What’s Trending in Multisite in 2013?

Jim Tomberlin writes:  The multisite model, one church in multiple locations, has become an established strategy for outreach and for growing churches.

Leadership Network reports there are now over 5,000 expressions of multisite church across North America. Even though over one third of the 1,600 megachurches in North America have multiple campuses, the multisite movement is growing at a faster pace than megachurches.

The multisite strategy has proven to be an effective vehicle for outreach, volunteer mobilization, leadership development and regional impact.

During 2013 we’ll continue to see an increase in multisite church mergers, Internet online campuses, international expansion of campuses and more. In fact here are 14 different developments I am observing in multisite church world:

1. Movements.

The new hot word is Movement. Leading churches in North America today aren’t just multisiting and church-planting, they are focusing on creating networks of reproducing churches that become Movements.

2. Name Changing.

Denominations, para-church organizations and churches are changing their names for all the same reasons—their name has cultural baggage and/or is geographically limiting. In the past churches identified themselves to attract their own kind and were too geographically specific for a multi-campus strategy. There is a lot of name-changing going on and more on the way!

3. The Merger Urge.

The multisite movement is driving the increase in mission-driven “we can be better together than separate” church mergers at a dramatic pace. This is the Next Big Thing on the church landscape with far greater implications beyond the multisite movement (I recently co-authored a book about healthy church mergers called Better Together, see http://www.outreachmagazine.com/merger for sample chapter).

4. Student Ministry Shift.

Sunday morning based student ministry is moving off of Sunday morning to an alternative evening. This allows students to attend church and/or serve together as a family which also unchains student’s families from the sending campus when going multisite.

5. Adult Sunday School Is Leaving the Building.

As churches multisite to other locations they are finding it too costly to offer on-going Adult Sunday school classrooms at new, rented or renovated facilities. Neighborhood home groups are becoming the complement to local multisite campuses.

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