Keys for Starting a Multi-site Ministry

Multisite

While the “Daughter Church Model is historically the most popular model for churches starting churches, the “Multi-site Model” is the fastest growing the past decade. If your congregation wants to multiply its impact for the Kingdom of God, consider this model first.

A multi-site congregation is one church that offers a full range of ministries in more than one geographic location. While one senior pastor leads the staff, each campus has its own pastor. The same worship services are replicated at the different locations. The preaching is either coordinated between campus pastors or one teaching pastor is broadcast to all campuses.

It may seem that interconnected campuses would make ministry multiplication more difficult. Consider this. Once a daughter church is launched it likely will not have a vision of multiplying new church starts. In a multi-site church, all the campuses share the same vision. The multiplication vision is easier to sustain.

To successfully launch a multi-site ministry pay close attention the following:

Check Your Motives

Motivation matters in mission work. Congregational leaders need to look in the mirror before the church commits to becoming multi-site. Is this move about seeing God’s Kingdom expand? Or is it about building our own kingdom?

Garner Widespread Congregational Support

Becoming a multi-site church fundamentally changes a congregation. A new campus is much more than a new worship service in a different location. Most importantly, this strategy will permanently change how the original campus functions. The plan to persuade the congregation to embrace the Multi-site Model should be as thorough as the plan to launch a new church.

Strengthen Congregational Systems

In my experience, of all the different non-profit organizations, churches are the most tolerant of sloppy systems. Successful multi-site congregations defy such shoddy practices. Ministry systems from the original campus are replicated at the new campuses so the systems seamlessly work together.

Raise up staff from within the congregation as much as possible.

A multi-site campus is not a new congregation created for a new community. It is an existing congregation that has found a new community where its ministry will bear fruit. Staff who are already part of the congregation not only understand the church’s culture; they embody the congregation’s culture. Staffing from within creates the best opportunity for replicating the original campus.

Find a multi-site Mentor and Model

I have a led a church into becoming a multi-site congregation. While we made our share of mistakes, we could have made many more. We were saved by finding a multi-site sister congregation. This provided me with a mentor and our congregation with a working model. Given the popularity of the multi-site model there are any number of congregations willing to serve as mentors.

What are additional keys to multi-site success? Post your thoughts in the comments or share them with me via email.

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