Strategy of Size

St. and I finally saw a couple places yesterday that really impressed us. In fact, it has raised some major strategic questions that I’ve been pondering for a while now. Nothing like a good crisis to force your hand! When we’re in a country like China, flying below radar is preferential at best, vital at worst. So what does that mean? Fewer, bigger locations or many smaller locations? When I say bigger, obviously we’re not talking about American bigger. But a big underground church is 50 people. As I reported in an earlier post, there’s a monstrous underground church in town that runs 200. That’s close to unheard of.

We looked at a building yesterday that had a main area that would seat maybe seventy people, seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, two floors, two entrances, on the top of a 18 story building. 300+ square meters for a nice 500 bucks a month. St. was pretty stoked to see the place as an option – really helped him to understand that we’re trying to dream big here.

There’s some security upsides that I like to see in every place: no security guards, so a bunch of people aren’t parading by some guy in uniform on a regular basis. An elevator, so the students don’t have to climb up all the stairs, all of them passing all the same doors every time they come in. Top floor, so there’s no neighbors above us, and only one neighbor whose walls touch ours. We also looked at one on the first floor yesterday, so the same principles apply.

We’re still pretty far away though from needing a lot of Sunday school space, though, as we’re fresh out of teachers right now. When the language is down pat, we’ll be able to do much better training for the new Christians, but right now, they still have a significant hike in front of them before they’re ready to teach. So really we just need a good sized main room for the next six months. Which is usually the bare minimum they’ll allow you to sign a contract for. The problem is that most places have a great room proportional to the size of the house. So to find a place with a decent sized living room means finding a huge place, like we looked at yesterday.

To give you a price comparison, we could find a place about half that size for about 150-200 bucks a month. This is probably where we’re gonna end up for the next year or so. If we grow beyond that, we could always split up the study and get another place closer to another college campus. So, this seems a little wiser route.

During most of the short history of our Bible study, we’ve been meeting in our house. Sometime in the future, I’ll write some about what that’s like – house church isn’t nearly as romantic when it’s in your house.

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