From all of us at Aspen Group, we wish you a Merry Christmas and every blessing in the new year! We're grateful to have partnered with so many churches in 2017, and we're looking forward to continuing to fulfill our mission to create space for ministry impact throughout the coming year.
Before we step into 2018, here's one more look at our top blogs posts and new resources from this past year. See you on the other side of the calendar flip!
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
In 2001, the first multisite campus launched at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, using video to share the teaching across campuses.
In this Thanksgiving season, we'd like to extend our sincere gratitude to the 2017 Alignment Conference Partners, who helped make this year's event possible. Please take some time to review this year's roster of partners who play vital roles in supporting our clients throughout the year.
If you are a pastor or church leader, you will inevitably encounter challenges in your ministry. It's tempting to think that it's our circumstances that create our greatest challenges. According to Pastor Mark Jobe, however, this is a myth: “If you are a leader in any capacity, in your church, in a ministry, your greatest challenge is not a lack of resources. If you grow enough, you’ll learn how to raise those resources. Your greatest challenge is not leaders, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to attract leaders. Your greatest challenge is not immaturity, because if you grow enough, you’ll learn how to lead people to maturity. Your greatest challenge is not the neighborhood you’re in or the changing demographics, because if you grow enough, you’ll find solutions to reach those changing demographics. Your greatest challenge is you.”
The Time Was Right Central Christian Church was booming. With a strong presence in Carmel, Indiana, a thriving suburb of Indianapolis, attendance was nearing 600. The facility was designed to house 300-400 people. As space grew tighter, it became increasingly clear that the outdated facility no longer matched the needs of the young families, children, and youth that Central Christian was attracting. It was time to make a move. In 2001, however, Central Christian had purchased an 82-acre parcel of land in Westfield, Indiana, to prepare for future growth. The church began making plans for a new building on this site in 2004-2006. Budget constraints and other stressors thwarted their plans, however, and the church suffered severe losses within the staff and congregation.
Whether you're considering the launch of your first multisite campus, thinking about planting your tenth church, or exploring the relocation of your existing church space, you must think strategically about that expansion process. The two guests on this fifth and final episode of the Alignment Conference Podcast know that reality all too well. For nearly three years, Bob Gray, project developer at Aspen Group, and Graham Richards, senior pastor at Thrive Christian Church, worked alongside each other exploring new growth opportunities within the church. And this past summer, all that work came to fruition with the opening of Thrive's new site in Westfield, Indiana. In this episode, Bob and Graham reflect back on that process, discussing the questions they worked through, including: How do you know when it’s time to make a change, and, what kind of change should be made? On October 17, Thrive Christian Church will host the 2017 Alignment Conference, giving church leaders a chance to see firsthand the impact that a new, strategically-designed space can have for a church. Listen to this podcast, and you'll be well prepared for this year's event.
The tug. The calling. The spiritual tap on the shoulder. However you describe it, you're certain that God has laid it on your heart to plant a church. But you're less certain on what to do next. Where would you plant it? How do you gather a team? Do you have staff ready to launch these new churches? And if so, how will they actually do it? Who's going to pay for it? What kind of budget is even needed? Or maybe you're on the other end of the spectrum. Maybe you're an experienced church planter who now leads multiple campuses. How do you not only hold it all together but also maintain energy as you try to keep your organization moving forward? In episode 4 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Patrick O'Connell, director of NewThing Network, answers several key questions about church planting and expansion strategies. Whether you're brand new to church planting or a seasoned veteran, Patrick shares a wealth of information for church planters and leaders who are eager to answer God's call to plant a church.
When Aspen Group partnered with Barna Group on the More Than Multisite research project, our teams went into this study thinking that leaders in growing churches want to know how to plant or “go multisite” and to learn best practices in terms of branding, facilities, organizational structures, and so on. In the past, space constraints would have been the main driver for churches looking to launch new sites. According to our findings, facility constraints or accommodating growth barely register as primary reasons. Even among the secondary reasons for adopting their particular model, these drivers are mentioned by only one-quarter or less of any group.
Whether it's pursuing a new geography, a new people or ethnic group, or a new generation, growing or expanding your church through a multisite approach involves taking new ground for the Kingdom. But what are some of the biggest challenges you'll likely face as a pastor when launching your first multisite church? And how about church mergers? Is that a consideration for your church? What's your plan for leadership succession? Better yet, what makes a great multisite leader in the first place? Don’t worry. You’re not the only one asking these questions. In episode 3 of the Alignment Conference podcast, Dave Travis, CEO of Leadership Network, pulls from his 20+ years of experience with multisites to offer his thoughts on the obstacles you'll confront along the way toward launching your next congregation, ways to prepare your leadership team, and what to consider with church mergers, acquisitions, and adoptions.