Why Your Church Should Not Go Multisite

With over 8000 churches in the U.S. now having a multisite model, single site churches are starting to feel like the fax machines of the church world – they still exist, but how effective are they? But, before you decide to jump on the “one church in multiple locations” bandwagon, not every church can or should go multisite. I heard someone say that going multisite turns cracks unto gaps.

Here are just a few reasons your church should probably camp out for awhile at that one location:

Little white people that STOP you from doing the wrong

1. You’re not filling up the space you have now

I have heard pastors say the reason they are not growing is because they are not in the growing part of town. If they could just start a site where all the hipsters are moving to, the numbers would go up. While location may be a growth barrier for your church, there are probably other reasons why people are not flocking to your services now. I have seen packed churches in stagnant areas of town because people will eventually find the fire. Make sure you are maximizing your current location before thinking about another one. Kevin Costner was wrong – build it and they will not come.

2. Your church does not have a leadership development plan

Starting a new site does not automatically create new leaders. It creates opportunities for new leaders, but if leaders are not being developed to step into those roles, your new campus will eventually fail. Now is not too early to start developing leaders for whatever is next for your church. Start creating learning opportunities that may eventually lead to new positions at a new campus.

3. The staff is doing all of the work

If you thought your staff was stretched thin right now, wait until they have to support a baby campus. The only way for church staff to stay spiritually healthy through church growth is a heavy reliance on volunteers to do the ministry. The excitement of birthing a new site runs out after just a few weeks of double duty. A new location should not be considered until there is committed core of volunteers who will help do the heavy lifting.

4. No one is asking for your church to come to their community

This goes back to #3, but the new site will not get off the ground without a committed core of people from the community supporting it. A great barometer for whether you should add a location in a certain area of town is finding out how many small groups you already have meeting there. A strong network of small groups will provide the base you need for staffing the new ministries. The exception would be if you’re starting a campus in a prison. They should not already be driving to your current location.

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us and the just released, Leading Small Groups: How to Gather, Launch, Lead, and Multiply Your Small Group.