On Multi-Site Church
Our Church Multiplication Network Round-tabled this week about multi-site church. We learned from local practitioners Woodland Park Baptist, Hammond and Celebration Church. Most of the q’s were practical, not theological, which may demonstrate that this trend is becoming more mainstream as research is showing. As a church planter and strategists, I love multi-site, because it’s the heart of New Testament church growth: MULTIPLICATION, OFF-CAMPUS MULTIPLICATION. Here’s a few big takeaways and some of the resources that we shared:
- “We took this journey on our knees” ~ Pete Charpentier, Pastor of Woodland Park Baptist in Hammond
- “We just didn’t believe the best use of our resources was to build a bigger building”~ Peter Charpentier
- “We’re doing this because God said ‘Go and make disciples'” ~ Pete Charpentier
- Multi-Site has a 90% success rate.
- Only 20% of Multi-Site expressions are video based.
- “We never use the word ‘merger.’ Adoption is a better term” ~ Craig Ratliff, Celebration Church, St. Bernard
- Multi-site churches now outnumber Mega-churches in North America.
Resources on Multi-Site:
- Multi-Site Church Road Trip – Leadership Networks Multi-Site Church Website.
- Gospel Coalition Video: Multi-Site, Yea or Nay? Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, James MacDonald debate multi-site church.
- 9 Marks Journal Devoted to the Issue of Multi-Site. Helpful articles for and against, theologically and practically.
- Ed Stetzer’s Summary of the 9 Marks Journal Multi-Site issue. From 160 pages down to 4.
- The Multi-Site Church Planting Strategy by Tom Cheyney, Director of Mission for the Greater Orlando Baptist Association.
- Multi-Site Church Survey by Leadership Network. Ton of great info here.
- Should Your Church Go Multi-Site? Great worksheet by Leadership Network to assess readiness to go Multi-Site.
- Pete Charpentier has blogged about his personal journey through multi-site. Find his posts here.
- The Multi-Site Church Revolution: Being One Church in Many Locations by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon, Warren Bird
- Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers by Ed Stetzer, Warren Bird
- Deliberate Simplicity: How the Church Does More by Doing Less by Dave Browning
- Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement by Dave & Jon Ferguson
- One Church Many Congregations: The Key Church Strategy by Tim Ahlen & Lyle Schaller
And I appreciate what one of the initial innovators and author of The Multi-Site Church Revolution Geoff Surratt recently wrote as a caution. Find his post here.
Multisite is a great tool for some churches to fulfill their God-given mission. It is not, however, the right direction for many or even most churches. Multisite can be a drain on leadership and budgets, it can feed an already overfed pastor ego and it can be very difficult to undo. (Once a site is launched it is really hard to un-launch.)
For a church that is experiencing rapid growth, or has a God-inspired passion for a unique outreach into an underserved community, multisite is brilliant way to expand the Kingdom. But for a church that is just looking for a new growth curve or the next big thing multisite is a terrible idea. It is never a good idea to attempt to give birth when you aren’t pregnant.