Article written by Jim Tomberlin
Multi-site congregations have a high success rate because of the support and leverage of the sending church. So what does it take to launch a multi-site campus? You need:
- prayer to precede
- provision to start
- a pastor to lead
- people to follow
- and a place to meet
Prayer to Precede
Have you prayed about going multi-site? There are many logical and compelling reasons to go multi-site, but the only one that really matters is God’s call. Is this something God is leading your church to do? Is there a profound sense that God is in this initiative? Is there an overwhelming conviction “we have to do this to be obedient and faithful stewards of our resources in order to fulfill God’s purpose for our church?” This conviction primarily comes as God confirms through prayer.
As you begin to wrap your arms around your community through a multiple campus strategy, Pray4YourBlock is a wonderful resource to help mobilize your prayer champions and congregation to pray for the neighborhoods where they already live. Imagine what could happen if the communities you are trying to reach were covered and saturated with prayer!
Provision to Start
Any endeavor takes seed money to get launched. Though multi-siting creates more seats at the optimal inviting hours for a fraction of the cost and in less time than building on to an existing church facility, it does cost money.
The average start-up cost nationwide for launching a campus is $250,000. Typically, churches will start by adding a multi-site line item to their operating budget and have a special fund-raising campaign to launch a multi-site campus. The Bible wisely reminds to sit down and “count the cost” to make sure we have enough money to finish before we begin an ambitious project. (Luke 14:28)
A Pastor to Lead
The multi-site pastor, often called the “campus pastor” is the most important component in going multi-site. As in every endeavor, everything rises or falls on leadership. The best place to find a campus pastor is usually within the sending congregation. They are the “face with the place” who need to be high-capacity leaders, team players, and DNA carriers of the church.
People to Follow
The strength of a multi-site launch is the core of followers who come out of the sending congregation. They typically already live in the targeted area of the new launch. Figure out how many people it takes to have a fully functioning congregational expression of your church in a new location and enlist at least that many to serve for a one-year commitment. The larger this launch core, the sooner the campus becomes self-sustaining functionally and financially.
A Place to Meet
Since the majority of church-going Americans live within a 15 minute drive of their church, the ideal place for a multi-site campus is within the 15-30 minute perimeter of the sending campus. Find out where your church has concentrations of attenders at the 15-30 perimeter and launch there. This puts a new congregation in fresh “mission” territory, yet builds on the good reputation of the sending church with a core of people who have the church’s DNA.
Some 50% of multi-campus churches start out utilizing space in a school building for their first remote sites. Schools, along with theaters, are typically low-risk, low-cost alternatives for going multi-site. A school is typically good for a one-to-three year run in terms of energy and volunteer commitment to helping with a portable church on wheels that gets set-up and torn-down every week.
When you have preceded with prayer, provision to start, a pastor to lead, people who will follow, and a place to meet–you are ready to launch a multi-site campus!
Go forth and multiply!