As part of my July study break, I visited four churches the last two Sundays to see how they do church in the school building setting. Chesterfield County is extremely receptive to schools renting their buildings on Sundays. And since we will be moving from the movie theater to Tomahawk Creek Middle School in January, I thought it would be a good chance to see first hand how school churches set up and function.
I was well received at all four schools. I was right up front as I arrived at the door. I explained that we were moving into a school and would like to check out how they did church each week. I was given unlimited access to all the set up areas at all the churches.
After my visits I sat down and listed what I learned from my school church experience. Here’s the findings.
If we get in-house storage at TCMS we will be the only one I am aware of at a school in this county.
It is not the quality of materials but the excellence, warmth and energy of the people that made the biggest difference.
People will travel long distances for these elements.
Exponential growth can take place in a school setting.
Everything needs to be clearly marked with appropriate signage.
Each children’s department needs professionally designed signage.
Storage units need to be compact and easily transportable.
All four churches served beverages.
Beverages and just light snacks were served at the fastest growing church.
Preschool areas can be effectively set up in wide hall areas.
K-5th grade needs a larger assembly area with breakout capacity.
The most traditional church had the least guests.
The friendliest church was the fastest growing one.
I was spoken to by the first three people I met leaving early worship, walking to their car, at the fastest growing church.
Rear projection is great.
You can do the entire set up in an hour even without on site storage.
Praying together before services for all set up people was a common practice.
It would be a good idea to visit a school church to get first hand insight.
Video messaging is catching on.
The welcome area can be scaled down and still be effective.
None of the churches offered CD’s of messages, at least I didn’t see any.
Wearing matching florescent t-shirts is a great way to identify children’s workers.
Service times advertised on their website are not always correct.
The fastest growing church gave me a VIP personal tour of their operation.
Schools are cleaner, smell better and are better lighted than theaters.
We are the only church that offers our own apparel line.
So there you have it. It was a great experience as we begin to make our initial relocation and relaunch plans to Tomahawk Creek Middle School.