Survey a 20-minute driving radius surrounding the church. (We can interpret a PERCEPT church demographic study for you.) Is the population increasing or decreasing? What is the percentage distribution of preschool, school age, and adults? Is there an ethnicity that you are not ministering to? Who are the prevalent adult groups you could be ministering to? How many households without children? Are your targets of ministry right for the community demographics?
Are you in a residential community? Is the immediate vicinity around the church stable, or is ethnic change and tension evident? Does the church facility show compatibility with the expectations of the community
standards of living? What is the community’s blue/white collar ratio? Is this ratio true in the church? Are there senior adults who will be selling out? Who will be buying these houses? Might it be young, blue-collar families? Is there
potential for ethnic ministry you are willing to target?
Does the present church constituency live in the community, or are they commuting to the church? Commuters who use to live in the vicinity indicate community change and little relational contact in the community.
Regional churches reach the local community as well as outlying areas. A commuting church seldom survives for an extended time.
Does the church site have adequate visibility, and even more important, adequate accessibility? Most new people are brought to church nowadays through a relationship. Is there arterial road access encouraging
accessibility from a larger residential area in a reasonable driving time? Are limitations of visibility or accessibility being overcome by present members bringing new prospects?
Is the site too small to provide adequate parking? Can adjacent properties be purchased and used for parking? Is the facility too dated to address community expectations? Does the facility have signs of life (adequate
light, current landscaping and interior plants, appropriate colors)? Can the building be updated while addressing current site and building codes (parking, access for disabled, life safety standards)?
Is the primary emphasis of the church ministry children and youth, while the community is predominantly adults? Are there relational strategies in place for evangelizing the adults? Are there small-group structures for all age
groups, especially adults, that encourage personal discipleship and relational contexts for spiritual growth? Is the church in a maintenance mode (Hang on until the Rapture!) or ministry mode (Occupy until He comes!)?
The cost of relocation into a new facility with the same capacity as the present location may cost twice as much as the market value of the present site. A rare exception might be commercial zoning potential and
commercial market value for the present site. Does the church have cash reserves? Count the cost; can the remaining congregation afford to relocate?
Make an informed decision? Determine if the location is the real reason for the decline in attendance. Is the cause ministry, location, site, or facility? Relocation does not guarantee success in ministry. I have known some who were
forced to move, but never overcame a maintenance mode. I’ve seen some new facilities that were virtually empty. On the other hand, others with appropriate local community ministry strategies are now thriving.