7 Tools for Researching Rental Church Facilities

Is your church launching a new campus? Or are you moving from one rental facility to another? At some point in your church’s journey, you’re going to be looking at new sites. Here are some tips for what to bring along when you visit potential locations:

  • Smartphone Camera // You can’t take too many pictures when you’re exploring a new site. You may only be in the location a few times before you’ll be making a decision about whether or not you’d like to move in there. Some suggestions of things to take pictures of:
    • Maps // Schools won’t release maps of their buildings for security reasons but keep an eye out for one posted on the wall and snap a shot.
    • Exterior Signage // If you are visiting multiple locations in a day, take a picture of the front of the building before you take interior photos. It will help you remember which images are from which locations.
    • Entrances // Document where your gear will come in and out of the building. Often this is overlooked in a site tour but it’s important information.
  • Laser Tape Measure // You’ll need to measure all kinds of items on your tour … room sizes, door widths, heights of stages, hall lengths, roof heights, etc. These tools make it so much faster to capture data for future reference.
  • Business Cards // Touring rental facilities is as much about connecting with the building leadership and the custodial staff you’ll be interacting with as it is about exploring the facilities. Make sure you have a handful of your business cards to hand out to the people you meet. You want to make it easy for them to contact you with questions they might have.
  • Roles for Teams Members // Make sure everyone on your team knows what their piece of the puzzle is before you visit a location. Assign someone to measure the rooms that you see … empower your family ministry people to explore those rooms … make sure you have someone who is looking at the facility from a “portability” point of view. Having a group wandering aimlessly through a facility will ensure that you don’t maximize your efforts.
  • Facility Needs Checklist // Sit down with your team beforehand … or open up a Google Doc … and develop a “needs” list. Does the facility have enough seats in the main auditorium? Is it air-conditioned? Where will the room for nursing mothers be? Decide on what you need to see before you arrive to ensure you invest your time wisely.
  • Community Map // When you visit a location don’t just look at the interior of the building. Take time to explore the neighborhood. Grab a coffee at a local coffee shop to get a sense of the community’s vibe. Drive around to see what’s happening locally. Use a map to see where people will be driving in from and drive that route. How does it feel as people arrive?
  • Note Pad // Take lots of notes! Slow down and capture information and impressions of the various spaces at each location. List the names of the people you meet. A well-written note can save you time, effort and energy in the future.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.