What I Learned From School Churches

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.

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3 thoughts on “What I Learned From School Churches

  1. What’s this video messaging? Recording the entire message in video beforehand and playing it? Or recording the message while it’s being done and making it available afterwards?

    Rear projection – do you mean what we currently do?

    But did have any of those churches offer online audio of their messages?

  2. video messaging is when the message is by means of video ve. a live teacher. two of the churches i visited were satellites of a mother church in the area and the message each week is the lead pastor of the main campus delivered to the church plant and played in the mail service.

    no, rear projection is not what we have, projecting from the rear of the auditorium. it is a projector set up and projecting from behind the screen instead of from in front of it.are you pulling my leg?

    and to tell you the truth, i don’t know if they offer online messages but i will check their website. i would guess that one and maybe two do.

  3. “The friendliest church was the fastest growing one.”

    I would say that would be a no brainer. Why would anyone want to go to or come back to a church that wasn’t friendly to their first time, 2nd time, etc. guests/members?

    WWJD? Look directly in the eyes of the new person(s) and give them HIS undivided attention. Yes? We are called to love one another “as much as” we love ourselves. So, I guess, we need to be a church that loves ourselves so we CAN love one another.

    Thanks for the input on what you found, Steve.

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