, happy, and, most importantly, tear-free?
If you provide a cultivating, fun, and educational environment for the children of your congregation, you will encourage their parents to continue attending. And hopefully even invite their friends!
5. Comfortable Seating
Do you have enough seating to accommodate all attendees? Do you have too much? Will the service feel empty? Is there room for growth? If you have too many seats, what are the budget implications if you need to cover or hide sections?
It is important that you provide comfortable seating options for the members of your congregation. The last thing you want while you’re giving a sermon is to have everyone squirming in hard, unsupportive chairs. At the same time, plush stackable chairs can be a huge ‘cubic volume cost.’ If these chairs take up half of your trailer space, you need to factor in half the cost of the trailer in addition to the cost of the chairs. If the chairs take up so much space that they require their own trailer, your costs will be even higher.
If the seating is comfortable, you want to ensure that you have enough space for people to feel comfortable inviting friends to church without concerns for having a hard time finding a seat.
6. A Great Audio/Video Experience
If you’re going to use audio and video technology, then use it well! Some people will argue that the church experience isn’t about ‘entertaining’ attendees. Others will argue that what you present is a reflection on how you value them. You don’t want to distract from the sermon because the slides do not match what the speaker is saying, or the wrong lyrics appear during the worship experience.
If you are going to employ any tech, it needs to work well. And, everyone should be able to see and hear clearly from any seat in the sanctuary space.
7. A Welcoming Atmosphere
Do you have volunteers eager to greet and interact with first-time visitors? Are you ready to welcome these visitors, make them feel like family, and maybe even offer them a free cup of coffee?
Even if the facility is immaculate, the music is amazing, and the sermon is inspiring, the connections that new visitors make with existing members is ultimately what will help them grow into fruitful members of your church community. As mentioned earlier, you only have 7 minutes to make an impression. Environments and the tone your people set are huge.
Want more tips and statistics on how to choose and use your church facility to its full potential? Download our FREE eBook, Choosing The Right Facility For Your Portable Church. Learn to avoid the mistakes that others have made and make your launch an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!