This is the question a pastor from College Park Church posed to his congregation. It was part of the church’s internal due diligence process to determine if a move to a new multisite campus was warranted. For a church that’s deeply committed to being part of its community, College Park needed to be sure its DNA would carry over to a new campus.
The pastor’s question was simple—but strategic. For College Park, it helped identify a real, tangible factor that would indicate the need for another campus. And it showed that the church understood the proper sequence of steps to take before pulling the trigger on going multisite. They were making sure that they were ready, before aiming, and long before shooting.
Far too often, I see churches shoot first, then aim, and then ready themselves. And, as a result, the outcome is as disastrous as you’d expect.
If you’re considering a new—or another—site for a church, here are three questions you can ask to help ensure you’re ready, before you aim and fire:
1. What’s Our DNA?
To fully understand your interests in and need for a new space—other than just to add more room—you need to dig into what makes you uniquely you. Who are you? What are your own ministry offerings, and what are the purposes behind those? What’s the missional mindset of your church and will this new space resonate with that? What’s the intent of the new space? What ministries are you planning to offer, and how would you structure it? By asking these DNA-related questions you’ll begin to uncover if you’re even ready to consider making such a move.
2. What’s the Feasibility?
I’ve seen numerous churches try to avoid spending money at the front end to determine the feasibility of a building site. Instead, they often make the rash decision to purchase a certain amount of acreage just because other churches are doing the same. But churches that try to skimp on the cost of due diligence up front typically end up paying a much higher price later. Unidentified requirements and restrictions, for instance, can force a church to downsize its building plans—or abandon the project all together. To help avoid these pitfalls, be sure to invest in a proper site evaluation. Saving money isn’t always the best way to steward financial resources. It pays to do due diligence, even if it costs more up front.
3. What About Logistics?
If you’re going to develop a new site, you’re going to need staff and resources at that location. It may seem obvious, but, here again, I can’t tell you how many churches I know that own land and have done nothing with it. And they may never do anything with it, because they didn’t ask the important questions up front—How will the new property affect your current logistics? Will you be hiring a new campus pastor or sending over an associate pastor? What about support staff? Who all is needed and what’s the right type of personnel to serve that community? How will you hold the service? Will you be independent or simulcast from the main campus? There are many layers to peel back before even selecting and buying a site.
So how about you? Has your church asked these questions? What discoveries did you make?