- Worship Space. Obviously, you need space for worship services when you launch. We have always started every campus with two services. This helps us maximize space and gives people more options for both worship and serving. We are working in rural Illinois and tend to see about 300 at our launch Sunday which quickly levels off to about 200. Then we grow from there. So we look for room for those numbers.
- Children’s Ministry Space. Almost as important as worship space is ample room for quality children’s ministry and nursery. This is important at any church or campus but it’s especially important at a new campus where we find we draw a higher percentage of young families than we do at our original campus. To calculate the amount of space needed for various types of children’s ministry check out this link.
- Commons/Relational Space. People need space to mingle before and after the service. For our church this means room where people interact and enjoy coffee, bagels and donuts. A large foyer/cafe space is great for this and it can also be used for mid-week, mid-sized evening events like ALPHA, membership classes, youth ministry, and leadership team meetings.
- Kitchen/Food Prep Area. Food is important in our church’s culture. Besides our Sunday morning café, we have food with ALPHA, our Discover membership class, our six times a year leadership team meetings, and other events. To do this right we need a place to make coffee, prepare food, and store supplies.
- Office & Storage Space. The campus pastor and their administrative help need room for desks and a copier. You also need room to store all kinds of things like curriculum, table and chairs, and musical instruments.
- Parking. Perhaps this goes without saying, but accessible parking can easily be overlooked. You should figure two worshipers per car. So, for example, if you anticipate 200 people at a service, you would need 100 parking spaces.
- Location. You are looking for the above six items at a fantastic, highly-visible, easily accessible location! One way I think about this is by asking: “Would McDonald’s want to build a restaurant here?” You probably can’t get a location that good (McDonald’s already has it!), but you want to get close. Location isn’t everything but it probably matters more than we pastors tend to think it does. When I say “location,” I am not talking about what town or area of your city. I addressed the issue of selecting the right town or area in a post on “Where Should Your Church Start a New Campus?”
- Great Price. Of course, you are looking for the seven items already listed at a low price! This is where prayer comes in. We have repeatedly seen God do some amazing miracles in supply great places at wonderful prices. Before we launched our Danville, IL, campus, we looked at dozens of buildings. Of all the places we looked at, our favorite one was a 15,000 square foot building selling for $2.1 million dollars which the realtor said that we could rent for $19,000 a month until they sold it. That rental price was more than ten times our budget! It looked like that building was out of the question, but through a surprising series of events we ended up launching our campus there. We initially used the building for free, paying only the utilities, and we later ended up buying it for just $150,000. It’s the building featured in the photo of this post.
What did I miss in my recommendations? What has your church learned? What advice do you have for churches looking for the ideal place to launch a new campus?