Two years ago we got really serious about the idea of going multisite. When you’re in a town of 2,200 people, at some point your growth is going to max out, and we felt like we were nearing that point. We also had a large group of people who were coming to our church from a town about twenty minutes away from us. It was time to get started.
We started doing as much research as possible about multisite, but there wasn’t much information about churches our size that were also in a rural community.
So, for the most part we just had to wing it.
The biggest question we wrestled with was whether to do video teaching or live.
After many months of preparing to do video, we ultimately decided it wasn’t going to work at the level we desired, so we completely changed directions.
Now, our lead pastor and campus pastor work together each week to prepare a message that will be delivered at each location. Scriptures and main points are the same; then they add their own personal stories and touch.
We’re only six weeks in, but it looks like we made a good decision.
If you’re thinking of taking your small town church multisite, here are a few things we’ve learned so far.
- It takes People – The success of any type of church launch is largely dependent upon the size of the “launch team.” Churches who launch campuses often have a huge advantage over church plants because the launch team is largely made up of people already attending the central campus. Our launch team was around 80 people who had mostly been attending and serving at the central campus. They already knew our vision, culture, and DNA.
- It takes Money – I’ve heard of churches that launch campuses on a shoestring budget, but for us that wasn’t the case. We wanted to do our best to make sure that the experience at the new campus was as close to the experience at the central campus as possible. This meant spending over 100k to make the worship experience the best it could be in a portable facility.
- It takes Volunteers – Lots of volunteers. You’re not only filling positions for a new campus, you’re also replacing volunteers who are leaving to go to that campus. We handled this a couple of different ways. We went from offering three services to two services at our central campus. This cut down on the number of positions we needed to fill, and it insured that we had critical mass in those two services. We also went on a recruiting blitz a few months before launch asking everyone and anyone to step up and volunteer.
- It takes Sacrifice – Don’t underestimate the amount of work, time, and sacrifice multisite is going to take. Portable facilities mean arriving early for set up and staying after services for tear down. Most of us will be launching with one service which means volunteers in the kids’ ministry will be missing service so that someone else can experience it. Just remember we sacrifice so someone else can be blessed.
By the time this posts, we will have already had our first baptism service at our new campus. Five people went public with their faith in Jesus.
We believe no matter how much money it takes, how early we have to get out of bed in the morning, how many services we have to miss because we’re changing diapers, the sacrifice is worth it.
Are you thinking about going multisite? Have questions about how we did it? Please let me know by commenting below or visit the contact page to send me an email.