The multi-site trend has been around long enough to be more of a new normal in today's local church. According to Church Community Builder strategic partner and personal friend Jim Tomberlin, the trend has even developed a new and prevalent wrinkle ... the church merger. It's all very fascinating to me. I see it as one of several ways that good business practices have begun to enter the church world. I also see it as a good stewardship move and a way for church leaders to live out the wisdom of what Jesus taught us in Matthew 25:14–30. multi-site is a great way to expand influence and impact while also being efficient with resources.
Though there are many compelling reasons to do it, going multi-site or adding an additional campus is a major decision that needs to be made after weighing the options and completing extensive planning. How do you know if a multi-site church is the right decision?
Here are three things to consider:
- Have a plan. Deciding to become a multi-site church will raise a lot of questions from your church and community. You need solid answers ready when people ask, “Why is your church is going multi-site? What will the church culture be for each location? Who are you trying to reach? What is your timeline?” Be prepared. Have a plan. To get where you want to go you have to know where you’re headed.
- Utilize technology to keep everyone informed and unified. Going multi-site can lead to confusion and lack of communication. By working with several multi-site churches, we’ve seen how systems and processes can play a major role in alleviating any missteps along the way.
- A church merger might make more sense than going multi-site. As I said earlier, Jim Tomberlin has shared some stunning data with me in support of this approach. He even released a thought-provoking book called Better Together earlier this year. Do your homework and figure out which approach is right for your church.
If you are a part of a multi-site church, what has been your biggest challenge? What do you wish you had known before you went multi-site?