The last stats I saw showed that 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.
I’m excited about this trend, because I’m excited about churches growing and reaching new people with the Gospel. But one trend I’ve observed about the multisite movement concerns me. 80% of churches in America are stuck or in decline and a growing number of them are looking to multisite as the silver bullet to fix their “stuckness.” Here’s why I’m concerned…
1. There is no Silver Bullet Fix for your Church
I’ve never seen a church (or a business, relationship, or anything else in life for that matter) where there was a silver bullet fix. For churches that are stuck or in decline, please don’t multisite. Trust me, you’ll only make it worse. Master the standard and then innovate.
2. Don’t go Multisite until you have to
Don’t go multisite until you have to. Sounds simple enough right? What that means is if you don’t have momentum don’t try to manufacture it through going multisite. It will backfire on you. If you’re already doing multiple services, if you’re already growing and reaching new people with the Gospel, if you already have momentum, if you already have the leadership and organizational bandwidth to do it then by all means, please, go multisite.
3. Don’t replicate Complexity
It’s near impossible to replicate complexity and let’s face it most churches in America are complex. If you have a menu approach to ministry where you pride yourself on having something for everyone it’s going to be difficult to replicate that at a new campus.
4. Going Multisite shines a light on your Strengths AND your Weaknesses
While your church may have some islands of strength to build on (just about every church does), it also has some weakness (again just about every church does). Multisite may amplify your strengths but it will do the same to your weaknesses, the ones you know about, and the ones you don’t.
5. Overextending yourself always Leads to Decline
One of my greatest concerns I see in churches going multisite before they’re ready is that they have a tendency to overextend themselves when it comes to staff, volunteers, finances, and so on. Over reaching always leads to decline and if you’re already stuck or declining multisite isn’t going to help.
Posted in Leadership