Facilities are a huge deal as you lay the groundwork for your public launch. Here are some things to consider in this area.
Stay portable/stay nimble — Obviously you want to do things with excellence but as you look for a facility the more portable and nimble you are the more options you will have. As we looked at potential rental facilities, our experience was that places were very reluctant to give us access to anything more than very basic meeting room usage. Access to things like equipment, storage space, additional rooms, etc was usually very limited or completely unavailable but because we were flexible with how much space we needed, we were able to consider more options.
Start looking early - The process for securing a meeting space will most likely take A LOT longer than you expect. At LPC, we looked at 36 different locations before we were able to find something that we felt best met our needs. Negotiations and contracts also take a lot of time to put in place so give yourself plenty of margin. It is much better to find something early and set a start date several months down the road than it is to be under the pressure of trying to find something a few weeks before your scheduled launch date.
Be patient with your launch — Start slow and spend as much time as you need to build a good foundation in the core building phase. Slower is a little frustrating when you are excited about the vision but our experience is that it is well worth it in the long run. Once you launch weekly worship gatherings, there are certain things that have to happen every week (ie. message prep, band rehearsal, set up and tear down, etc) and these are big time and energy drains that can take your focus off of some of the critical processes in the beginning, especially if you are planting alone or with a very small team. So be cautious not to let excitement drive you to run ahead too quickly.
Be creative with where you look for space — Some of the places that we investigated and considered: schools, community centers, movie theaters, other churches, outdoor pavilions, office complexes, industrial warehouses and vacant retail stores. We eventually landed in a weekly rental agreement in a community center for our first location.