Over the course of the past decade, I’ve talked a lot about multisite trends in church plating. If you dig around on my site, you’ll find no shortage of content on all multisite trends. Recently, Tony Morgan, the founder and lead strategist for the Unstuck Group, and I had a conversation about some things we’re seeing in multisite strategies for the coming year.
What trends are emerging? What strategies are tried and true? And what are we seeing that might bring some help your campuses thrive? Tony and I share our thoughts—
“After many (some very public) churches opted to shut down, or spin off campuses as individual churches, it seems some have been led to believe or state that the ‘multisite movement’ is dead.” We’ve been using the ‘multistuck’ language for a while, but multistuck is now officially a trend. I’d assume this is for lots of reasons. But many churches had a tendency to jump on the multisite bandwagon, following other leading churches without really ‘counting the cost’ in advance—and I don’t just mean financially—and it gets them stuck.” — Paul
“I’m also seeing an increase in church mergers. With church attendance declining in the US and the pipeline of people jumping into ministry shrinking, mergers are going to pick up steam.” — Paul
Live vs. Video Teaching
“We need to stop arguing about video teaching and saying things like ‘It won’t work in our town or part of the country.’ People aren’t becoming less accustomed to screens in our culture. Bad teaching is bad teaching and bad video presentation is bad video presentation, but video teaching works everywhere. Rural multisite also works.” — Paul
“With rare exceptions, we’re seeing clearly that having different live teachers at different locations will eventually divide the church.” — Tony
“I’ve seen churches use church planting principles to launch a multisite campus. That usually ends up with the wrong leader in the wrong location in a church that will eventually become independent.” — Tony
“Letting different campuses have the freedom to change ministry strategies to fit their ministry context is a recipe for disaster. It will divide the team and eventually divide the church. If the ministry context is so different that it requires a different strategy, then choose to churchplant rather than multisite.” — Tony
“Churches that hope to scale beyond just two or three campuses need to pay attention to their model to make sure it is financially sustainable. The more independent the campuses, the more it’s going to cost.” — Tony
“While there are a lot of ways people are trying to do multisite, not all multisite models or approaches are created equal. Some work (more people meeting Jesus and growing) better than others. I think many churches and church leaders are still confused about what multisite is and isn’t.” — Paul
“The biggest reason that multisite campuses fail is that they launch too small. Again, this is an indication that the church is trying to use a church planting strategy to do multisite.” — Tony
One last thought… If your church is thinking about going multisite, you really should consider bringing in some outside help. That’s not just personal bias…that’s Kingdom minded. Without clear strategies for ministry, multisite, expansion and execution, multisite can get churches multistuck. We see it all the time at the Unstuck Group. Our team combined has 100+ years of experience leading in churches with successful multisite strategies. We can guide you to assess multisite readiness, build your model and strategies, and align your staff and structure to the strategy. Interested in learning how it works? Check out our Multisite Unstuck Process. Ready to start a conversation? Let’s talk.
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.