Watch the Author Chat Replay Video:
Highlights from the Author Chat
- What exactly is a multi-site church? What is the ideal size to go multi-site? How big is too big? How small is too small?
- How do you know you’re ready for multi-site?
- What is a good distance range for multi-sites?
- What are the reasons you should NOT go multi-site?
- What are the central services that are key to support infrastructure for multiple campuses?
- How do you find the right campus pastors?
- How much does it cost to launch a multi-site?
- What is the #1 reason that churches go multi-site?
Be honest with me: Do you feel that your church, though fairly healthy, has been struggling to make the impact on your community that you’re dreaming of? Do you feel boxed in with your present church leaders, who are great folks, already working hard, but have little energy to press ahead with new outreach efforts? Does it seem that the sheer cost of expanding pushes growth out of reach?
How about trying a whole new approach to making more disciples and very effectively expanding your church’s ministry now?
Did you know that one out of three Protestant churches in America is planning right now to develop a new service at a new location? Are you aware that 7 out of the 10 fastest-growing churches in the USA offer worship in multiple locations, as do 9 of the 10 largest churches? Maybe, most surprising, did you know that multi-site churches (MSGs) are springing up all across the US in many denominations and churches of all sizes – large, medium and, yes, many small! What’s more, they’re utilizing a wide variety of models! The rapid shift to multi-site church ministry happening right now is one of the biggest revolutionary springboards of our time and is having a huge impact in how church is and will increasingly be done around the world!
Using these new multi-site approaches (one church, many locations) to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission is proving very exciting, in that they stimulate and produce new leaders, new ministry approaches, increased financial support and fresh inflows of new converts from across town, across the State, even nationally and internationally! And multi-sites can be launched on reasonably small budgets. Very likely you already know of churches that are doing this in your area. But your response so far may have been, “Oh, that’s way out of my league.” Hold on! Before you count yourself out, you’ve got to read two fact-filled, pragmatic, road-tested books: The Multi-Site Church Revolution by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, Erwin McManus, and Warren Bird and A Multi-Site Roadtrip by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird.
Start by reading Revolution – you’ll blast through it! Let me give you a little taste of the extraordinary insights that await you:
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Multi-Site Churches Are Bridging Today’s Gap
In recent decades, American churches have morphed from seeker-driven, to purpose-driven, to postmodern models, all as a response to the skyrocketing number of unchurched Americans and the constant need to apply a biblical worldview to current contexts. Church attendance did increase slightly (from 42 percent to 43 percent), but the actual number of unchurched adults has nearly doubled in the last fifteen years, currently numbered at 75 million. The net result is that despite the efforts of thousands of pastors and leaders across the country, current models of church growth are not working well enough.
We must continually find new ways to bridge that gap. The new multi-site approach, from all early indications, is beginning to do just that.
“Early indicators show that multi-site churches are more evangelistic than those with one site,” reports Thom Rainer, a prominent consultant and church researcher. A survey we helped conduct in 2005 (see the table below) found that churches have a greater evangelistic impact when they become multi-site. The many reports of conversion growth at multi-site locations affirm that something is working well.
Becoming Multi-Site Increases Evangelism
We’ve become more evangelistic as a church………….69%
No discernible difference at this point…………………31%
We’ve become less evangelistic as a church ……………0%
Source: Survey of 1,000 Multi-Site Churches © 2005 Leadership Network, available www.leadnet.org
Churches Are Tailoring Multi-Site to Their Own Mission
The variety of ways in which churches today can adapt the multi-site approach is unlimited. In an interview with Charles Arn, author of How to Start a New Service and president of Church Growth, Inc., he told us, “I can’t help but imagine where the multi-site idea may take us in twenty years. The possibility of churches communicating their message in multiple locations has the potential of extending the gospel in dramatic new fashion.”
The core idea for the multi-site movement is simple: one church in multiple locations. Yet the outward expression is often more like a smorgasbord than a single-niche restaurant chain. This is not a McDonald’s franchise in which all menus look alike.
While each campus shares an intentional sense of “brand identity” and resembles the original campus in some way, few multi-site churches come across as an exact duplicate of the initial church.
Five Models for Multi-Site Churches
One of the things that helped me (Geoff Surratt) early on in the multi-site journey at Seacoast was being a member of Leadership Network’s first group in the Multi-Site Churches Leadership Community. [It forced me] to look at other models. We peeked under the hood, kicked the tires, and quizzed the designers of other models. In the end, we were able to walk away with some great ideas that have now been incorporated into the way we do it at Seacoast. No church had the ideal approach for us, but each had something we could learn from.
When asked, “Is there an approach or model that works best?” we have been hard pressed to identify such. There are many models, seemingly almost as many as there are conversations about multi-site churches. Each week we hear from churches that are new to the multisite movement, and with each conversation comes a new angle or facet of being multi-site. That being said, for the purpose of providing some “handles” for exploring the models presented in this book, we have identified five broad categories as follows:
- Video-Venue Model – Creating one or more on-campus environments that use videocast sermons (live or recorded), often varying the worship style
- Regional Campus Model – Replicating the experience of the original campus at additional campuses in order to make church more accessible to other geographic communities
- Teaching Team Model – Leveraging a strong teaching team across multiple locations at the original campus or an off-site campus
- Partnership Model – Partnering with a local business or nonprofit organization t0 use its facility beyond a mere “renter” arrangement
- Low-Risk Model – Experimenting with new locations that have a low level of risk because of the simplicity of programming and low financial returns in terms of evangelism and growth
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Multi-Site Solves Problems and Seizes Opportunities
By the time you reach Chapter 3, Revolution becomes intriguingly pragmatic, asking the crucial question: How would it work for my church?
You’ll find yourself deeply captivated as you walk through careful steps in exploring the possibility of a Multi-Site Strategy:
- How my church could explore a multi-site strategy.
- Using effective vision casting, helpful language and strategic field trips.
- How to do multi-site within my church’s budget.
- Defining and replicating my church’s unique DNA.
- From in-person to full video teaching, consider the wide variations of pastoral team approaches and new technology you have chose from!
- Growing at multiple locations by modifying the use of staff and key leaders.
- Avoiding detours and getting past roadblocks.
This “Roadtrip” Could Change Everything!
Three years after publishing Multi-Site Church Revolution and oodles of hours on the road visiting MSCs and their pastors all across the US, Surratt, Ligon and Bird, launched Part 2 of the adventure, A Multi-Site Church Roadtrip! For a pastor, this is the adventure trip of a lifetime. Climb onboard!
The byline of book two – “Exploring the New Normal” – presses you to grasp that the revolution is really happening right now big time in all 50 States and at least Canada’s four largest provinces. What’s more, Roadtrip adds the credibility of the victories, struggles, and learning curves of nearly 100 churches of all sizes and many denominations as they are navigating the rivers of multi-site ministry. Each chapter begins with your tour bus pulling into the parking lot of a different church in a different State. There you’ll meet a unique pastoral team and people who are doing multi-site in a new variation you hadn’t imagined. Added in each chapter are the stories of a mix of 5-10 more churches which are using nearly the same special approach.
What can you expect to learn on this national roadtrip of adventure with God?
- How does a pastor and church get “multi-site” into their genes?
- What are the keys to selecting the right location for a new campus?
- What differences should you expect between locations?
- Are online campuses really churches? How do you pastor and develop them?
- How do you balance budget constraints and technical demands?
- Critical keys to morphing and reorganizing constructively.
- How to partner and expand missions through sites in other countries.
- Managing the shift of roles between a primary teaching pastor hundreds or thousands of miles away and the local campus pastor and team.
- The church plant verses the campus launch – “either or” or “both and”.
- Developing an effective strategy for growing biblical leaders.
- Great appendices: Resources… Job Descriptions… Roadkill?
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I would love to hear from you. Here are a few questions to chew on:
- If you are intrigued with MSC, what’s your biggest wonderment?
- Along with your present ministry victories, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve got right now?
- Do you need some help in reaching your goals? Do you know how to find it?