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Prairie Lakes Church in Iowa is unique. Across the state, they have six campuses, a mix of suburban and rural congregations they’ve launched as a part of a strategy to put a Prairie Lakes campus within 30 minutes of every Iowan. For them, embarking on a multisite strategy has been the right answer for reaching more people while staying true to the local culture. A 3,000-seat auditorium? That just didn’t feel like the natural fit to address their expansion needs.

It’s the combo of rural and suburban settings that creates some of the challenges — but also some of the advantages — of a multisite strategy for this church.

We served their fantastic team last year with strategic planning for multisite, and after that process, we asked a few senior leaders to chat with us about what they’ve learned over the years that might encourage other pastors looking to go multisite in rural areas.

You can watch the video of my talk with John Fuller, Jesse Tink and Chris Rygh here:

A few of my favorite quotes from our conversation:

  • “We do church in rural settings, but not only in rural settings. It forces you to clarify your values and resource differently.”
  • “Distance is a big deal. We’re not just putting a campus one suburb over. Our sites are 45 minutes to an hour apart. Multisite church in rural Iowa is a lot like church planting.”
  • “When we launched, we had this idea that it was going to be cookie-cutter across campuses; that hasn’t worked out that way.”
  • “We expanded not necessarily too fast, but for too long. The rate of our expansion outpaced the rate of our development.”


Could your team use an outside perspective as you plan your multisite strategy? Check out our newest online course—Multisite Unstuck

We’re seeing more and more multisite churches unintentionally find themselves at the point of “un-multisiting,” with senior pastors finding themselves thinking, “How did we get here?”

This course is designed to help you navigate running a healthy multisite church through exercises and discussions that will facilitate important conversations with you and your team, all from the convenience of your computer. It really gets down to the why, helps you establish a strategy for multisite success and gives tangible next steps to set you on your feet.

We’re excited about building this multisite community, and I hope you’ll join us!

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