It was announced yesterday in the media that NASA has discovered 7 new earth-sized planets orbiting a star that is about 40 light years from Earth. That sounds pretty close to me – just a quick run around the block, so to speak! At least it would be if we had warp drive or something else to get us there quickly. NASA has done some great work analyzing space. But that’s not the kind of space analysis I’m going to talk about today.
I’m currently working with a church in my area to do a detailed space analysis for them. The pastor is brand new to the church, and he’s trying to get a handle on where to lead the church’s groups ministry to go in the next six to twelve months. He invited me to partner with him and his church, and to help them understand their current and future options.
5 Reasons why a space analysis is a very good idea
- A space analysis gives you a current snapshot of the church. Conducting a detailed space
analysis is like taking a family photo. You get a picture of the current state, and have something to look back at and reference as you grow and get older. A space analysis is good for a certain length of time, then it’s necessary to do it again and “take another picture.” Something I was able to quickly discern from the snapshot of the church’s Sunday School is that the adult groups have too large an age span. Some groups are for adults “age 30-90” – and that’s just too large a span! If you have groups with people more than 10 years apart in age, it’s time to start other groups.
- A space analysis shows you where your growth potential is. As you conduct your space analysis, you will easily determine which classrooms have the most room for new members and guests. I always color code these rooms in green on my Excel chart. Green = “go.”
- A space analysis shows you where you are out of space. A space analysis will help you see which groups need to be “split” or “franchised.” If a group is averaging close to 80% of the room’s capacity, or if the group is averaging over 80% of the room’s capacity, it’s in danger. I always color code these groups in red. Red = “urgent to address.”
- A space analysis shows you where potential problems are. When a group has some room to grow, but not a lot of room, I color code that group orange. It’s a group that probably doesn’t need immediate action taken, but one that should be watched for another 30-90 days. It may go red or it may go green. Time will tell.
- A space analysis helps you make informed decisions. A detailed space analysis can give you the ammunition you need to take to your deacons, elders, teachers, and anyone else who has a stake or a say in your church’s groups ministry. Numbers don’t lie. A good space analysis will give you the credibility to stand before the church and recommend different courses of action. The members will quickly see that you’ve done your homework, considered options, and are making a logical recommendation based on the best available data possible.
What to include in a space analysis
- Create an Excel document
- List all classes
- Identify the occupants (preschoolers, children, students, adults)
- Measure the room and calculate the square footage of each room
- Divide #3 by the following: 15 square feet per teenager or adult; 25 square feet per child (these are per person square footage amounts that provide adequate space). This determines the maximum number of people each room should hold
- Multiply #5 by 80%…this is when the room begins to feel like it’s out of space (growth tends to slow and cool down when groups are more than 80% full)
- List the average attendance from every group in another column. Compare this to the number of people from your calculations in #5. If the two numbers are very close, color code the group “red.” If there is a large difference, color code the group “green.” If there seems to be a reasonable gap, color code the group “orange.”
If you’re handy with Excel like I am, you can enter formulas into a cell, then “paste special” and copy the formulas into other cells so that the entire Excel spreadsheet auto-fills the data. If you change one number, the rest of the cells are updated. It’s a handy way to always have the best data.
I hope this helps you think about how to perform a space analysis – and why you should do this at least annually.
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