Multiplication Center

Big Challenges, Big Questions in Multisite Central Support

October 25, 2012

Last week we gathered our first group of six churches for the Multisite Central Support InnovationLab here in Dallas.  These 6 churches came from 2 countries, 4 states (and 1 province), and represent 18 total sites with almost 20,000 in weekend worship attendance.  Together they brought a combined vision of over 20 additional sites and thousands more reached for the Gospel over the next few years.

We spent two days getting to know each team, understanding their current realities, exploring new ideas and best practices, and launching these teams forward with strategic action steps.  A big thank you goes out to Jim Tomberlin of MultiSite Solutions, Kevin Penry of, and Geoff Surratt of Exponential for bringing wisdom, insight, and fresh ideas into the room.

Big Challenges for Our Multisite Teams
Each of the teams participating in the Lab came from a context with its own unique circumstances and challenges.  Here are some of these challenges in their own words:

“Originally when [we] first went multisite, some of the staff in key roles were highly entrepreneurial, but not detailed.  This led to a high degree of autonomy for our sites.  Effective change management is now key as some of the primary functions of our campus pastors are being centralized.”

“We are not informed as to how central support costs are calculated and shared amongst campuses…We also do not know how to categorize certain costs, whether they should be absorbed by the main campus or covered by the sites.  This can lead to frustration on the part of the site staff…”

“The biggest challenge we see currently is architecture of the teams…As we grow, we need to synthesize…into a cohesive team that is easy for the campus pastors and their teams to navigate.”

“[Our] greatest challenges are consistency in handling financial practices and communication.”

Big Questions from Our Multisite Teams
Some of the key questions that our group had coming in included:

  • How do you give clarity to and prominence for the role of the campus pastor in a growing multisite church?
  • How are campus relationships structured so that you have clear lines of decision-making authority consistent with the direction of the overall church?
  • What financial models allow for a sustainable central support structure as well as ongoing campus additions?
  • How do you put the right systems in place that will allow for a rapid, healthy response to new opportunities to multiply?
  • How do you successfully export your DNA across multiple, diverse campuses?

Over the next few posts we will look at some of the ‘big ideas’ and key learnings that came from this first gathering.  I will also share a few goals and action steps our teams walked away with.

What About You?
Are you faced with some of the same challenges and questions in multisite?  How are you answering these questions in your context? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Multisite Central Support Group 2 forming in December!  Click Here for Details.

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