Planting With A Billion-dollar Campus

How would you like to have a billion dollars worth or real estate to help with your newest church plant? We did and it was better than we expected.

Illegal At The Beach

We actually started our last congregation under a tree in a beach park—illegally. Not real fun when the policeman would slowly check us out each week just before it was time for that oh-so-crucial offering.

From there we moved to a park building and then to fifteen years in public schools.

I might add that, though God was blessing, we were real good at self-pity over our extended use of temporary quarters.

Then it hit us, we were actually using more than a billion dollars worth of real estate for our operations. This included the magnificent public school campus, several axillary parking lots, our office building, 150+ houses for home groups, several coffee shops, a host of campgrounds and two hotel ballrooms.

We got so excited that we created a notebook called, “Our Church Campus.” It included photos of each site available to us along with pertinent data for rental and logistics.

It worked well for a season and we finally landed on our own campus after seventeen years in temporary quarters. We still had more than a billion dollars worth of real estate, but I have to admit that we actually had more fun while we were totally dependent on rented quarters and all the variety they provided.

The City As Our Campus

Three years ago, I passed that congregation to the rising generation and planted Hope Chapel Honolulu. We launched with more than a billion dollars worth of real estate.

Sunday mornings find us in a movie theater in a mall with freeway access. Sunday afternoons our people use the mall as a place to share meals and hangout. We use expensive beachfront property for a baptismal. Midweek finds us in dozens of homes, apartments and foodcourts for what we call ‘MiniChurch.’ Special events happen in hotels and an assortment of larger venues. We do rent a small space for classroom activities along with a commercial mail box and a storage unit.

After pastoring two churches where we owned property we’ve discovered that the flexibility and the idea of “the city as our campus” is a lot more fun as well as lots less expensive. We like our billion dollar campus.