Multisite church facilities are much more common these days, and it’s sometimes hard to remember that the idea is pretty new. Started in the mid-1980s, multisite facilities are where a church meets in multiple locations, and they are a great way to reach out to new neighborhoods and avoid overcrowding your existing facilities. Each type of multisite location offers advantages and disadvantages. Our main focus in this post will be the ways that a good church interior design plan can address the challenges of a multisite school location.
We’re Not Just About Building Church Buildings
In the U.S. today, there are about 8,000 multisite church facilities. While 37% of those facilities actually are churches, the rest are not. A few multisite churches meet in theaters, and just over ten percent meet in commercial buildings like office buildings, assembly halls, and old storefronts. Half of multisite church facilities are schools.
You might be surprised that a church construction company is blogging about how churches can use schools for their multisite facilities—rather than encouraging you to build a new church building—but the mission statement of The McKnight Group explains why. “Enabling ministries with buildings that work” is a key phrase in our mission statement, and we believe that many types of buildings can work to reach people’s lives for Christ—not just official church buildings.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Schools
Obviously, using a school facility isn’t ideal at all levels, but there are good, solid reasons why schools work. With appropriate touches from a church interior design perspective, you can make a school work well as a multisite facility. The reasons for using schools include location—because schools are neighborhood based, allowing you to target your ministry’s growth to specific areas in town—and parking, which generally is going to be enough for your needs. Each school will also usually have an auditorium or gym for worship and lots of classrooms for your church school program.
Of course, there are disadvantages as well. You can’t store anything in the building during the week (schools are always short on storage space!) and you can’t have church meetings in the facility during the week. You also have to give careful thought to weekly setup and teardown, because you have to bring everything in each time, and store your equipment elsewhere during the week.
A Solid Church Interior Design Plan for a School Building
So what will you need to bring into the school each week? If you’re using a gym for your worship space, you’re likely to need some sort of covering for the floor, and lots of chairs. You’ll need sound and projection equipment, banners, and good signs to help visitors find their way around. A good church interior design plan for a school might include a temporary café so that people have a place to gather, and kiosks where greeters can help newcomers find their way around. All of these things need an organized setup and teardown plan, as well as a trailer or other portable storage unit where everything can go at the end of church each week.
You also need to consider a good team of people to staff those kiosks and to welcome visitors in the parking lot and at entrances, to help them find their way around. Your church’s website is another place to provide good information and solidify your brand, so when people see banners at the school with similar logos, they will feel like they are at your church no matter which location they are at.
As you can see, multisite facilities are a great way to grow your mission, but you have to think carefully about the logistics, and create a flexible and portable church interior design that makes people feel at home, no matter what kind of building they’re worshipping in. For more information on creating buildings that work, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series.