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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Multisite

Not that many years ago most people who attended church went to a single building with somewhere between 50 and 250 people. One pastor and probably a part-time church secretary made up the entire staff, with one or more volunteer musicians, volunteer Children’s ministry leaders, and perhaps dreams of one day hiring a youth minister.

Then the world began to change. I am not sure when it was that we began to hear about something called a megachurch, but I am thinking it was probalby longer ago that it seems, perhaps in the 1970s. Megachurches were usually defined as congregations with 2,000 people or more in attendance. Churches of this size were able to do many things because of their economy of scale. For instance, they could hire not only a youth pastor, but pastors or leaders for all kinds of ministries, not to mention a full-time worship leader.

It is only within the past few years that I began to hear about another new thing; churches with more than one campus. Generally the new locations are under the direction of the same leadership team and board of directors, but with a site specific pastor and staff. The first book I read on this subject was the 2002 title, Fling Open the Doors by a United Methodist Pastor, Paul Nixon. At that time, Nixon was himself a pastor of a second site congregation in Florida. (Paul Nixon is also the author of I Refuse to Lead a Dying Church, and Finding Jesus on the Metro.) At the time, I found it a somewhat surprising concept, but this development, now known as a multisite (or a multisite church), has become a significant trend. In fact, according to a new report by the Leadership Network, there are now about 3,000 multisite churches in North America, which is more than the number of megachurches.

You might expect that multisite churches are churches that have grown so big that they cannot accommodate any more people or parking at their current facilities. Sometimes that is the case, however not all multisites are huge. Multisite churches vary in size from 100 to more than 10,000 people.

Churches may have a variety of reasons for starting a second or third location. For example, some services may be conducted in another language, and it may be advantageous to have those services in a certain neighbourhood. This would especially be true if the main church is not serviced by convenient public transit. Most second campuses are close to the first, however, with 85% being within 30 minutes travel and 40% within 15 minutes. The most popular venues for second or third sites are schools, but others include storefronts and movie theatres.

The point of this blog is not to evaluate or judge this trend in any way; it is simply to report on it. It is an interesting development.

If you would like to read the full, 26 page report from the Leadership Network, entitled Multisite is Multiplying, you can download it here. You will be asked to complete a very simple registration with your name and email address before you can download the full report. Enjoy!

Posted by Carman

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