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Trends Emerging in Multisite Ministry

Over the course of the past decade, we’ve talked a lot about multisite. If you dig around on our site, you’ll find no shortage of content on all things multisite. (Check out this multisite best practices page. It’s loaded with seriously practical content in a lot of different areas.)

Recently, we polled two team members to get their insight into what’s going on in multisite ministry strategy in 2020—Tony Morgan, our founder and lead strategist, and Paul Alexander, a ministry consultant on our team who is also actively serving as Executive Pastor at Sun Valley in Arizona.

What trends are emerging? What strategies are tried and true? And what are they seeing that might bring some help your campuses thrive? 

Tony and Paul share their thoughts—

Multisite Trends

  • “After many (some very public) churches opted to shut down, or spin off campuses as individual churches, it seems some have been led to believe or state that the ‘multisite movement’ is dead.” We’ve been using the ‘multistuck’ language for a while, but multistuck is now officially a trend. I’d assume this is for lots of reasons. Primarily, I’m seeing churches jump on the bandwagon of other successful churches that are preaching the same. They’re not ‘counting the cost’ in advance—and I don’t just mean financially—and it gets them stuck.” Paul
  • “I’m also seeing an increase in church mergers. With church attendance declining in the US and the pipeline of people jumping into ministry shrinking, mergers are going to pick up steam.” Paul

Live vs. Video Teaching

  • “We need to stop arguing about video teaching and saying things like ‘It won’t work in our town or part of the country.’ People aren’t becoming less accustomed to screens in our culture. Bad teaching is bad teaching and bad video presentation is bad video presentation, but video teaching works everywhere. Rural multisite also works.” Paul
  • “With rare exceptions, we’re seeing clearly that having different live teachers at different locations will eventually divide the church.” Tony

Multisite Models

  • “I’ve seen churches use church planting principles to launch a multisite campus. That usually ends up with the wrong leader in the wrong location in a church that will eventually become independent.” Tony
  • Letting different campuses have the freedom to change ministry strategies to fit their ministry context is a recipe for disaster. It will divide the team and eventually divide the church. If the ministry context is so different that it requires a different strategy, the church your plant rather than multisite.” Tony
  • Churches that hope to scale beyond just two or three campuses need to pay attention to their model to make sure it is financially sustainable. The more independent the campuses, the more it’s going to cost.” Tony
  • “While there are a lot of ways people are trying to do multisite, not all multisite models or approaches are created equal. Some work (more people meeting Jesus and growing) better than others. I think many churches and church leaders are still confused about what multisite is and isn’t.” Paul

Multisite Mistakes

  • “The biggest reason that multisite campuses fail is that they launch too small. Again, this is an indication that the church is trying to use a church planting strategy to do multisite.”  Tony

One last thought from Paul—

  • “If your church is thinking about going multisite, you really should consider bringing in some outside help. That’s not just personal bias…that’s Kingdom minded.” 

Multisite in 2020

Without clear strategies for ministry, multisite, expansion and execution, multisite can get churches multistuck. We see it all the time. 

Our team combined has 100+ years of experience leading in churches with successful multisite strategies. We can guide you to assess multisite readiness, build your model and strategies, and align your staff and structure to the strategy. 

Interested in learning how it works? Check out our Multisite Unstuck Process

Ready to start a conversation?  Let’s talk.

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