The Secret to Launching Healthy Multisite Church Campuses

20 years ago I was part of a church called The Meeting House. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were seeing the birth of the multisite church campuses.

multisite church campuses

Back in the early 2000s, I was part of a church called The Meeting House, located in the western suburbs of Toronto, Canada. At that time, we met in a middle school and had two services. When even more people started to attend, it seemed that we would need a third service to accommodate the growth. We were reluctant to go to three services for many reasons, one of which being the wear and tear on our leadership team. That’s when a key volunteer named Rob stepped in and said, “Hey, what if we were to put a video camera in the back of the meeting room and run a line out to a video cart in the lobby? We could ask our volunteers to stand out there and wait for a space.” I didn’t know it at the time, but we were seeing the birth of the multisite church campuses. 

One thing led to another, and we moved that video cart to the teacher’s lounge…and then into a classroom…and then to the cafeteria. It wasn’t long before we had more people sitting in the video overflow than we had in the main room.

We really had no idea what we were doing.

We were simply responding to what we saw happening around us and trying to follow what God was doing in our church. That first spring after the launch, we discovered that the new location was outperforming the original location across all the metrics (including percentage of unchurched people attending, volunteer engagement, donors, staff, etc.). With that in mind, we made a decision that we really had no business making: we decided to launch a new campus each year for five years, kicking our journey to multisite into high gear.

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Rich Birch
Rich serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. He blogs at UnSeminary.com and is a sought after speaker and consultant on multisite, pastoral productivity and communications.