A Church Planting Logistics Checklist to help keep your team focused when choosing a venue.
Allow us to point out the obvious:
Portable churches have the unique and amazing opportunity to leverage empty, multi-million dollar facilities on Sunday mornings for worship.
It’s the ultimate example of repurposing and sustainability!
But just because a facility is impressive doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your church plant or multisite.
When setting out to find your venue, narrow your options by focusing first on the practical aspects, some of which are non-negotiable (does it have air conditioning?).
While it’s true that aesthetics are important and contribute to the overall feel and vibe, the practicality must come first. We’ve made it easy for you to stay organized and logical with this checklist.
7-Point Church Planting Logistics Checklist
1. Facility Location
When determining whether or not the location will meet your needs, start with these practical questions:
- What’s the demographic of the neighborhood? Of course every church planter considers this factor, and yet it’s easy to be swayed by a great, inexpensive venue in the wrong location.
- Beyond the neighborhood, is the location conducive to visitors? How would a new family experience the walk from the parking lot to the entrance? For example, if the site is a storefront in a mall, what’s the route a visitor would take and how would you rate that experience?
- Does the location have easy access for the trailers that contain your portable equipment? What distance do volunteers have to travel as they set up?
Volunteer Power: The Positive Volunteer Impact of Your Portable Church
Thoughtfully consider obstacles a visitor or regular attendee might encounter upon accessing the building. For instance:
- Do attendees need to travel outside as they navigate around the building?
- Is snow removal included in the contract?
- How many parking spots are available? Are there too few, too many?
Pro Tip: Your venue will need one parking spot per 1.7 attendees. On that note, if you’re in a facility that offers less than that, you are probably at or nearing capacity.
- What’s the air quality in the building and is it equipped with air conditioning?
- Can you bring beverages into the auditorium?
- For multi-level buildings, are floors accessible via an elevator?
As pastors always say: PLAN for growth! Don’t reserve space for THIS week’s numbers, but NEXT year’s vision. Consider church plant logistics like:
- Is there ample space for the number of children we anticipate?
- Are there enough restrooms that we can allow for one to be a children-only restroom?
- Are you able to section off the entry to the children’s areas (for security purposes)?
- What is the “fire code” capacity for the spaces and will a small amount of growth put us in violation?
- Are there rules or codes against signage?
- What’s the parent journey? Imagine their trek from the lobby to the check-in station, to the kidsmin area and then off to the worship area.
- Is there kitchen prep space for Sunday morning coffee and an occasional after-church gathering?
- Some venues have windows so high you aren’t able to block the light without a lift. Is this an issue?
- Is the ceiling’s height an issue for trussing?
We’ve talked to plenty of leaders who inadvertently forgot to ask some pivotal questions before signing the lease agreement. Most of those center around availability. Here are a few to consider:
- Are there any blackout dates for the facility? Is there a specific time of the year that your main adult space wouldn’t be available on a Sunday? Is it an annual occurrence of a one-time conflict?
- Buildings sometimes require repair or maintenance. Are there alternate spaces within the venue that can accommodate your group?
By the very nature of sharing space, your group may encounter evidence of others’ use. Inquire about school plays/dramas/events that have stage props that might be in the way every week or at any other time during the year.
Gather your AVL team and carefully consider your electrical needs and capacity.
- How many outlets are in the rooms you’ll be using?
- What need will you have for power for each area?
- Is the electric grounded? Will there be audio and wifi interference?
Running multiple TV displays, a full worship band, and lighting in a cafetorium with only two outlets will likely overtax the system.
Two solutions to consider: Ask the landlord if he’d be willing to let your church pay for an improvement or explore ways to acquire portable power options.
Pro Tip: Although your worship service uses the majority of the electricity, also factor in the coffee pots and the kidsmin rooms that might be running video, music, video games, and a bouncy house simultaneously.When choosing a portable church venue, think about electricity. Not only do you need power for the worship service, but what about coffee pots in the lobby and bounce houses in the kidsmin? Be informed. Click To Tweet
6. Landlord Relationships and Contracts
In addition to the blackout dates, here are questions to keep in mind as you negotiate the rental agreement. After all, the perfect location and facilities will only be as good as the contract terms and relationship with the landlord.
- In addition to the facility cost, is there a cost for personnel to be present?
- Is there storage space available?
- What’s the process and plan for negotiating the agreement, terms, and renewal details?
- How much does the facility cost? Do they require their personnel to be compensated to be present?
7. Whole Ministry Space
Can you take a step back and consider the space as a whole?
It’s hard to see beyond your personal biases, but overlook details that might trip up the team and consider the space as a whole entity.
- Is it workable?
- Are the obstacles insurmountable?
- Which items are non-negotiable for your vision?
LOGICALLY CHOOSING THE RIGHT VENUE
Predetermining these areas that are critical to your vision will help the team make a logical assessment and avoid getting tripped up. Emotions are high and teams are eager — everyone’s dreaming about your vision coming to a reality.
Use this checklist to make sure the team is assessing potential venues from every perspective: location, space, accessibility, electrical, contracts and more. It would be difficult to logically wear all of those “hats” during a tour, but having a checklist will help.
In the market for a church plant venue? Let us help.
Book a call with one of our experts and we can help you utilize this checklist and provide more helpful resources to find the best facility for your portable church environment.
Learn more about choosing the right facility with 6 Smart Considerations When Choosing a Church Plant Location.
What practical item would you add to this list? Comment below!