Is Your Church Ready to Go Multisite?
Six key findings to consider before you branch out
Multisite churches grow faster, have more lay participation, and reach more new believers than single-site churches. That’s the good news from the recently released 2014 Leadership Network/Generis survey “Multisite Church Scoreboard Report.” According to the research, which represents 535 churches across 12 countries, the multisite movement today shows no signs of slowing down.
- Eighty-five percent of surveyed multisite churches are growing—at the rate of 14 percent per year.
- Churches typically go multisite in the 1,000 size range, though almost half say they could have become multisite at a smaller size.
- Campus viability starts at 75 to 350 people, depending on your model.
- The typical multisite church is just 4 years into the process, and 57 percent plan to launch an additional campus in the next 12 months.
- Multisite campuses typically grow faster than church plants, and likewise multisite campuses have a greater evangelistic impact than church plants.
- The recommended distance between campuses is a travel time of 15-30 minutes.
Jim Egli, Leadership & Missions Pastor of the Vineyard Church of Central Illinois, echoed many of these latest findings in his guest post with Aspen titled, “10 Multisite Church Myths (and Realities).” Aspen helped Vineyard renovate and maximize their space at the Urbana location. By centralizing administrative offices on one campus, Vineyard was able to consolidate offices, improve communication between campuses, and make better use of precious square footage in their other locations.
Are you ready financially?
What needs to be in place on one campus before launching another? According to Generis, churches that are successful at launching new campuses value the overall financial health of the church. Starting too many campuses that are not financially viable can be a drain on cash flow and can interrupt the momentum of the church.
As the research revealed, multisites typically grow faster. While this is good for momentum, giving grows incrementally and rarely keeps up with the initial financial requirements. The church must have the cash flow to be able to handle the rapid growth if it occurs.
Also, if the new campus is in a temporary location, Generis cautions church leaders to be aware that people become restless in a temporary site sooner than expected. “Many churches overestimate the time they can stay in a leased facility, especially for a weekend venue only. They end up wanting a 24/7 facility faster than they think. This puts pressure on capital needs and the church should be prepared for that,” says Generis. However, giving in a permanent facility is typically much stronger than a rented space.
The full report offers more key discoveries, plus practical coaching from Generis on financial issues related to multisite churches.
Is your church ready to open another location? What factors lead you to think so? Do any of the research findings give you pause as you consider going multisite?
About Marian Liautaud
Marian joined the Aspen team full-time in 2014. With more than 20 years experience in publishing, she spends her time telling stories about how churches use their facilities as a tool for ministry, and how to align culture, leadership, ministry, and facilities for maximum ministry impact. She spearheads the annual Alignment Conference for Aspen Group and oversees ministry relations and all communications for Aspen Group.