by Dan Flynn
Recently I read a synopsis from the magazine, Worship Facilities about the future of the multisite church model. The author of this short article is Jim Tomberlin, founder of MultiSite Solutions, a company dedicated to assisting churches in going multisite. In essence, he is one of the experts of multisite ministry and is current of where the broader church is going with multisite ministry.
St. Luke has been doing multi site ministry since 2004. Now with three sites we are considered an older multi site congregation. This means thinking on multi sites has changed over the last ten years. Like anything, if we continue to think the same as a decade ago we will be out of step with the multi site movement. Here are some of the trends happening currently among congregations like ours:
- Megachurches are getting bigger because they are no longer limited to one location. Note Northridge now has three sites (Saline and Howell) that I am aware of. The most vulnerable megachurch is the one site with an aging senior pastor.
- Initially the multisite model was an experiment so campuses were in rented facilities but now it is seen as a proven strategy for growth. More churches are beginning to buy land to construct new buildings or purchase existing buildings for permanent multisite campuses. I found this quite interesting as I have worked with Living Water and our multisite congregation.
- Churches going up today are smaller, multi-purpose, multi-venue, local community-centric, and environmentally friendly. There is a move away from the large use-once-a-week sanctuary.
- Most of the 5000+ multisite churches are stuck at two or three sites because they don’t know how or are unwilling to make the organizational changes necessary to fully benefit from the model. The majority are functioning like a mono-site church with campuses instead of a church of campuses. I’m not quite sure what this means. This is something I’m going to research and see what the difference actually is.
- Doing a multisite is different from doing a church plant. There is confusion in understanding the differences which causes unnecessary problems in multisite churches.
- There is a move away from only three sites to four plus sites. A fourth site is a “game-changer” that typically forces churches to change their structure. A church with four or more campuses has a full time multisite director, a dedicated campus pastor and a well-defined central support system.
- Video streaming sermons is a common practice. There is now a growing desire to develop preaching-teaching teams. These teams strengthen the teaching bench of the church by developing leaders and increasing the depth and breadth of biblical instruction.
As I read these points, I do see places where St. Luke is on target and places where we need to change our thinking. We are maturing into an established multisite congregation. It is a proven strategy at growing the Kingdom, not an experiment.
At some point, we will add a fourth site I expect and that will bring additional change. Our goal is to do Kingdom growth beyond our site geography and we can do this in partnership. People will be saved and the lives will be changed. I did find these trends by Mr. Tomberlin quite interesting.
To read the full article from Worship Facilities, click here.