Next month, our church is planning to sponsor our forth church-start in as many years. They are Westwind Church (2008), Veritas Church (2010), New Heights Church (2012), and Cornerstone Church of Ankeny (September 2012). Each one has a similar style and model of church life but with slightly varying approaches. Together, these new churches represent nearly 1000 worshippers gathering weekly. It’s time to stop and reflect on some of the lessons learned, however, some of th0se lessons won’t apply to other church starting models. This series will have five posts for church planters and five for sponsoring churches.
Five lessons learned for sponsoring churches, Lesson 2: Selecting the church location
How we selected the locations…
- Demographic information: growing population in the last decade of both city (>10,000) and county (>40,000). These numbers are somewhat arbitrary, but we want to make sure that we cover the larger cities first.
- Preferably a college or university with >2000 students. If we have to identify a “people group” that we are targeting it is “the next generation”. Our ministry is geared for twenty somethings, but relevant for others including a strong children’s and small group ministry.
- Low ratio of evangelicals to population. See this site for help. No similar churches to the type that we will plant. This is pretty subjective and requires some investigation.
- Existing relationships in the community. We look for groups of people that are driving more than thirty minutes to our worship service. Ideally we’ll start a church or multi-site when we find at least fifty people.
- Meeting sites available. Just want to confirm that the schools aren’t anti-church or that there is a selection of spaces to meet in. So far this hasn’t been a big problem.
- We have identified eleven cities to target, see map. After starting in these cities in the next few years, we’ll adjust our strategy and look for ten more cities that are similar though outside of our state or that are the next size smaller, but inside of our state. We understand that we’ll probably need to adjust our ministry model as we deviate from contexts that are close to our own. We are also identifying three or four cities internationally to send church planting teams to. We have about twenty students preparing to join these teams.
What would you add or modify?