Unexpected Potential of Multi-Housing New Churches


I think the “Multi-housing Model” has the greatest potential today of the five iconic models for churches starting churches. If your church wants the most cost-effective strategy in church planting, look at this model first.

“Multi-housing” refers to starting a new church or churches in an established church’s campus. Multi-housing is popular for starting first generation immigrant churches. Churches from different denominations can also share the same space. For example, I work with Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregations who share their facility with Anglican church plants.

Here’s why multi-housing can have a significant impact as a classic church planting model for churches.

New churches bring new people to an old location.

In a vast majority of cases, new churches add people faster than established congregations. While the new congregation is creating a buzz with its launch, the original congregation also gets noticed. This is a new opportunity for people in the community to consider the established church.

Multi-housing is more cost-effective than starting a new location.

When churches share a location, each church can invest more resources into members and fewer resources in facilities. Because of work schedules it is common for first generation immigrant churches to meet in the afternoon. If I were leading a church plant today it would likely worship on a weekday evening. I work weekends and a good number of unchurched people in my community already have commitments on Sunday mornings.

Multi-housing can re-energize established churches in their calling.

A lot of questions are raised in discussions about multi-housing. Each congregation must articulate its own beliefs and practices as well as learn the same of the other church or churches. This process is healthy for the congregations. It can also lead to a renewed appreciation of God’s calling on the host church to participate in His mission.

Multi-housing can create stronger ministries for all churches.

There are usually opportunities for shared ministry even if the congregations have varied confessions of faith. Most denominations have no issues with shared social ministry. Coming together to support the same soup kitchen or school backpack giveaway can multiply the blessing to the community. And it can strengthen areas of ministry for all the churches.

Multi-housing has the potential of appealing to the Millennial Generation.

Multi-housing has the potential to build bridges to Millennials through increasing the diversity of people gathering in churches. Millennials are also the first generation with significant questions about the value of property ownership, which ties into multiple churches sharing space.

What questions do you have about multi-housing new church starts? Ask them in the comments or shoot me an email.

This post is the fourth iconic model for churches starting churches. Other posts in this series include:

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