We’re starting a new church called Hope Chapel Honolulu.
Actually, we’ve been around for several years as an extension service of our mother church, Hope Chapel Kaneohe Bay. But we’ve decided to kick it up a notch.
One very interesting aspect of all this is the growth and opportunities which exploded once we made the announcement. Attendance is up by nearly fifty percent in just a few months. Though we are still fairly small we’ve launched two people into ministry since our ‘startup.’
As an extension, we met in a movie theater for several years. Once the independent identity got on the table, thoughts of a permanent campus crept into our minds.
We got disappointed by an empty upscale restaurant, a historic building near the city center and two floors of an office building in the Honolulu business district. Parking was the major roadblock in all but the restaurant (The landlord wants to rent only to retail businesses).
As it turned out, each location would have been too small for our growing congregation from the minute that we went ‘official.’
Enter The Virtual Office
Turns out, the theater is the best location for now. Because it is in a large air-conditioned mall, it offers tons of parking and a myriad of restaurants. We setup and teardown every Sunday but when we walk away we don’t need to worry about maintenance or any other issues –ever. It’s a nice setup!
But, we need space to operate during the week. Worship teams need practice space. Different groups want to host fellowship breakfasts. The large, and growing, leadership team (over fifty percent of the congregation) needs a location for bi-monthly meetings. The list goes on, and on and on…
The obvious solution was to rent an office space, but there was a hitch in our plan.
We didn’t want to turn good volunteers out of a job. Our current, “virtual office,” keeps lots of skin in the game. Everything from Dropbox to email to an online database serves us well. It also produces church ‘ownership’ for everyone who serves. An office with a couple of faithful volunteers would suck up so many tasks that they would cut or workforce by nearly ten percent—not good!
So we decided that we would never use the word, “office.” The place would become our “Disciplemaking Center.” Sounds good, but we think we have a better idea…
An Intentionally Virtual Campus
We soon realized that we’d be shelling out some serious bucks for space that would sit empty much of the time (Honolulu real estate is costly).
That realization led to innovation. The new plan is for an “intentionally virtual campus.” We’ll capture the money that would go toward a lease and use it to rent whatever facility we need for each function. We found a recording studio where our worship teams can practice for fifty dollars a night. We can use rent money to underwrite the cost of a men’s breakfast in a hotel. The same hotel can host a Friday/Saturday couple’s conference. Our leadership team meets in the large meeting room at a brand-new public library—we pay next to nothing. The list goes on, but you can see where this is headed.
By refusing to tie ourselves to a single location, we’ve opened ourselves to dozens of them.
The ‘campus’ will grow with the congregation. And it will morph as our needs change. We even think it will save us money. Good so far? It gets better when you consider that we are able to use over a billion dollars worth of real estate over any given month. This includes the mall where some of our people spend the entire day fellowshipping after church. We choose from several hotels. And our MiniChurches meet in homes. Tally the cost of all that real estate and we are a startup church in an enviable position.