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

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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 the Multisite Unstuck Process

Our Multisite Unstuck Process helps you navigate conversations with your team, along with clarifying decision rights, confirming your discipleship path, developing launch plans for future locations and much more.

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? Let’s talk

Amy Anderson

Amy has served as the Director of Consulting at The Unstuck Group since 2016. During this time she has served over 150 churches, helping them design ministry, staffing & multisite strategies that aligns and fuels their mission. Prior to joining the Unstuck team, Amy served as the Executive Director of Weekend Services at Eagle Brook Church in the Twin Cities, helping the church grow from one location of 3,000 to six locations with over 20,000 gathering each weekend. Her husband is a Teaching and Engagement Pastor at Hosanna Church in Lakeville, MN.

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