The Pros & Cons of Additional Services on One Main Campus

The Pros and Cons of Additional Services on One Main Campus

Growing churches have several options available to them as they consider how to expand (as we have discussed here). One of these options is to add additional worship services.  Starting a new service, however, comes with some pros and cons that every church should consider before launching a new one.



  1. Going from 1 to 2 services instantly doubles your seating, parking and children’s ministry space.
  2. It uses the existing building more.

The Pros & Cons of Building a Bigger Church Building

Growing churches have several options available to them as they consider how to expand (as we have discussed here). One of these options is building a larger church.  As the church grows and fills its current facilities oftentimes pastors, boards and congregations begin to start thinking about building a new building with increased sanctuary, children’s and other space. Building a new facility, however, comes with some pros and cons that every church should consider before launching a building program.

Prayer on the Land

Benefits of Building a New Building:

  1. Compared to a multisite church approach and other ways to expand, building a new and larger facility more easily allows the church to retain who it is.  The lead/senior pastor is oftentimes still the main speaker, and he is still able to preach and teach live.  The same ministries the church had before are still present, whereas at a multisite church the new campus may not have everything the main campus does.

Ways Churches Expand

Churches should grow (as we have talked about here) and when they do they should prayerfully consider when it is time to expand (as we have talked about here).  Once a church has made the decision to enlarge there are several options available to them to increase their capacity.  These might include:


A Building Program – This is perhaps the most traditional method to create space for new people.  When sanctuary, parking lot or children’s ministry space is running low, a church builds a larger building to expand capacity at the church.

When is it Time to Start Planning for Something New?

As churches grow they must develop new strategies and methods to sustain the growth that God has blessed them with.  Eventually sanctuaries fill up, parking lots become crowded and children’s ministry areas become cramped.  There are several options that churches can use to sustain their growth.  These strategies might include ideas like starting another service, going multisite or even microsite, planting another church, or expanding their current facilities. But how does a church know when it is time to begin one of these endeavors?

Charles Arn in How to Start a New Service: Your Church Can Reach New People, shares the following scale as to how a church service feels to those in attendance based on how many people are in the room:

Room Capacity Filled Unspoken Message

Growth Potential

0-30% Uncomfortably Empty Unlikely
30-40% Awkwardly Empty Low
40-60% Comfortably Empty Fair
60-85% Comfortably Full Ideal
85-100% Uncomfortably Full Low

From the scale above one might conclude that the time to start planning for something new when the church services are 85% or more full, or when the parking lot or children’s ministry space is 85% full (because the 85% capacity rule applies in these areas as well). 

A Healthy Church is A Growing Church

Churches should grow. Not all churches will necessarily become mega-churches but all churches should grow both in spiritual depth and by reaching new people. Acts 2:41-47 shares the story of a growing church.  In this church there were people who were hearing God’s word, believing, being baptized, giving to the needy and more.  In other words, they were growing in spiritual depth.

Picture1Their spiritual growth prompted them to reach out into their community, and as they reached out we read that “God added to their numbers daily” (vs 47).

This process of people growing in spiritual depth resulting in them reaching out beyond the walls of their church and in turn God adding to their numbers daily is a continuous process by which the church grows.  

Guatemala Missions Trip 2017

guat567In March of 2017 Calvary will be sending a missions team to minister to the poorest of poor children in Guatemala.   Throughout this trip we will be partnering with Latin America Childcare and Missionaries Darren and Heidi Walker.  Currently the Walkers have 563 children under their care in Guatemala, with plans to soon be caring for a 1,000.  They are striving to provide quality education, food, clean water, and most importantly Christ to these children.  Our church will be going to partner with them and help in any way we can.  For this trip we need tradesmen (construction, electrical plumbing, etc.), administrative/office workers, people who want to work with the children in the schools and in the feeding program, and anyone who has a heart for missions and kids without Christ.  For more information contact Pastor Jamie at 781-592.4722 or by email at or just come out to the informational meeting on November 15th @ 12:00 pm in room 226 at the church.

Great Resources to Aid Your Devotional Life

Quite often as a pastor I get asked for recommendations for good devotional helps.  In fact, I was asked about this again this past Sunday, so I thought I would I’d mention of few of the ones that I personally use.  Although there are many great resources available, there are several that I use on a regular basis that have helped me tremendously.


Bible Reading – Reading my Bible daily is a must, but I don’t just want to read my Bible, I want to digest it.  To do this I use two different items together.  First, I have the YouVersion Bible app on my iPad.  This gives me access to many different versions of the Bible, and also the ability to select a Bible reading plan.

Why Go On A Missions Trip?

I love mission trips. They give people the opportunity to make a huge impact on their world, and they also give the world the opportunity to impact the people that go on them. Some of the most memorable, and formative, moments of my life have been on a mission trips. (You can read about one of these moments in a post I wrote entitled “A Moment That Changed My Life“.)

Photo courtesy of ©

There are just so many reasons for people to go on a short term mission trip.  Mission trips allow people the opportunity to…

Do Something Significant

Mission trips allow people the chance to help build churches, help with evangeslitic outreaches, serve the needy, and so much more. I have helped missionaries fix their computers on a missions trip, held school assemblies, cleaned up street graffiti, played soccer with village kids, raised awareness for an organization that fights human trafficking, among many other things. The most significant thing about a mission trip, is that it you get to work alongside a missionary to help them fulfill the vision that God gave them for the people they are serving.

Learn About Others

You learn about your world on a missions trip. You learn about other cultures, customs, and people. If you want to have your world enlarged just go on missions trip to the jungles of Peru or to the city of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. You’ll see your world, and your faith, in a whole new light.

Learn About Yourself

You learn a lot about yourself on a missions trip, and find out what you are really made of. You find out if you really have a servants heart. You find out if you have a good work ethic. You find out how much you really care about other people.  You find out how deep your faith is.  And, when you know more about yourself, it gives you the opportunity to grow to new levels.

Fulfill the Great Commission

Jesus said to go and make disciples. On a short-term missions trip you may lead someone to Christ, encourage them to get involved in a local church, or teach a class that encourages them in their faith. You may have the chance to build them a church to meet in, or a Bible school to be taught in. On a short term trip you get the chance to be a part of someones walk with Christ.

Personally, I think everyone should make an effort to be a part of a missions team at some point. There are lots of great opportunities coming up to join a Calvary missions trip. Let me highlight one. In September 2012 we will be going to South Africa to do both construction and some evangelistic outreach. For the construction we need people of all skill levels (you’re welcome to come even if you have never picked up a hammer before in your life), but especially are in need of some skilled plumbers, electricians, and carpenters. For the evangelistic outreaches we simply need people who are passionate about reaching the lost. If you haven’t been on a missions trip before this would be the perfect one to join.

Will you join us in 2012? If you are interested, you can contact me at, or just come out to our first team meeting on September 18th @ 12:00 PM at the church.

10 Things Churches Should Learn From Ikea

I’ll admit, I love Ikea.  My first trip to Ikea was less than a year ago when I went to the store in Thessaloniki, Greece.  Since then I have been back to my local Ikea in Avon, Massachusetts, dozens of times.  Honestly, after visiting Ikea so many times I think there are a few things the church could learn from how they run their stores….

1. There is Something for Everyone – Although I have been to Ikea several times now, I have probably only bought furniture 3 or 4 times when I was there.  So, why would I go to Ikea if I am not going to buy furniture?  There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is because my son loves Ikea.  After entering the store the first thing you see is the children’s area.  At Ikea they will watch your kids for you while you shop (nice perk for parents).  Inside the play area there is all sorts of stuff to climb on and play with, there is always a movie playing, and there is a staff that will color and do all sorts of stuff with your kids.  In short, my son loves going to Ikea, not because of the furniture, but because they have an awesome play area that he enjoys.  And, even if your kids decide to stay with you, there are all sorts of mini kids areas throughout the store, where they can play while you shop and look around.

Most stores are not like this.  You walk in and you have to strap you kid down in the cart, because that cart is the only place for them.  Even worse is that many churches are like most stores.  They have no where for kids to go when they show up.  And even if they do have a class, they are boring and kids don’t want to go there anyway.

2. Family Oriented – Not only are their certain spots in the store for you kid, but the entire store is designed to accomadate families.  Two things stand out here.  First, family bathrooms throughout the store with clear signs pointing the way.  Any parent with a child who is having an “emergency” can appreciate this.  Second, their kids meal is about half the cost of a McDonald’s happy meal and is probably 200% more nutritious.  Not only is a good value, but they have a special area where kids can eat their lunch and watch TV and interact with other kids.  Everything from going to the bathroom, to eating, to actually shopping for furniture is designed with the family in mind.

Many churches may have children’s ministries space, but what about the rest of the church?  Family bathrooms?  Crying rooms?  Nursing mother’s rooms?    It wasn’t Ikea, but I was recently at a restaurant that had parking for “Expecting Mother’s and Mother’s of Toddlers.”  What a great idea.

3. Make It Easy for the Customer – When you walk into Ikea the first person you usually meet is the greeter, and not only does he or she greet you, but they hand you a shopping bag.  This doesn’t seem like anything big, until you walk into a BJ’s one day looking for a cart only to realize that all the carts are kept outside, and so you have to walk back out into the cold.

Are churches making things difficult for people?  Do they make it easy to get involved in a small group, get involved in ministry, to give, etc…  Or are people walking right back out the front door looking for a cart?

4. Clear Direction – I don’t believe I have ever been lost in Ikea.  Despite the fact that my local Ikea is 2 giant floors of products, I have never had to wonder which way to go, or where something is, as there are maps all over the place.  Even if you did somehow get lost, all you would have to do is look around and you would probably see a kiosk somewhere near you that has a map of the whole building and each department.  Second, not only are there maps, but there is only one way to go.  Most stores you walk around any which way you like, but at Ikea you start at the beginning and just follow the one isle to the end.  It’s the only official route. There are even arrows on the ground pointing you in the right direction, and clear signage everywhere telling you where to go.

How many churches make it difficult for people, especially first time visitors, to figure things out?  Where to park, where to sit, where that Sunday School class is at, where their kids go, is there even something for their kids?

On a spiritual level, how many people are lost wondering which way to go after they make their first visit, accept Christ, get baptized, etc…

5. They Are Flexible – There is an official route for going through the store, but there are also short-cuts for those who don’t want to take the official path.  Want to cut from bedrooms to bathrooms without having to go through dining rooms?  Not a problem, just take the short-cut.  There is the official path to make it easy for the first-time guest, but are short cuts for those who are more familiar with the store.    They make it easy for both types of people.

Are churches flexible in their approach, willing to give a bit to make it a bit easier for more people?  Or is their favorite two lines, “That’s not how we do it here”, and “This is the way we have always done it”?

6. The Unexpected – Today Ikea surprised me.  Jack and I got to Ikea a little early.  They open at 10, but we pulled into the parking lot at 9:45.  I was content to sit in my car waiting for the doors to open, but I kept noticing people going inside.  I thought I must have misunderstood the opening time, so I got Jack out of the car and we went in.   When I walked in to my surprise the greeter told me the store wasn’t officially opening until 10:00, but they were serving complimentary coffee in the cafeteria for those who got their a little early.  Contrast this with standing outside the post office waiting for them to unlock the door, 5 minutes after they were supposed to open.  Again, today, Ikea surprised me with a nice little perk.

Is church the same boring routine every week?  Or do we do things that mix it up every once in a while?  Small things like gifts for mother’s on mother’s day, and graduation gifts to graduates, go a long way in mixing things up a bit.  Bigger things like Christmas and Easter productions are important too.

7. Attention to Detail – Today I saw one of the Ikea employees cleaning the high-chairs in the cafeteria.  She wasn’t just quickly wiping down the seats, but painstakingly cleaning every square inch of every highchair.  She cleaned the legs, under the chair, the straps, everything.  Here is the crazy part….she wan’t cleaning dirty highchairs, she was actually going back through a stack of clean ones double checking to be sure they were acceptable for customers to use.

Are most churches content with good enough, or do they go the extra mile and re-clean the clean highchairs just to double check?

8. They Let You Take the Experience Home With You – Okay, I’ll admit I am a sucker for the Swedish meatballs they serve.  Those things are amazing.  But what makes them even better is that I don’t have to drive all the way to Ikea to get them, they sell them in their grocery section, which means I can buy them, bring them home and enjoy them anytime I like.

Are Sunday services everything your church offers or is there something for the rest of the week?  Home Care Groups?  Ministries?  Does your church encourage you parishioners to develop their spiritual life beyond attending church?  Are there materials for kids to take home and work on with their parents?  Or, is Sunday morning all their is?

9. It is Possible to Keep The Bathrooms Clean Even With 1,000’s of People Using Them.  Enough said.

10. They Don’t Assume You’re Smart Enough to Figure It Out – Today I noticed a small sign in one of the windows of the cafeteria.  The sign wasn’t selling any products, but rather was explaining that Ikea puts plants on the roof of it’s building to help keep its heating and cooling costs down, which helps the environment.  To be honest without this sign I would have never known this.  I probably would have thought they were doing it because it simply looked cool.

I think many churches assume a lot.  They assume that people understand what baptism, communion, raising of hands in worship and a host of other things are all about.  I wonder how many people sit through a church service, but miss out on so much because churches are assuming they understand everything that is going on?

Again, I love Ikea and I think churches could learn a lot from looking at how they run their stores.  In fact, I am sure there  is even more to learn than what I’ve listed here.  What did I miss from looking at Ikea?  What other lessons can a church learn from looking at other companies and organizations that are doing things well?


Easter Eggstravaganza

This year we are doing our annual egg hunt a little different.  Rather than just have kids search for eggs on the front lawn of the church, we are stepping it up a few notches and renting a giant inflatable obstacle course for kids to search for all the eggs in.   To go inside the obstacle course we have over 30,000 eggs stuffed with hundreds of pounds of candy!

The egg hunt will be on Easter Sunday morning at Calvary.  If any kid (age 3-11) wants to participate, all they need to do to participate is show up at one of our 3 Sunday morning kid’s services, which are at 8:30, 10:30 or 12:30.

Also, for the younger kids, who might be intimidated by the obstacle course, we have a simple bounce house, or they can simply pick some eggs up out of the grass.

Looking forward to Easter Sunday morning!  This is going to be a ton of fun!  Be sure to pass the word along, and invite all the kids you know to join us!