What if multisite churches had temporary locations?

I want this blog to focus on helping church leaders execute with excellence.  I try to focus on practical ideastips and tools to make the life of church leadership easier.  This week I’m diverting from my normal approach and talking about three ideas that I don’t think any church is doing . . . yet.

“The chief enemy of creativity is “good” sense.” – Pablo Picasso

Over the last few years there has been a small trend that has caught my eye.  Retail brands are employing a strategy of creating deliberately temporary locations that appear out of no where . . . draw in an audience . . . then disappear or morph into another form as quickly as they appeared.  This strategy is employed to launch a product line, test a new concept or simply surprise and delight customers. Some examples of stores that have done this . . .

  • When the airline “Song” launched in 2003 . . . they opened a “sample lounge” in Soho where people could see their seats (complete with TV in the seats backs . . . big deal back in 2003) and learn more about the airline.  It closed down one month later. [Song in the City]
  • Meow Mix Cafe . . . a “cafe for cats” targeting the NYC cat herders. (A huge market – by the way!)  They are attempting to be the “Ben & Jerry’s of Cat Food” and helped that image with a restaurant for felines that was only open for one week.  With NYC residents and their cats lined up around the corner to get in! [Cat Restaurant for a Week]
  • Nike Runner’s Lounge – a temporary shoe store that Nike has been popping up all over the place around popular running routes leading up to big races. The locations let people test drive shoes, meet with other runners and increases Nike’s brand presence in the running community. [Temporary Nike Store Photos]

The part of this trend that appeals to me is that is attempts to take an organization’s “brand” to where the customers are . . . rather than keep asking people to come to them.  Sound familiar?  Take church to the people . . . that’s our goal and multisite churches are set up with the systems to leverage this trend.  We already know about extending our experience into new locations and have multiple campuses to point people back to after they have experienced the temporary one.

What if we . . .

  • Rented a Party Bus every weekend during football season and took church to the tailgaters?  These buses have great sound and video systems . . . a way to serve drinks . . . and fantastic seating.  We could run worship services every hour on the hour leading up to game time!
  • Hosted services during the summer in the vacation towns our people go to?  Here is Jersey it would be us hosting services at the Jersey Shore . . . who knows maybe Snooki and The Situation would show up!
  • Rather than just complaining about how “over commercialized Christmas has become” . . . what if we opened a temporary location in a Mall this Christmas that served the shoppers (provided a place to put their feet up . . . maybe some Dave Ramsey credit counseling?) and hosted services during the week.

Taking church to where people are at would be a way to promote our locations . . . engage our culture . . . and have a lot of fun. Can you think of some locations that is might be great for your multisite church to set up a “pop up” location . . . not with the intention of being there for a long time . . . but just to serve the people who are in that place and then move on? I’d love to hear your ideas!  [Comment now]

Next week we’re back into providing practical tools and tips for church leaders.  We’re going to be talking about one of the best approaches to recruiting team members that I’ve ever seen or participated in . . . and we’re all looking for ways to build our volunteer community!


  1. I love this Rich! I think there are opportunities in everyone’s local context to do something like this.

    What are the local events/times of year that draw people together? Although I am new here, I have learned that in the summer softball/baseball are big. So why not take a mobile center down to the softball complex, distribute water and offer video services? Or at the county fair? During the peak shopping season pre-Christmas in downtown?

    Tim Stevens did some posts recently that talked about the 40% of people who will never come to a church, so the church has to change their paradigm to reach those people. This definitely be one method!

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