Little did we know we were part of a movement across the country, which if it were a church denomination, would be the fourth largest! We’re learning much about MultiSite, as we stand on the Gospel’s Edge, continuing to move forward as God directs. Here are five MultiSite questions to help you get a better idea of the why, how and what. Please pray with us for our next Sites! As always, feel free to email me if you have questions about our next steps (or about anything, for that matter!).
#1 There are others learning how to MultiSite?!?
In 2007 we planted a church out of Heritage Christian Church, fully intending to replicate that (mega church) model on the other side of town. That’s what we knew how to do.
In 2009 as the economy continued to languish, we concluded “Hey, rental space ain’t bad!” Sans permanent building required us to be more clear and intentional about what Jesus called us to: worshipful lifestyle, relational discipleship, missional living.
In 2011 we started a second site not to be “MultisSite” per se, but to facilitate better worshipful, relational, missional living for the folks somewhat consolidated in the Worthington area. We were simply a church with two services…just not in the same location.
In 2013 we engaged a church consultant, Jim Tomberlin, to help us through some challenges we lacked experience to overcome on our own. Among many critical things, Jim let us know we’d been following the Spirit just like thousands of churches across the nation…and it’s called MultiSite church.
Surprisingly, we had organized ourselves, particularly our staff, according to MultiSite practices putting us well ahead of the normal MultiSite development curve, but we’ve got quite a bit of practical stuff to get worked out…
#2 How do you find the right MultiSite leaders?
There are a multitude of considerations and preparations necessary to launch and sustain a Site, but none is more important than finding the lead leader. Every book, seminar and conference regarding MultiSite covers this point: If you don’t get the right leader, nothing else matters.
This has been a hard and painful learning curve. Not just for the church, but for those men who courageously took the lead in uncertain and formative phases of our existence…times of quite a bit of trial and error.
Although deeply thankful for what each of our first Site Leaders provided in the season they provided it, we are only now learning what the best leadership styles, experience, gift-mix, wiring, etc. are necessary to lead a church campus/site in a MultiSite environment.
#3 How must the lead pastor role change as the MultiSite develops?
Personally, my approach to life and God are pretty simple: listen to Him and say “yes” when He asks. That’s why I am where I am. Not because I’m uniquely talented or phenomenal at leading. I just follow God as best I can, and help organize those who come along around the mission and values of God.
I have been slow to add strategic-oriented vision-casting to a more natural values-centered vision-casting. It turns out that as the lead pastor, people expect and need me to speak more clearly into where we believe God is calling us. I speak comfortably about Biblical values and Jesus’ teachings, but it’s always seemed presumptuous to speak to where God is telling us to go.
I tend to think “where we need to go” is right in front of each of our noses…with friends, family and associates, so just do it. “Why do you need me to point it out?!?”
I’m learning how to balance two critical aspects of a leader’s responsibility to guide the church forward in pursuit of our mutual calling. Thanks for your patience.
#4 Who cares about the corporate structure?
In every organization there is a Cause, a Community and a Construct (or Corporation).
We have a Cause: Matthew 28…”go and make disciples [of Jesus].”
We have a Community: Ephesians 2…a new society of people of all sizes, shapes, races, religions, ages, etc., reconciled to God by grace alone through faith alone.
We are deeply committed to our Cause and our Community, but we (well, I) tend to minimize the necessity of a structured and agreed upon way of organizing ourselves.
The Corporation is arguably the least important of the three, and while in too many cases the Corporate structure can zap energy from the Cause and Community (the What distracts from the Who and the Why), it’s imperative to realize that as we grow our effectivity in both Cause and Community, that growth can be severely diminished without good Corporate structure.
Only recently have we accepted the need for more formal church Constructs…the need to move from “mom and pop” structure to more sophisticated structure that can supplement and support the Cause to which we are called and the Community we are to be.
#5 Why MultiSite?
We started a second site out of necessity, and to accommodate a segment of our existing church, and to force leadership development. Not bad reasons, and for the most part we were successful in meeting those goals.
But the best reason of all turns our to be missional.
The best reason to MultiSite is that it leverages the resources and sacrificial efforts of the church for the sake of the gospel…to carry out Jesus’ command to be on mission — to go and help others follow Jesus.
MultiSite is the current leading tool of God in our nation for reaching the un-churched for Jesus, and it’s hard to come up with a better reason than that to learn to MultiSite!
Continue to lean in with us to what God is calling us to do — continue stepping out to make Him more famous among more of those who don’t yet know Him.