Currently there are more than 8,000 multisite churches across America and more than 1,600 mega churches (churches of more than 2,000 people in weekly attendance). While both are growing the multisite church movement has outpaced the mega church movement in America. What was once seen as only a Band-Aid strategy for space issues at mega churches has become a vehicle for growth in local churches of all kinds and all sizes (the average size a church goes multisite is around 850-1200). “Multi” doesn’t mean “Mega” anymore.
Your church may be considering going multisite. If so, that’s exciting news and I’d love to hear about it! But before you do here are 8 things to consider before you take the multisite plunge.
1. Get Healthy
Multisite is all about reproducing what you are. Not what you wish you were, or what you want to be. If your church isn’t healthy, get healthy first before you multisite. Do you have a culture worth replicating?
2. Go Multi-service & Multi-venue
If you can’t pull off doing multiple services in one location than you’re not going to be able to pull of doing services in multiple locations. And if you have the opportunity to do multi-venue (more than one service at the same time on the same campus) on one location that additional venue can be a great training ground and place to experiment for future multisite teams.
3. Do Image Magnification (IMAG) in your current Auditorium
If you plan on delivering teaching through technology like video then make sure you can do that well in one location before you attempt to do it in more than one location.
4. Determine the right Location
55-80% of your church lives within a 15-minute drive time of your existing church. The rest pretty much live within about a 30-minute drive time. That 15-30 minute drive time distance is the sweet spot. Build on an island of strength by identifying a location where you already have a high number of people driving from.
5. Decide who will be the Campus Pastor
One of the most important decisions you are going to make before you go multisite is, “Who is going to be the Campus Pastor?” Not only do they need to be a cultural fit, after all culture is transferred through people not systems, but they need to be a leader. They need to be able to turn followers into volunteers. Here’s more on “What Makes a Great Campus Pastor?”
6. How Consistent will our Ministries be between Campuses?
Before you launch determine how consistent your ministries will be between campuses. Will the new campus do every ministry that the sending or original campus does? If you’re not going to reproduce it than is it something that should be eliminated?
7. Determine the Cost
What is the plan for the new campus to be financially viable? Most multisite campuses become financially self-sustaining within 3 years. But how much will it cost to get there? A lot of that is determined by your facility choice, the equipment you resource the new campus with day one, how many givers are going to move from the sending campus to the new campus, and the growth rate of the new campus.
8. Launch Strong
It’s better to be strong in one location than weak in two. The average size of a multisite campus is 360 people. When launching a new campus ask yourself, can we send 200-400 people from our original campus and still be strong enough to keep moving forward and not cripple our sending campus?
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