The Impact of OFF-CAMPUS Church Multiplication
A multiplication mindset is essential to church & kingdom growth. Our churches grow through on-campus multiplication of leaders, groups, & ministries. The kingdom grows through off-campus multiplication of ministries, churches, & campuses. Most of us pastors & churches tend to operate by addition thinking or by “protect against subtraction” thinking most of the time. Multiplication is more audacious, risky, & forces our minds to think big. And if tried, it tends to help us add people & protect against subtraction. Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird in their great book Viral Churches point out a study by Jeffrey Farmer of 309 churches that sponsored a new church(es) that showed that worship attendance increased 22% and giving increased 48% for the five years after sponsorship of a church plant.
Out of curiosity, I did a little research on Louisiana churches that have made the biggest commitment to OFF-CAMPUS multiplication since 2010, either through financially supporting a church plant in a big way, sending leaders to help start a new church, or launching an additional campus. There were 24 very obvious choices. Further research on sponsor churches in Louisiana will be ongoing. These 24 churches range from 120 to 4,000 in attendance, with annual receipts from $90,000 to $5 million annually. Here’s what we found:
>> 92% (22/24) increased in attendance WHILE sponsoring a new church.
>> 83% (20/24) increased baptisms WHILE sponsoring a new church.
>> 88% (21/24) increased undesignated receipts WHILE sponsoring a new church.
Five of these churches had MORE THAN DOUBLED while aggressively focusing outward on church multiplication. As a matter of fact, the smaller the church, the more dramatic impact that multiplication had on their numbers.
There were 9 churches that had started & carried additional Multi-site campuses since 2010. Out of those 9:
>> 9/9 reported increase in attendance within 3 years.
>> 8/9 reported increase in baptisms within 3 years.
>> 8/9 reported increase in undesignated receipts within 3 years.
Now, there are so many factors that play into a baptist churches growth, including pastoral transitions, economic factors in the community, etc. But interesting to see that most of the time, when churches give away themselves, they tend to grow.
A Multiplication Mindset is our solution for growing the Kingdom, revitalizing churches, reaching the world. I’m passionate about church planting, but I can say the greatest need is not more new churches, but more mother churches. Bob Roberts, in his book The Multiplying Church said it like this,
“The future of faith in America (and anywhere in the world, for that matter) is not tied to planting more churches, but in raising up of mother congregations of every tribe, tongue, denomination, and network that are reproducing like rabbits.”
And for some, turning to multiplication will be the key to turning around & revitalizing. Ralph Moore in his great book How To Multiply Your Church says,
“I believe a stalled congregation can nearly always grow its way back to momentum by preparing for and launching a new church. The process is invigorating.”
How can you begin to think MULTIPLICATION instead of ADDITION? Sponsoring a new church, mentoring a potential leader, looking at potential ministry to a population segment that is underserved in your area.
And if we are going to reach our world for Christ, we can’t just add, we must multiply. In my area, we found that only 3.3% attend worship at a SBC Church on any given weekend, & only 7% attend an evangelical church of any kind. If we wanted to double these figures to 6.6%, tracking with population growth over the next 10 years, we would have to add over 16,000 worshippers! Sounds daunting, but the potential for lives & communities changed makes it worth the effort! Let’s get to multiplying!
Check out these resources to help you get started on your church multiplication journey: