Where does a new church gather for worship and other corporate functions? We’ve all heard of multiple creative spots—schools, theaters, restaurants are the most common. Many of us have experienced using a variety of spots in the early days. Our church plant met in 9 different spots in our first 4 months! Then we used a porta-church restaurant for 14 months, then a 24/7 leased space for 2 years, now a leased space we’ve modified many times over the last 15 years. There have been pros and cons to each arrangement, some more obvious than others.
- Porta-church. I know some congregations who use this option for a long time. One church I’m close with will turn 10 years old this fall and they just moved into their 4th Sunday only space. They’ve used two movie multi-plex, a university campus, and now are in a high school. The pros include their relatively low cost of facilities—which has allowed them to be an extremely aggressive missions church from the beginning. Born just a month after 9/11, they’ve been serving their city, their region, and around the world since before they opened their doors. The downsides include the continued effort it takes to setup and strike their venues every week. It just gets tiring—but in the challenge is the opportunity to involve teams in entry-level ministry.
- Leased space. Having a 24/7 space to not only worship in weekend services but also to hold ministry meetings, host community gatherings, stage ministry functions, and house staff has lots of benefits. Even a presence in the community can be strengthened by a place. Costs to do fit-up can be a challenge, especially for a brand-new congregation—but the long-term wear and tear on bodies and equipment is far less. And when the roof leaks, you call the landlord!
Look for Part 2 of this article to be posted here soon.