MULTIPLICATION & The multisite model survives.

The Modern Megachurch Can’t Really Die: That’s because it’s not just one church.

By Ruth Graham, Slate Magazine, 1/22/15.

Mars Hill churchThe former Mars Hill church in Seattle, and the multisite afterlife.

But there’s a twist ending to this story, and it’s one that tells a surprising shift in the evolution of American evangelicalism: Most of Mars Hill’s church locations live on. That’s because despite having at least 15,000 weekly attendees at its peak, Mars Hill was not a “megachurch” in the old-fashioned sense: one stadium-size building with a pastor visible from the balconies as a speck on stage (and looming on a Jumbotron). Instead, it had embraced the “multisite model” of church growth, which has been ascendant in evangelicalism since around the turn of the millennium and is changing the way successful churches operate—and survive.

With the multisite model, a growing church doesn’t keep expanding indefinitely in one location. Instead, it plants satellites that operate with varying degrees of independence; often, a senior pastor will preach at the main campus and the sermon is broadcast onto screens in the other locations. A report last year found that almost 1 in 10 American Protestants now attends a multisite church. There are 8,000 such churches in the country, up from 5,000 in 2010. (That figure also includes churches that hold more than one service in the same location, a more traditional way of making a gigantic church feel more intimate.) Multisite churches in the largest category, with more than 15,000 weekly attendees, had an average of more than eight campuses each…

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