How a Ministry Disappointment Turned into a Powerful Development!
(Live or Memorex? This is a picture of our video feed from our Unplugged Service in our Theater Venue)
In 2013 when we came to realize that we would not be building a large new adult worship auditorium, we had to take a step back and refocus on the essence of the mission. (You can read more about that HERE)
We needed to reaffirm that we are NOT about buildings and technology, we are about HOPE and HEALING.
Our passion is to see lives changed by the love of Jesus Christ.
Yet, we still had a real problem. How do we make room at our Salisbury campus for all the people God is bringing us?
When we went back to the drawing board we realized that, as the owners of a shopping center, we had all the space we needed to reach all the people God wanted. We just needed to use the space in a new way!
A venue is simply a room where a targeted worship service is held. Every church uses targeted venues. They have a venue targeted for children. Another targeted for teens, and at least one targeted for their adults.
Multi-venue for adults is when you have more than one adult worship service meeting at the same time yet in different rooms. Each has its own worship band and the message is piped in via video. You can think of a venue as a micro-church.
THE VENUE FORMULA
In order to make multi-venue successful, we learned a few things from churches across the country using this approach (particularly North Coast Church). What we learned from them we modified into a formula for venue success:
Ambience is how the room/service makes the attender feel. You could have one venue that feels like a rock concert, and another that feels like a living room. Musical style is one of the biggest variables that determine ambiance, but it is not the only variable. We choose different ambience environments based on who we are trying to reach. Every venue should be focused on your target.
Quality of experience. A venue is not an overflow room. The quality factor for a venue means that the attender doesn’t feel penalized by going to that particular venue. The quality of experience should be the same for every venue. Sometimes a venue might offer a perk as an incentive for the crowd such as free donuts for an early service.
Ownership – Everything rises and falls on leadership and that’s certainly also true for a venue. We’ve found that venues are successful when they are led by a venue team of three cords (Ecclesiastes 4:12) – VpWpTd:
VENUE PASTOR – the Venue Pastor is not just an emcee. The Venue Pastor leads the venue team, guards the ambiance and quality of experience, and pastors the attenders.
WORSHIP PASTOR – the Worship Pastor partners with the Venue Pastor and Tech Director, pastors the worship team, and leads the venue attenders into a life-changing worship experience.
TECH DIRECTOR – the Tech Director partners with the Worship Pastor and Venue Pastor, and leads the venue tech team to provide a quality worship experience.
BENEFITS OF VENUES
1. Stewardship – video venues can save the church millions of dollars. Our church just renovated a room for a new adult venue. Building the same venue would have cost us five times more in new construction!
2. Leadership – video venues open the door for multiplying leaders. It also creates an environment for burgeoning pastors to grow in.
3. Invitership– (ok, I made that word up) Offering different music styles in each venue puts more hooks in the water to catch more fish! If a visitor comes to one venue and says that it wasn’t really their cup of tea, then the member can immediately say, “Have you checked out our other adult service? You might like it more!” Also, since a venue is a room, you could offer multiple service styles in that same room during different time slots.
Our church has made the decision to invest in the venue model as an expansion strategy and we are very excited to watch how God will use this tool.
There’s nothing wrong with building new buildings, but we must never let the lack of a building stop us from expanding the mission of reaching people for Jesus!
Let’s be faithful to use all we have in the best way we can to the glory of God!
CrystalPosted at 15:16h, 13 March
Are there any down sides to venues?
Brian MossPosted at 15:31h, 13 March
Hey Crystal, thanks for writing! Yes, 1) they add several layers of complexity, 2) they require more volunteers and leaders, 3) they require subtle changes in how messages are delivered, 4) there are ramifications to set design and lighting for the live venue stage, 5) roles, processes and structures have to be clarified.
Going to multi-venue needs to be a well thought out commitment, but I believe it is one well worth the work.