The beautiful thing about a microsite church is that the meeting space can vary to fit what’s available in the community or city. I’ve seen them done successfully in dozens of locations, and I’m always impressed by the passion and desire of people to make them happen no matter the limitations.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one (and I’ll keep adding to it), but I hope it gives you some ideas for your microsites. Just keep in mind that the tiers below are meant to give you a quick overview, but costs may vary from one location to another. In other words, no promises.
And one other quick not on these. If you use a temporary space each week, you’ll need to figure out storage for all your gear (such as TV/projectors, sound equipment, etc.). You may also need to factor in the cost of a trailer or storage unit and plan to have a team of volunteers ready to help.
Potentially Rent Free
- Homes: This is the easiest and most common starting place for many microsites. The cost investment is minimal, but just know the logistics of managing larger groups can be tough (e.g., parking, seating, childcare).
- Neighborhood Clubhouses: Sometimes, the use of a neighborhood clubhouse is included in HOA fees. It’s a good place to jump to if you outgrow a house or if you’re targeting a certain neighborhood.
- Apartment Complex Community Spaces: Some apartment buildings have viewing rooms or other common spaces for tenants. This is a great way to reach the apartment community.
- College Campuses: Your local university may have spaces that students can use free of charge, such as meeting rooms, fraternity/sorority houses, campus organization buildings, and more. Ask your college students or faculty to point you in the right direction.
- Church Buildings: This may seem odd, but some microsites meet in church buildings. This is especially true with smaller churches that no longer meet on a regular basis or have a schedule that you can work around.
Potentially Lower Cost
- Restaurants: Some restaurants are closed on Sunday mornings and have plenty of seating, which makes this work. (But keep in mind that microsites can meet whenever you choose.)
- Gyms: There’s lots of open space in a gym for a larger gathering (especially in rooms designed for group workouts). But you’ll most likely have to set up and tear down each week.
- Community Centers: Some communities and towns have spaces you can rent for a low fee, which you can usually find on the community website. Just make sure you read the fine print on the contract; otherwise, you may end up having to use their equipment. Also, some of these spaces may not be the nicest.
- Libraries: Libraries often have larger meeting rooms for community events. Just know that some smaller branches have limited hours throughout the week.
- State Park Facilities: Some state parks offer conference centers or meeting rooms for a low rental fee.
- Corporate Office Buildings: Ask local business owners if they’d be willing to allow you to use meeting rooms or other large spaces in their buildings.
Potentially Higher Cost
- Shopping Malls: Many malls in America are hurting, and they need reliable tenants. You’d have plenty of parking and flexibility for the space.
- Group Lodges/Camps: Some rural or vacation areas have lodges or camps owned by faith-based and non-profit organizations. You may even find one with solid AV equipment.
- Local Event Spaces: If a space is good enough for a wedding, it can work for a microsite gathering. Plus, Sunday mornings aren’t often high-demand times for these spaces. You could get a discount for longterm use.
- Theaters: Movie theaters already host a number of churches, and some chains even have staff who help make this happen. But don’t overlook smaller local theaters as an option. They’re often landmarks that people know how to find easily.
- Hotels/Conference Centers: This option can be pricier and come with additional requirements for what equipment you’re allowed to use (so, read the contract carefully). But you often get a higher level of quality.
- Prisons: Some churches have microsites that meet in local or state prisons. The requirements and restrictions can make this tricky (e.g., you may have to send in DVDs/thumbdrives of the sermon, you may not be able to meet every week, etc.). So, work with a chaplain or local/state official to get the details. No matter what, though, this is an incredible outreach opportunity.
- Public/Private Schools: Schools have plenty going for them to allow your microsite to grow. But in some locations, legal issues can make using the buildings tougher.