These are my notes from session three of the pre-conference at the 2011 Orange Conference.  The presenters were Chad and Autumn Ward.

Why Create a Large Group Environment?

Give yourself permission to not look like someone else’s church

Have a plan and be on a journey.  Everything doesn’t have to happen at once

To make an engaging, comfortable, and safe place for children.

Try to have the “wow” factor

Dream Big

Not matter your size, you can dream big

Ask God to help make your dream happen

Get ideas from other churches, but also from theme parks, restaurants, schools, etc.

Look for creative volunteers

They are in your church, you just have to find them (Jared’s note: This is not always true in small churches, but talent still often goes overlooked)

Many things will need to be done by professionals, electric, sheet rock, etc.

But lots of stuff can be done by skilled volunteers.  Example, painting.

Set up several creative meetings

Find your creative volunteers and meet with them

Pull together a core group to lead the project

You need to be able to trust these leaders to make decisions, keep people focused, motivate, and do things with excellence

Once you have your end in mind, develop your plan.

This is better than creating as you go along.

Decide what your budget is going to be to fund your plan.

The value you place on any environment will greatly affect the time and money you choose to invest in it.

Clear vision and knowing your end in mind will help you choose wisely

Divide your plan into stages that fit your budget over time

Put your money where it will make the greatest WOW.

Keep asking yourself throughout the process if a purchase is really worth it

Can that something wait?

What do others have that you don’t have to buy.

  • Old junk cars
  • Furniture
  • Do you know someone who owns a paint store or carpet store
  • Larger churches with supplies they don’t use anymore

Don’t use donations just because it was given to you, but only if it fits with your plan.

Sometimes you have to plan your dream out in stages.

An unwise purchase today may be wise down the road

You should honor God with your purchases

Schedule workdays to get people involved

Value their time. Start and end on time

Provide food, drinks, and clear expectations

Focus on accomplishing today’s task

Celebrate the volunteers and express gratitude

You can do a lot during the summertime, especially with high school students

Have a grand opening before the grand opening

Allow people who have worked on the project to walk through and be excited