This past week in Dallas we completed our first Multisite Central Support InnovationLab, a one-year collaborative experience for teams that are preparing to move beyond four locations as part of their multisite strategy. The focus of the past year has been on helping these teams develop the systems, structures and processes necessary to support ongoing multisite expansion. You can read about some of the questions these churches were wrestling with when we began 12 months ago: Big Challenges, Big Questions in Multisite Central Support.
We began by celebrating the growth and progress teams experienced since beginning this journey together. Some of the wins included:
- Successful staff reorganization that will allow for healthy multisite growth.
- New budget structure based on multisite.
- Doubling the number of campuses in the past year.
- Timeline for adding four more campuses over the next few years.
- Extending more ministries, such as small groups, across all campuses.
In spite of all the progress, there were still some issues and questions that needed to be addressed. One of the most common sticking points emerged in the teams’ efforts to standardize new campus launches and ongoing operational constants across campuses. Additionally, communication, both internal (staff) and external (church), proved challenging with the addition of new sites.
Over the two day gathering, we spent time with these teams unpacking some of the latest multisite research from Leadership Network (set to officially release in the coming months), listening to church leaders with 6-12 sites as they shared their learnings, and dialoguing with Geoff Surratt and Greg Ligon about key issues and questions related to each team’s circumstances. Through our facilitated process we exposed teams to scenarios that challenged them approach multisite from different perspectives and encouraged them to ‘think big’ when it came to their strategic plans. Each team left Dallas with new ideas and goals related to multisite staffing, funding, launch strategies and timelines.
Some of the key takeaways expressed by these churches included:
- The role of the Multisite Director or “Champion” as part of the Central Team
- Simultaneous launches (how to do it and how NOT to do it)
- Different types or “styles” of Central Support
- New ideas regarding staffing and budgeting
It will be exciting to witness the new learnings that come in the months ahead as these teams begin to implement new ideas!
New Opportunities for Learning
Prior to 2010, only about 15% of multisite churches had more than three locations, primarily because of the difficulties of making the organizational and structural shifts necessary to support more sites. However, over the past three years, more and more churches have crossed this invisible threshold, providing opportunities for new ideas and innovations in the multisite space.
How can your church be a part of the next wave in multisite?
If you are part of the growing minority of multisite churches that have pushed through the four location barrier, there are two new opportunities in 2014 for you to engage other innovative churches, accelerate your learning, and multiply your impact through multisite:
Multisite Breakthrough Leadership Community
This two-year, peer-centered experience will guide multisite leaders toward new ideas, bringing clarity and effective strategy to key organizational areas such as leadership, staff structure, finances, campus alignment, and metrics, as well as exploring key ministry areas, such as artist development, small groups, and community engagement. For more information, contact Josh Whitehead @ Josh.Whitehead@leadnet.org.
Multisite Next Level Leadership Community
This Leadership Community will connect, challenge, and guide churches that are multiplying their reach through a large-scale multisite strategy. As part of a community of ten to twelve church teams with bold multisite visions, you will join together on a two-year journey to share ideas and practices, learn from leaders and innovators in multisite and specialty fields, and develop strategic pathways and plans that will accelerate your progress and multiply your impact. For more information, contact Tim Nations @ Tim.Nations@leadnet.org.