So why don’t churches make better use of their space? One word – change! Generally speaking, the physical issues are not as difficult to overcome as leading people, especially the group leaders, to change! This one issue is why many churches fail to address their space problem.
Here are some of my thoughts to help you think through the process of asking a class to relocate or start a new group in an off-campus facility:
- Connect the move to the direction and purpose of the church.
- Meet with the leader prior to meeting with the entire group. For many groups, once the group leader understands what is involved, he or she will take care of letting the group know the plan.
- Have a plan. Share your reasoning with the group. Bring some statistics if needed.
- Make heroes of groups that give up space and relocate. When you start a new group or relocate an existing class to a restaurant down the street – praise the group for being pioneers!
- Move adult groups often. This helps prevent the “this is our room” syndrome from forming.
- The absolute best way to relocate a class (or start a new group for that matter) is for the group’s leader to initiate the conversation. People accept change better when the immediate leader of the group (the teacher), both initiates and supports the change.
Ultimately, one of our key leadership roles as a pastor, Sunday School Director, or Minister of Education is to help people step forward into change. Let’s face it, your church cannot afford NOT to change! Too many of our churches are plateaued and declining and a major reason behind this decline are our comfort zones. We have simply become comfortable where we are, and that comfort causes us to be poor stewards of our facilities and opportunities.
As a general rule, I have found that when people understand the plan they are willing to make the changes necessary to help the church be a good steward of its space and facilities.