Are you ready to launch your next church? What are the questions you should be asking as you consider this venture? When I was 22, I was completely overwhelmed with pastoring a small church in a tough neighborhood. It looked bleak. My salary was $8,000 a year with no insurance. The church had 18 people and no worship band. I was living in my one-room office with a mattress on the floor and mouse traps all around. I thought, "Wow, we're supposed to be this dynamic ‘change the world’ church and we're just this small, feeble group...the toothless, the broken, the homeless and those with prison sentences."
Many church leaders could write out a list of tasks and priorities for launching a new site. More challenging is having an effective communication plan and solid timeline for sharing the vision, building the team, and creating anticipation that leads up to the launch. What steps are most important to start with? How much time do you need, from start to finish, to build a core group and launch a new site? When is the right time to ask people to make a commitment? What should we be doing to get the word out?
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
What can we learn about church multisite strategy from the business world? As a communications specialist for churches, I am always looking at what's going on in our culture at large, not just within the church world, to help churches communicate clearly and carry out their mission. What are companies doing? What are stores doing? What are coffee shops doing? We want to learn from them what we can and apply those lessons to our ministries and churches.
I originally thought my calling was to use my talents to build high-rise buildings. I was in the high-rise world for the better part of three decades and thought I would stay my whole life, but then I bumped into a gentleman named Lyle Schaller. A member at my home church, he was a great influence on me. Before he passed away, Lyle would come up to me after worship on Sundays, tap me and say, "What's up this week, young man? What are you doing to advance the Kingdom? Never be afraid to use your secular gifts to do the Lord's work."
When I talk with churches about how to launch an online campus, I always share my own story of how I became connected with Church Online. I married an Oklahoman, and we initially settled in his state. We moved into our first little house and lived across the street from this church with very loud music. When I was pregnant with our first child, I felt terribly sick one Sunday morning. We were part of a great local church, but in that church, I had to wear heels and a nice dress to service. I told my husband, "I cannot do that today. I just can't do it, I'm so sick." He said, "Well, I'll just walk across the street to that church where you can wear jeans."
Typically, the most heated conflicts in a church have to do with differences in theological or scriptural interpretations and doctrinal beliefs. But there’s another aspect of church life that gets temperatures rising and causes daily dissension—“thermostat wars.” How many times have you struggled to keep everyone comfortable in a sanctuary that’s not too hot, not too cold—just right for everyone? And when your heat or air conditioning kicks on, does it sound and feel like a sonic boom just went off?
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.
I was present at the beginning of this era of multisite ministry. It was an accident; I was just fortunate enough to work at Leadership Network at a time when we were making a list of and tracking the early practitioners of multisite. After a meeting with a church in 1997 that had already gone multisite, my team and I looked at each other and said, “ This is going to be big.” We then saw a cadre of churches doing similar things across various geographic areas and denominational backgrounds. What began as a list of 78 in the ‘90s has grown to more than 8,000, according to a Duke University survey. I believe we are still in the early chapters of this story. There has been a rapid replication of sites and systems to fit the current context, but we are a long way from seeing the totality of this movement. Drawing from the research within this report and my experience, here are some trends I have observed during the rise of expansion strategies, as well as a few shifts I think we have yet to see unfold:
What do we do when we run out of space? How do we answer God’s call to plant another church or campus site? Where will we find the resources we need to launch a new church? How do we train leaders and raise funds? How do we engage Millennials? Is it even the right time to start thinking about planting a new church? As a church leader, you may find yourself asking these same questions. Weren’t able to make it to Aspen’s 2017 Alignment Conference? Here’s a quick recap of the main stage keynote talks.