Case Study of Hope Community Church, Raleigh, NC
Hope Community Church out grew their new building in only 3 years leaving them needing to “make room for one more.” One more person, one more family, one more marriage. They have stated that as long as there is one more waiting they will make room for them. The church averages over 5,000 in attendance each weekend. Increasingly, attendees were driving 30 minutes or more to attend church. Hope Community felt like church should be local so that the members were going to church with those they played sports with or saw at the grocery store. Out of this idea, Hope Community Church began its multi-site initiative, “One Church, Many Locations.”
Preparing to Become Multi-Site:
At the main campus a “Hope Where You Are” kiosk was set up to keep members up to date on multi-site information. Members could go there to make a commitment to one of the three campuses (main campus, Holly Springs, or Moorisville). The campus pastor or core group members of each of the new sites were available for questions. The campus pastor of the Holly Springs site and the Morrisville site each have a blog where they keep the core group of each site updated.
The campus pastor of the Holly Springs campus was hired in March 2009. He is a member of Hope Community Church and worked with its Young Life ministry for 15 years. The remainder of the staff was hired in June and July of 2009. Staff include: campus pastor, worship leader, middle and high school ministries, KidCity K-5 Director, KidCity Nursery and Preschool Director, and administrative assistant.
In May, Hope Community Church filed documents to secure Holly Springs High School for their Sunday morning worship services. The high school seats over 500 in the auditorium and has space for the kids program and student programs. Holly Springs High School was secured as the temporary location in June.
The launch budget was $700,000. The church was also trying to raise the operational budget for the first year ($500,000). Members could give specifically to the multi-site project.
The church estimated that the new site needed 200 volunteers to provide the “Hope experience” for the expected 500 attendees. Volunteers were asked to participate in their anticipated roles at the main campus in the months leading up to the launch for training purposes.
As of July 9, 2009 there were 548 (adults and children) people committed to the Holly Springs campus. The Holly Springs core group met on Tuesday nights throughout the summer for prayer. For an hour the group prayed for the multi-site project and specific needs of the group and community. The group also met between services on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings to pray for the new site. Several times during the summer the group met for core group picnics. These different contacts were intended for the core group to socialize and become closer as a group.
The Hope Community Church Holly Spring campus launched with a 9:45 and 11:00 service. The Holly Springs Campus had the core group launch two Sundays prior to the September 27 launch. For two Sundays the core group had full worship services with all activities that would take place on launch Sunday.
The Strikers are the volunteers who are responsible for the set up and take down of all the Hope Community equipment. The volunteers arrive at Holly Springs High School at 7 am on Sunday mornings for set up. Take down is complete by early afternoon.
Hope Community has contracted with a company called Portable Church Industries. All of their equipment fits into storage units that fit securely into one of two trailers. Each storage unit is numbered with a diagram for where the unit should be placed in the trailer. The company provides all the worship equipment as well as signage in parking lot and throughout building, black curtain dividers, equipment for middle school worship, equipment for nursery and childrens' classrooms.
Two wings of the high school are designated for KidCity. KidCity has a director for the preschool program and director for K-5. In each of the classrooms desks are moved to the side and the room is transformed in to KidCity with dividers and all the equipment needed to make the room kid friendly. All of the equipment is stored in the black storage units that fit securely in the trailers mentioned earlier.
Middle School Worship:
During the 11:00 service only the middle school age students have their own worship and small group discussion. The middle school worship area is equipped with two TV screens and audio equipment. All of the equipment is stored in the black storage units that fit securely in the trailers mentioned earlier. Currently the senior high students have a combined worship service at the main Hope Community Church campus on Sunday nights.
On September 27, 2009 Hope Community Church launched the first site of their multi-site initiative in Holly Springs, NC. Before we even entered the high school campus we were greeted by volunteers wearing light blue Hope T-shirts smiling and waving us into the parking lot. Once in the parking lot the parking attendants were wearing bright orange t-shirts directing us where to park. As we were walking into the high school volunteers were positioned along our path in their light blue Hope t-shirts directing us into the building. Once inside we were greeted with a visitor packet and directed to the worship center where we were assisted in finding a seat in the auditorium. There was no question upon entering campus as to where to go for worship. From the time we turned onto the road to Holly Springs High School to the time we took our seats in worship we had contact with at least 20 volunteers.
The high school auditorium was the site for the worship center. The stage was set up with three screens, lighting and sound equipment that was all from Hope Community Church. The band consisted of drums, two guitars, a bass guitar, and keyboard. Worship was lead by a worship leader and three members of a worship team. The campus pastor welcomed everyone to worship and opened the service with prayer. After singing several worship songs we were seated and the senior pastor of Hope Community came on the screen. The screen in the center of the stage was positioned so the the pastor appeared to be sitting right there on the stage. The two screens on the side of the stage were raised and showed the pastor close up. The scripture passages were shown one the side screens at the bottom of the screen with the video of the pastor never leaving the screen. The video of the pastor's message was from the Saturday night service from the main campus. The service concluded with another song by the worship team. The campus pastor gave announcements and dismissed everyone as the band played. While leaving the auditorium we were handed 3x5 inch card to hand to people inviting them to the new Holly Springs campus of Hope Community Church. The invitations look like a portion of a Monopoly board and have all the information about the church. The campus pastor was available after the service to greet members and visitors. Volunteers were also available to pray with anyone with prayer needs.
From a visitor's perspective the launch of Hope Community Church Holy Springs appeared to be seamless. The timing of the technology was perfect, the volunteers were well trained and the staff well prepared. At no time during our experience did we feel like this was their launch Sunday. If the campus pastor had not mentioned that it was launch Sunday it is very possible that we would not have known.
First site: Holly Springs, NC September 27, 2009
Second Site: Morrisville, NC December 2009