Before you run headlong into the microsite revolution, take some time to work through this launch checklist with your team. You’ll be glad you prepped when things get messy down the road (and they will).
- Have a good reason for why you want to launch a microsite.
- Make sure there’s truly a need for a microsite. (Have you explored other options first?)
- Test the stats to see if a microsite makes sense.
- Think through how microsites will function within your church.
- Determine who will lead the microsite on the ground in the area and what authority that person has.
- Plan out how you’ll resource a microsite.
- Put together some documents that outline your plans (these will force you to make sure what you’re thinking makes sense).
- Figure out what “success” looks like for your microsite and how you’ll measure it.
- Figure out where to launch your microsite.
- Figure out the flow of service, how the sermon will be delivered, when the site will gather, and how your worship will work.
- Figure out where people will park, where people will sit (and how many can sit there), and how you’ll handle response times.
- Purchase the equipment and technology you’ll need to stream video, gather information about guests (e.g., an iPad), or lead worship.
- Check to make sure your music and other copyright licenses are up to date.
- Check to make sure you have enough users for your software or cloud-based technology solutions (e.g., church management software).
- Determine how (or if) you’ll advertise the microsite (website, social media, word of mouth only).
- Ship or deliver any necessary print materials for the microsite (connect cards, worship guides, small group guides, etc.).
- Connect with a solid core group of people in the area and begin to cast vision to them (look for committed people who drive in from the area).
- Determine if the sponsoring church will be sending staff or volunteers to help and how often that will happen.
- Just as you would with a campus, tap your key leaders for guest services, small groups, and worship. (Don’t leave this until after launch.)
- Provide training to these key volunteers at least a month before launch.
- Do a soft launch at least once before the “real thing.”
Your timeline will depend on your unique situation, but the order of events will usually be set. This also assumes that you’ve already worked through the pre-timeline logistics.
One Year to Six Months Before Launch
- Determine the microsite leader.
- Begin training and resourcing the leader.
- Identify key members of the team.
Six to Three Months Before Launch
- Gather your key leaders together for worship, prayer, and vision casting at least once.
- The leader should meet with the key leaders one on one at least once during this window.
- Finalize logistical plans for your microsite.
- Make sure all technology is in place and working.
- Cast vision in your small groups that meet in the area.
Three Months Before and up to Launch
- Perform training with all volunteers.
- Gather again for worship, prayer, and vision casting.
- Do at least one soft launch before you launch for real. (The goal is to make sure you clean up any problem areas. I highly recommend you do this at least once each month.)
- Evaluate your first service and make adjustments.
- Continue training your microsite leader and key volunteers.
- Celebrate in videos and social media!
- Continually monitor the effectiveness and health of the microsite.
- Include microsite leaders in your strategic planning.