Rural Multisite Church: The Challenges & Advantages of Being One Church in Multiple Locations

Rural Multisite Church: The Challenges & Advantages of Being One Church in Multiple Locations

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 coaching and consulting opportunities for multisite.

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By |2017-03-22T15:11:07+00:00March 20th, 2017|Leadership, Strategy|1 Comment

About the Author:

Amy is a Ministry Consultant with The Unstuck Group. She served as the Executive Director of Weekend Services for over 12 years at Eagle Brook Church in the Twin Cities, helping the church grow from 3,000 to over 20,000. Today she works with churches of all sizes, providing a fresh perspective and concrete strategies to strengthen their processes, staff health and weekend experience.

One Comment

  1. Chris Coppernoll April 7, 2017 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    It’s always surprising where you’ll find inspiration as a church planter. I appreciate this staff discussion with Prairie Lakes Church. Our 2 and 1/2 year old church plant is being approached from various directions to merge with other area churches, large and small, and so to expand our ministries. The wisdom of Prairie Lakes Church drawn from their experiences has made an impression on how we will go forward.

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