Josh Whitehead on Portable Instead of Permanent for Your Next Campus

Welcome, everyone, to this week’s edition of the unSeminary podcast. I’m happy to have Dr. Josh Whitehead with us today. He’s the executive pastor of Faith Promise Church.

Faith Promise Church is a vibrant church in Tennessee with a really relevant message and worship experience. Today the church has eight locations and an average attendance of 7500 people, as well as an online presence. While most of Faith Promise’s campuses are in permanent locations, their most recent one is portable. Josh talks with us today about how Faith Promise made that decision and the way they approached a successful portable church location.

  • Learn how to start off right. // Few churches in their Knoxville, TN area have survived being a portable location and so Faith Promise was hesitant to try it. Early on they had attempted campuses as portable locations, but ultimately made the decision to move them to a permanent sites. In these previous situations, Josh says that they began portability in the worst way by choosing a location that took hours to set up, or not having the right supplies and tools to set up efficiently. These experiences turned them off from seeking a portable location again for a long time. But when they considered the idea again, the staff at Faith Promise knew they had to find a way to make portability work. Finding permanent locations for each campus is an expensive business, so portability is well worth considering in spite of the challenges. So Faith Promise worked with Portable Church Industries to develop a solution in an area high school.
  • Use demographics. // Faith Promise knew they had a community nearby where a lot of people had visited their church, but didn’t stay because of the distance. It was a prime area for a campus, but a permanent facility would be far too expensive in this area. So Faith Promise used a system called a Campus Launch Dashboard to evaluate what sites might be feasible for a new campus. In this form they fill out information and color code using red, yellow, or green based on where they are in each area. It identifies concerns such as available parking, space for kids’ ministry, and number of households in the area, as well as how many people have visited another campus from that community, but not stayed. As Josh notes, even driving 20 minutes to church is a stretch for people around rural Knoxville, so having a campus nearby is a big deal. You can download the Campus Launch Dashboard document for reference here.
  • Make an investment. //Ultimately Faith Promise decided to reach out to a local high school in the area they were targeting. Early on, the principal and school staff were hesitant to allow the church to use their building. But the staff at Faith Promise worked to come alongside the school and truly foster a win-win relationship with the school. Though this high school was located in an affluent area, they were severely under-resourced. So Faith Promise made it clear that they wanted to invest in the school through the use of the location. Whenever the school had an assembly, they had needed to rent AV equipment, so one of the ways Faith Promise served them was by working with Portable Church Industries to update the school’s equipment. The church uses the technology to provide the sound and video system they need for their weekend services, and in turn the school uses it for their own presentations during the week.
  • Look for ways to serve. // The church also cleaned the high school and improved the look of the building, by pressure washing the outside and planting new flower beds. Needless to say this took a huge burden off of the principal and staff who would otherwise have been responsible for cleaning the school at the beginning of the school year. Seeing the church doing these things for them opened the principal’s heart to checking out the church for himself.

You can learn more about Faith Promise Church at their website www.faithpromise.orgDownload the Campus Launch Dashboard document.

Thank You for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, but you chose unSeminary, and I’m grateful for that. If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons you see at the left hand side of this page. Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes, they’re extremely helpful when it comes to the ranking of the show and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally!

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live! 

Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // TripIt

Ministries Following // Life.Church

Influential Book // No Limits by John C. Maxwell

What does he do for fun // Travel with family

Contact // Church Website:  and Josh’s Email Address

Leave a Response

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.