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7 Questions to Help your Church Determine the Location of your Next Multisite Campus

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The multisite movement isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, the last statistics I saw indicated that only 12 of the 100 of the largest churches in America are not multisite churches. What was once a band aid solution that growing churches used to create space for outgrowing their facilities has now turned into a mainstream method to deliver growth to new locations.

If you church is thinking about launching a new multisite location in the next 18 months I’d encourage you to seriously think and talk through the following 7 questions with your Sr. Leadership Team to help you determine the next right location.

#1 Do we already have people attending our church that live in that new location?

You plant new churches where you don’t have people attending your church but you start new campuses where you already have people attending your church. Launching strong means “going where you are.” I know it may sound counterintuitive but it works. Start by mapping out where your current attenders live and identify pockets of greater density as potential areas to begin new campuses.

#2 Are there people in that new location already engaged in our mission?

Beyond attendance and “brand recognition,” do you have people in that area who are “all in” with you? People who will transfer your culture to the next location and who can lead not just attend? A great place to start is to determine who lives in that area that is already in a small group, they’re financially contributing to the church, they’re on a volunteer team, or they’re leading other volunteers.

#3 Is the new location 20-30 minutes from our existing location?

This is still the sweet spot nationally on drive time between campuses. Obviously, there are variations between urban, suburban and rural communities. There are also emotional barriers at play with drive times. Mountains, lakes, rivers, rail road tracks, highways and the like can all be mental barriers in communities to people attending a new campus or driving to a location…and those just may be a reason to put a new campus on the other side of that barrier.

#4 Does the location reflect who we are trying to reach?

All churches idealistically want to reach all people, I understand that sentiment. But your church is naturally built by intention or neglect to reach a certain kind of person. Your style and approach to ministry is designed to work with certain people and not with others. Don’t fight it. It’s a biblical approach. It’s called contextualization and it’s what the Apostle Paul did in the early stages of the Church.

#5 Are there available facilities with the right parking and seating capacities that are also in the right location?

It still holds true. Location, location, location…just ask any realtor. Does the location you’re considering meet your seating, kids space, and parking needs? Are you going to buy land and build ground up? Is it a popular area that has a lot of drive by traffic? Is it an area that people drive to or drive from?

#6 Are there already churches with a similar mission and style in the new area we’re looking at?

Other churches aren’t the enemy. The enemy (Satan) is the enemy. We are not in competition with other churches. If there is another church like you in that area and the population density wouldn’t work for more churches like that, then move on to another location.

#7 Is the potential location experiencing growth or development?

Are new people moving to the area? Is the area growing and experiencing new development? New people get involved in new churches and take new steps. New is a huge potential for success. 

Need help with your multisite model or expansion? The Unstuck Group has a proven process to help you go multisite for the first time or develop your multisite model for future expansion! Follow this link to start a conversation!


Posted in Leadership

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Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit 2017

If you missed the 2017 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, then you missed some great content, great speakers, and incredible ideas that have the potential to shift your thinking when it comes to leadership. But no worries! Now you’ve got all the notes to every session right here at your fingertips for free! Hope you enjoy!

Bill Hybels

Willow Creek Community Church Founder and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels opened the Summit addressing The Challenge of Leading an Organization in an Era of Divisiveness and Disrespect.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the company’s business operations. Prior to Facebook, she was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google and Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department. Sandberg is the best-selling author of Lean In. Her 2017 release, Option B, is an inspiring and practical book about finding resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

Marcus Lemonis

With many ventures on his resume, including the hit TV show, The Profit, Marcus Lemonis has invested$40 million of his own money into helping small businesses. Additionally, he is the CEO of America’s #1 source for RV’s and the largest organization of R owners in the world. Lemonis lends his expertise to other entrepreneurs using his evaluation system of three keys for business health and success; people, process and product.

Fredrik Haren

Fredrik Haren is a business creativity expert who has authored nine books, including The idea Book – credited as on of “The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.” He is a global speaker who has been invited to speak to leaders in more than 60 countries on six continents on the importance of creativity in solving problems. Recognizing how challenging this is, Haren provides practical steps to help individuals and organizations become more creative.

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson, a highly acclaimed activist and lawyer, has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned through his leadership of the Equal Justice Initiative. he has successfully argued several cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and his TED Talk has more than three million views. The best-selling author of Just Mercy, Stevenson was named to Fortune’s “2016 World’s Greatest Leaders” list.

Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley founded North Point Ministries (NPM) more than 20 years ago. Today, NPM is comprised of six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 30 churches around the globe, collectively serving nearly 70,000 people weekly. Recently, Outreach Magazine identified Stanley as one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Pastors in America.” The author of more than 20 books, he is passionate about serving both church and organizational leaders.

Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock served as Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, growing the company from 6,000 to more than 75,000 employees. Google has been recognized more than 150 times as an exceptional employer, including the #1 “Best Company to Work for in the United States” every year since 2012. Bock’s New York Times best-selling book, WORK RULES!, has been published in more than 20 languages and has garnered numerous honors.

Juliet Funt

Juliet Funt, a globally-recognized consultant and speaker, founded WhiteSpace at Work with the mission to unearth the potential of companies by unburdening their talent from busywork. She and her company help high-achieving teams execute better within the “Age of Overload” through light and enjoyable micro-learning digital courses. Teams that incorporate WhiteSpace mindsets and skill-sets increase productivity and engagement, reclaim lost capacity and execute at their finest.

Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham, world’s leading authority on strengths, performance and engagement, founded The Marcus Buckingham Company following 30 years at Gallup. He is the best-selling author of multiple books, including Now, Discover Your Strengths.  A Summit favorite, Buckingham will challenge everyone to rethink the vital leadership function of performance management – based on his latest multi-year research, recently featured in Harvard Business Review.

Sam Adeyemi

Under Sam Adeyemi’s leadership, Daystar Christian Centre grew from a handful of people to more than 25,000 people weekly – with highly recognized community impact projects. The author of numerous best-selling books, his television programs reach viewers on all continents. Adeyemi founded Daystar Leadership Academy, which is dedicated to releasing a new generation of leaders who will serve as catalysts in the transformation of Africa and the world.

Immaculee Ilibagiza

Immaculee Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide that took the lives of nearly one million Tutsi, including her entire family except for one brother. She survived by huddling silently with seven other women in a 3-by-4 foot bathroom for 91 days. Despite unimaginable suffering, she committed herself to a life of peace, hope and forgiveness. Ilibagiza works with the United Nations and is the best-selling author of Left to Tell.

Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth is a professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania and founder of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the practice of character development. An advisor to the White House, the World Bank and Fortune 500 CEO’s, Duckworth studies grit and self-control, two attributes critical to success and well-being. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, debuted in 2016 as a New York Times bestseller.

Gary Haugen

Gary Haugen leads International Justice Mission (IJM), a world-wide agency rescuing victims of violence, exploitation, slavery and oppression. Recognized by the U.S. State Department as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” – the highest honor given by the U.S. government for anti-slavery leadership – Haugen is the author of three books and has been featured in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times and Forbes.


Posted in Leadership

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A Multisite Leadership Conversation

I recently had a conversation with the Unstuck Group about multisite church leadership and here are a couple of highlights from the conversation:

Caroline: When leading a multisite church, what is the most important leadership tool to carry with you?

Paul: Hands down, your culture. You reproduce what you are, not what you think you are or wish you were. Does your church have a culture worth replicating? The fastest and most effective way to replicate your culture is through your people, both staff and volunteers. They are the cultural carriers of your church. Every church has a culture: the attitudes they want adopted, values they want championed, beliefs they want instilled and behaviors they want reproduced. Can you clearly and accurately articulate the culture of your church?

Caroline: In your multisite experience, what is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?

Paul: The greatest challenge we’ve faced in going multisite is the challenge of “loss.” Just like you cannot follow Jesus and stay where you are, you cannot go multisite and stay where you are as a church. Going multisite forced us think about church in a new way.  For example, the original campus staff experienced a loss of preference when going multisite changed the approach we took to campus ministries, including their own campus ministry. They experienced a loss of perceived power when we built a central service team. They weren’t making all of the decisions anymore. Additionally, they experienced a loss of prestige when the growth rates at other campuses began to exceed their own and attendance at other campuses rivaled their own. There is no significant leadership without loss, and when you make a big directional shift like multisite, you experience a lot of loss along the way. But leaders understand that.

Caroline: What multisite models are usually the most successful?

Paul: A lot of people in church world don’t want to define success or talk about how one model/approach may be more successful than another. However, Jesus gave His Church a mission and it seems to me that success would look like accomplishing that mission. So I’ve always figured more people meeting and following Jesus is more successful than less people meeting and following Jesus. As a result, our models/approach to ministry should always be held loosely, or be subservient to whatever helps people meet, know and follow Jesus. That being said, there are a lot of ways churches are approaching multisite. The ones that I find have the greatest success are more consistent with their ministry approach between campuses, have a strong central service team to lead and help campuses succeed, and they use video to deliver consistent teaching everywhere.

Caroline: What is the most common mistake you see among multisite leaders?

Paul: The last statistic I saw was that only 15% of multisite churches ever get past 3 campuses. One reason why is that most churches treat multisite as though they are adding another ministry offering to their church. Instead of adopting a multisite mindset across the entire organization, they adopt a multisite ministry. Multisite isn’t something that happens “over there” at a new campus; it is a strategic approach to ministry that changes the entire way you do church everywhere. Most church leaders completely underestimate this when they choose to go multisite.


Interested in learning more about developing a multisite strategy for your church? Sign up for our Fall 2017 Multisite Leadership Coaching Network. This experience will help you navigate how to run a healthy multisite by discovering the shifts that need to happen within your church.  For more information and to apply, follow this link.

Caroline is a Content Specialist for The Unstuck Group. She is a graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication. She is involved with her local church in Athens, GA as well as other local ministries. She is passionate about leveraging communication strategies for helping churches experience growth!


Posted in Leadership

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Has your Church Hit a Growth Barrier?

Growth barriers often leave leaders feeling like they’ve exhausted their options and resources for growth and that they are stuck. But, here’s the good news about growth barriers: they can be broken down by changing your ministry routine.  Shifting the way you approach leadership, structure, and methods can provide a huge boost to your church’s growth.

For many years now, we’ve been hosting coaching networks. The Unstuck Team continues to put on these networks for many reasons, but the primary would be this: we want churches to get unstuck. We’ve seen these networks challenge and encourage leaders to break growth barriers by learning insights and strategies to take their church to the next level.  

In these networks, you’ll learn best practices from healthy, growing churches and begin applying them in your church environment from day one. The Unstuck Team will walk alongside you as you take your next steps in leadership by fighting for healthy growth and learning how to establish a healthy church structure.

Each church is unique in its strategies, methods and practices. This is why we believe in the power of coming together to discover ways to explore outside of our ministry routine to experience growth.

This fall, we’re hosting 3 leadership coaching networks. Each will consist of a 7-month, collaborative coaching experience that includes 3 gatherings in Atlanta, 2 exclusive webinars, and 2 one-on-one coaching calls. Here are the options:

The Unstuck Church: Reaching 1,000 Coaching Network

This network is designed to help you move from reaching hundreds to reaching 1,000 in attendance by clarifying what’s working and what’s wrong, defining an action plan for next steps, and establishing a staffing and ministry structure that supports growth and health.

The Unstuck Church: Growing Beyond 2,000 Coaching Network

This network will help you develop strategies to tackle the unique challenges of larger churches including leadership development, staffing, communications, discipleship and establishing healthy growth engines.

Multisite Leadership Coaching Network

This experience will set you up to more effectively lead a growing, multisite church. We will help you navigate Common Pitfalls in Multisite, Refining Your Model, Clarifying How You Structure and Operate, Best Practices for Launching a Campus, Managing the Tension (Central vs Campus), and more!

We have space for only 7 churches in each network — some of which are already gone, so make sure to follow this link secure your spot soon!


Posted in Leadership

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Why Churches Decline and Die

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Years ago, a church started in the Phoenix east valley. This church plant grew rapidly. Helping new people meet Jesus, they became one of the first mega churches in the east valley. Eventually the pastor, under whose leadership this growth took place, left and the succession didn’t go very well. Neither did the next succession. Or the next. In fact, that church went through 18 straight years of decline until at the end of that decline they ended up merging with another church.

Today the new campus averages more than 1,000 people in weekend attendance and is helping new people meet, know and follow Jesus.

Unfortunately for most churches in decline there’s no great comeback story. Churches decline for all kinds of reasons and it’s usually more complicated than one simple decision that was made somewhere along the way.

However, church decline can be avoided and even turned around. If your church is stuck or in decline I’d encourage you to start a conversation with the Unstuck Group. They have proven track record of helping churches get unstuck. Here are a couple big reasons, in no particular order, why churches decline and die.

1. Fuzzy Vision

Vision answers the question, “Where are we going?” Vision provides everyone clarity and without clarity things slow down, or even worse people start doing what they think is right in their own eyes. One of the single most life-threatening indicators that a church is in trouble is a lack of clarity. Clarity provides a church with the power to make decisions efficiently and align the organizational components of the church to move forward. If you don’t know where you’re going, and can’t state it clearly, you’ve got no chance to get there.

2. Staff Hired to Do Ministry

When your church has a high staff to attendance ratio (at the Unstuck Group we encourage churches to staff 1:100 – that is 1 full time staff equivalent for every 100 attenders) and you’re hiring staff to do ministry instead of leading ministry by recruiting, developing and empowering volunteers to do and lead ministry your church will end up in decline.

3. No Strategic Plan

Strategy answers the question, “How are we going to get there?” Strategy fills the gap between where you are and where you want to be. It’s planning for tomorrow today. Little is more demoralizing to a church staff team than a bunch of empty inspirational talk that never materializes into real courageous action.

4. Over Reaching

My dad used to call this having, “Wine taste on a beer budget.” Over reaching and overextending the church with unsustainable decisions such as too much debt, offering too many ministry options, or starting too many things at once can cripple a church and set it back years, often times never recovering.  

5. Style Worship

No, not worship style (although those battles can be tough too), style worship. When churches begin to care more about ministry programs or a style and approach to ministry than the results of the ministry they’re on their way to decline.

6. Demographic Drift

Over time it’s not uncommon for the demographics around a church to shift. This can easily be observed most commonly through age and race. Many churches choose to ignore these changes and as a result never change their approach to ministry which leads to decline every time.

7. Insider Focus

I’ve said this many times before, the most dangerous place a church can be in their life cycle is when the ministry they are doing is having a big impact with insiders (people who already know Jesus and are inside the church) but a low impact with outsiders (people who don’t know Jesus yet). It’s dangerous because it’s comfortable. It feels like things are going well and you have momentum because people are happy, they’re regularly attending, and they seem to be “all in” with what you’re doing. But if you aren’t reaching new people, your church or ministry is already moving towards unhealthiness and decline.


Posted in Leadership
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