Finding the Right Location

For Your Church Plant

April 21, 2022 by Tim Madding

Finding the Right Location for Your Church Plant

Finding a location for your church plant is one of the most challenging aspects of launching a new church.  There are a variety of options in your community- large homes, churches, dance halls, night clubs, schools, community centers, movie theaters, libraries and store fronts.  Even though you worship on Saturdays, opening up a large number of church options throughout the community, it can still prove very difficult to find the right space for your new church to meet.  With it being so difficult, you may unintentionally grab whatever is available- even desperate to find a location.  And if you’re not careful, you’ll secure the wrong facility and negatively effect your ministry.

Here are some factors to consider before landing on a specific facility.

1. Find a facility that pairs with your mission.  

As you’ve taken months to prepare your purpose as a church, intentionally instilling the DNA into the leadership of your launch team with plans to fully implement your God-given vision in the community in discipleship, keep in mind that the facility you choose should aid you in that mission.  

If your discipleship pathway or involvement in the community does not require you to have a facility more than one day a week, you will not want a full-time rental or lease.  If your service ministry is in the community and discipleship occurs in people’s homes, you will be paying for facility that you’re not using.  This will cause you to move away from your vision and change your ministry style more towards a facility based strategic plan.

If your new church is looking to be a center of influence with a discipleship and service plan that centers around a facility where you offer a juice bar, mentoring programs, health & exercise classes, Bible studies and reaping events for the community all week long then you will want a facility that allows you access on a regular or exclusive basis.

You’ve spent months, maybe years, praying over this new church.  You’ve spent thousands of hours pulling the right people onto your launch team and training them in the vision, culture and details of this new church.  The facility you choose should be driven by that vision, discipleship pathway and culture.  If you rent a facility that requires to alter who you are, you will undo everything God has been leading your new church to accomplish before you even launch.

Ask: Does this facility pair with our mission, vision, discipleship pathway and community ministry?

If you’ve not yet worked out the details of your discipleship pathway and community ministry, it’s too early to begin looking for a facility.  Focus on how God is calling you to reach your community first.

2. Find a facility that fits into your budget.  

The cost of using facilities ranges dramatically.  You can use a launch team member’s garage, home or recreation room for little or no cost.  You can also lease warehouse space downtown that would blow your budget out of the water.  

Sadly, we don’t know how much the facility will cost when we begin looking but you can estimate a good range in your budget so that you can better determine if it’s the right location or not.  If the facility you’ve fallen in love with will cost 80% of your projected monthly budget income, it will dramatically effect your ability to do the ministry and the discipleship you are called to do. You may also be able to land a facility that costs little to nothing but if it requires you to find other locations on a regular basis or doesn’t provide all of the services you need, you may want to pass on the “good deal.”

Ask: Does this facility fit into our budget?

3. Find a facility that it the right size.  

If you’re not careful, you will lease a location that is too small or large- both options will effect your new church’s ability to do ministry and discipleship.

You may have a launch team of fifty as you approach your grand opening when you find a church facility that is willing to rent to you on a weekly basis.  Better yet, it may even be a little below your expected budget amount.  However, the church only sits 75 people.  This may seem like more than enough room for your group of fifty but you are intending to invite family, friends, the unchurched and community to your grand opening. If you followed an intentional launch plan, you could easily see more than 100 people there on your grand opening with 75 in regular attendance thereafter. Though it may appear big enough, it’s already too small and choosing this facility will stint your discipleship potential or quickly require you to find another facility.  

Many smaller churches in the community fall into this category.  Because they are small, they are nether an active church or have sufficient funds for their own ministry.  They are often welcoming to Saturday rentals to make their church look more active and help subsidize their ministry budgets.  However, they are often too small for our new church plant.  Many church plants that rent these small churches never grow beyond 80% capacity.  Think twice before you choose a facility that limits you.

Your launch team of fifty may find a local high school that is willing to rent their 350 capacity theater to you on a weekly basis at a good rate.  Even if you were able to get 150 people at your grand opening, it’s going to seem like a small handful of people in such a large facility.  When your numbers return to a regular attendance of 75 it will require you to block off large seating sections of the theater so that people sit closer together and appear to have a fuller feeling.  Honestly, people don’t like that.

You will want to acquire a facility that allows you to grow but does not make your new church look smaller than actually is.

Ask: Is this facility the right size, allowing us to grow but not limiting our growth?

I’ve seen churches launched in dirty garages, open spaces with no bathrooms, and an old mildew ridden church that was actively flooding each time it rained.  Why would they choose these locations?  Because, well, they’re desperate. Don’t get desperate.  It will inhibit your ministry and discipleship.  Pray through your mission, vision, discipleship pathway and community ministry then find a facility that will allow you to accomplish that.  Early on encourage your launch team to begin giving funds to the church, raise money and put together a reasonable estimated ministry budget then look for a location that will neither overtax your spending or be too cheap to bring God honor.  Note how many people are on your launch team, estimate how many more people you will have at your grand opening and each week thereafter then find a facility that will allow you to do ministry, discipleship and grow into.

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