In our third installment of “Frequently Asked Questions about Multisite Churches,” we dig a little deeper into some tougher questions. Many of you have asked things like “How long will a multisite church last?” or “Will we be able to stay true to our identity and become multisite?” Join me as we answer these tough questions and a few others.
How long do multisite churches last?
Several churches have been multisite for up to twenty years, and a handful for even longer. Some churches use a multisite approach as a transitional strategy during a building program or a seasonal outreach. Other churches intentionally choose to be multisite only temporarily as a church-planting strategy to help new congregations start out strong.
Can you be a multi-site church and still do church planting?
There are several churches that are multisite but also do church planting. The key seems to be to be clear from the start if a new location is to be an on-going campus or a church plant. Each requires a different style of leadership and varying levels of investment from the original campus. A few churches that are actively doing both are Bethlehem Baptist Church – Minneapolis MN, Lake Pointe Church – Rockwall TX, Community Christian Church – Naperville IL.
Which churches are doing a successful hybrid model of moving a ‘venue’ to become a ‘church plant’?
New Hope Christian Fellowship, Honolulu HI, pastored by Wayne Cordeiro has had a successful model. In 2000, New Hope began its first off-site video venue, inviting church families by zip code to attend a new campus three miles away. This opened up room at the 1,200-seat high school auditorium that the church rented for worship services. New Hope had filled the auditorium for five services as well as an 800-seat overflow tent, where worshipers view the service on a nine-by-twelve-foot LED screen.
It became so popular that they moved to two Sunday services. Within the next three years, they began video venues in seven off-site locations. Each location, marked by a group of leaders who have pioneer hearts and the skills to lead, offers on-site worship, Sunday school, youth ministries, and a host of small group opportunities. One location is wired so that people can experience the message broadcast from the high school campus in real time, and others view it by watching a just-delivered DVD.
For Wayne, the satellite breakouts are a church-planting plan. This church-planting model is designed so that the campus pastors do only about 10 percent of the weekend preaching during the first year. Over the next year, the campus pastors notch up to handling 40 percent of the weekend preaching. During year two, it goes up to about 60 percent. In their third year, they can still use the DVDs but no more than 30 percent of the time. By the fourth year, they may use the DVDs only on special occasions.
How does a church stay true to the church’s identity and maintain unity as a multisite church?
The most important factor in maintaining unity as one church in many locations involves the church having a crystal clear understanding of their DNA – their vision, mission and values. Continuity comes as this DNA is replicated from campus to campus and venue to venue.