Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: ever since I studied one of the first megachurches that grew exponentially by moving in to multiple smaller venues, St. Thomas’ Church of Sheffield England, in the 1990s I’ve been a big advocate of multiple sites and smaller groups for almost any church.
…. Decades of falling church attendances have left some priests looking after up to 20 rural churches. Previously, a rural priest would need to apply for permission from a bishop to not hold a Sunday service in each church.
The Bishop of Willesden – the Right Reverend Pete Broadbent – chairs the Simplification Task Force formed in 2014 to improve the process of the Church of England. He said changing the law reflected the current practice of priests who look after multiple churches. Following the vote, he said: “You’re meant to get a dispensation from the bishop – this just changes the rules to make it easier for people to do what they’re already doing. It stops the bureaucracy.
“This was just one (amendment) where we said, ‘Out of date, doesn’t work, we’re operating differently in the countryside now, therefore let’s find a way of making it work.'”
When asked if the decision would affect elderly churchgoers in rural locations, who might have to travel further to attend a service, Rev Broadbent said: “No, because at the moment this is already regularised and it’s already happening.”
The Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, said although it was “wonderful” to have “that one day where everyone can concentrate”, the Church had to be realistic about people’s day to day lives.
“Times are changing – it is not just about a shortage of clergy but also the fact that people work on a Sunday,” she said. “There is no use in crying over spilt milk. We need to find creative ways to worship.”
She added that at her churches “Thursday is the new Sunday”.
Commentary by Prof. B.: Having planted a church and coached perhaps hundreds of others, I believe that the current planting models are often overly dependent upon expensive strategies. Therefore I welcome this case study of a church with many ministries but no building. Instead they link the community to its many activities via a cell phone app. I coach a nearby church to this one and the pastor there told me that she thought this new model of church planting would be expanded through out her diocese (she is a bishop). Here is the article written by an editorial board at Duke University on this potentially replicable church planting model.
Church has no walls but many doors, accessible to seekers and skeptics
by Leadership & Faith Editorial Board, Duke University, 1/31/18.
…Taco Church was part of the newly launched St. Isidore Episcopal, a “church without walls” focused on small group discipleship and community service. The church didn’t have a building, and it didn’t want one, Steele said. Instead, it had a cellphone app, linking members to the church’s many parts.
As Steele explained, St. Isidore was one church embodied in many different ways. It wasn’t just Taco Church. It would eventually become three house churches, a pub theology group, a free laundry ministry, a food truck and more. It was all quite unorthodox, except the liturgy and theology, which were decidedly Episcopalian.
… This Easter, a little over a year after his first Taco Church, Mraz and his 6-year-old son were baptized in a service he helped organize as a member of the St. Isidore leadership team.
Finding new possibilities
As many mainline Protestant churches shrink and shutter across the United States, St. Isidore is finding new possibilities by marrying a denomination’s traditions with a decentralized structure drawn from the emergent-church playbook. It’s a mission church and “research and development” effort launched by Trinity Episcopal Church, a 1,500-member parish in The Woodlands, a suburb north of Houston.
“I am not trying to do something old in a new way; I am trying to do something brand-new in the old way,” said Steele, the entrepreneurial 38-year-old priest behind the experiment. “Many [church planters] feel they need to jettison the tradition. I actually think we need to be more church, not less.”
Steele holds tightly to Episcopal liturgy even as he brings it into novel settings such as breweries and laundromats. St. Isidore is aimed not just at unorthodox places, he said, but also at unorthodox people, like the formerly Daoist chicken farmer who now runs the pub theology group.
“I’m trying to think about the people who aren’t going to a church on a Sunday morning,” Steele said. “I’m not interested in getting Christians that are already Christian.”
What are the thresholds to your church? How can they be made easier to cross?
The Rev. Gerry Sevick, the rector at Trinity (link is external), hired Steele straight out of seminary in 2012 with the understanding that he would eventually plant a new church or start a missional community.
“There’s a population out there hungry for spirituality and hungry for a community of faith,” Sevick said. “While they’re skeptical about a traditional church, they are willing to explore an alternative way of being church…”
Church for the unchurched
…Starting in January 2015, Sevick gave Steele 10 hours a week to focus on research, dreaming, planning and working with a church-planting coach — a luxury possible perhaps only at a large multi-staff parish.
That March, a lay staff member mentioned half-jokingly that she wanted to do outreach with a free food truck. Steele jumped at the idea and started the fundraising; the food truck manufacturer became a major contributor.
The first ministry group, Pub Theology, began as an experiment in August 2015. Like similar gatherings nationwide, it attracted an eclectic mix of believers and nonbelievers across several generations. Some of them also joined other St. Isidore activities as they launched, while some just came out for the Tuesday night beer-and-discussion gatherings.
Taco Church began around the same time after Steele noticed that the group of guys he encountered at his neighborhood gym every day often shared surprisingly intimate conversations. He saw a community of trust and mutual interest that felt sort of like church.
Steele asked whether they would be interested in getting up an hour early on a Wednesday to meet across the street at Taco Bell.
“We’ll just start gathering together and praying together, and we’ll see how it unfolds,” he told them.
Four guys showed up the first time. Steele wanted to help the men recognize that their community already was blessed and that they could set it apart as sacred. Now about 10 men gather each Wednesday, including a lawyer, an event promoter and a dishwasher who was homeless for two years before he found housing with Steele’s help.
After working through a series of check-in questions, the group studies a parable. They share wisdom across generations, poke fun at each other and break bread — specifically, breakfast tacos and some Chick-fil-A sandwiches sneaked in for variety.
A few months in, one of the members asked the others where they attended church…
House churches, empowering laity
In the fall of 2015, Steele interviewed more than a dozen families from Trinity and elsewhere to find the group that would form the first house church. They began meeting in October to talk about core values and how to lead house churches. From the beginning, he wanted to empower lay leaders, whom he said churches often render impotent.
After St. Isidore was officially commissioned in January 2016, the first house church, aimed at families with young children, began meeting at the Steeles’ home. A second house church launched the following month. For several months, people would visit but not stick around. Steele, though, was patient.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Kris McDaniel is the pastor of an Atlanta megachurch affiliated with Anglican Church of North America says that “parish” is a better way to describe the venues of a multisite church. Parish historically indicates local shepherding and spiritual mentoring. I agree, for I have always felt the term multi-“site” emphasizes the location/facility in lieu of neighborhood pastoring.
Personal conversation with students at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University DMin, Atlanta, GA on 6/20/16.
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: A multi-campus or multi-site approach creates an “economy of scale” that can better fund and support church multiplication. I call this the “Alliance Model of Church Multiplication,” which especially lends itself to growing multi-ethnic and multi-cultural churches. However more important than the lead pastor in this strategy, is the campus pastor who will indigenize the church’s ministry to the local context. See this helpful report with sample job descriptions by my friend Warren Bird. It examines what makes a good campus pastor and why selecting them is even more important than selecting locations for church multiplication strategies.
by Warren Bird, Leadership Network, 10/8/15.
One of the most-asked questions from multisite churches is, “What should we look for in a campus pastor?” or more specifically “What are some of the best campus pastor job descriptions that we could adapt?”
This mini-report, drawing from a recent Leadership Network survey of campus pastors, tries to address just that. It shows the relationship between what a campus pastor does, and how those emphases impact the job description. The final part of the report reprints a number of actual job descriptions for a campus pastor (and offers a way to obtain even more examples)…
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “In my book ‘The Healthy Church‘ I have suggested there are 5 historical models of multicultural (or multiethnic) churches. I then evaluated each through the lens of John Perkins’ 3Rs. The ‘Alliance Model’ emerged as the best at addressing Perkins’ 3Rs. In this model different worship services are offered by one church in which the leadership is shared equally among all cultures. This actually creates more intercultural integration than merely worshiping together (though an Alliance Church worships united at times too :-). Here is a good example of one such church in San Diego, ‘Hope Church.’ Their motto is “Unity in diversity. One church that is multiethnic and multisite’. And their senior pastor is scheduled to address my Doctor of Ministry students in San Diego in 2018.”
San Diego is home to over 1.5 million people who live in neighborhoods such as Paradise Hills, North Park, City Heights, and surrounding communities like La Mesa and San Carlos. These communities reflect the rich diversity of San Diego and each person takes great pride in their neighborhood.
One size fits all is great for socks, not so great for church. Therefore, we have taken a neighborhood approach to church, establishing churches in individual neighborhoods throughout San Diego. Our neighborhood approach helps us become more involved in the life of each community, multiplying resources and opportunities to serve, while maintaining the neighborhood feel.
Each Hope Church campus is connected to all the other campuses through vision, values, and approach to ministry. But just as each neighborhood is unique, so is each campus. Every location has it’s own individual style, Preaching/Campus Pastor, localized ministries, and the common goal to see churches started in every neighborhood of San Diego.
Ask any multisite church leader today what the most important component is in multisiting and the overwhelming answer is the campus pastor.
When I went to Willow Creek in the year 2000 to pioneer the multisite strategy I was the startup campus pastor for the first site, second site, third and fourth sites while leading the whole multisite effort. Why? No one wanted to leave the mothership for a role that had never been done for a strategy that had never been tried. Today Willow Creek gathers in seven locations across greater Chicago with much better campus pastors…!
What Does a Campus Pastor Do?
The answer to that question will depend upon the church’s purpose for multisiting, but the basic premise of a multisite church is to consistently reproduce the ministry best practices and DNA of the sending church. Therefore the primary responsibility of a campus pastor is to ensure that transfer—to be one church in multiple locations. This involves leading local site staff and volunteer teams to extend the reach and impact of the sending church.
What Are the Characteristics of an Effective Campus Pastor?
Having assisted many multisite churches across the nation, here are the characteristics I see in effective campus pastors. Assuming that this individual is a spiritually mature person of character with a proven track record, an ideal campus or site pastor is the face with the place who is a:
1. High capacity leader: a high energy,catalytic, self-starter who not only gets things done, but makes things happen!
2. Team player: someone who people will follow, but who can also follow the senior leadership of the church. Not a lone ranger maverick, but someone who is able to work on a team and within the church structure.
3. People magnet: a relational “animal” that draws people like flies to honey. They love people and people love being around them. They have a high “fun factor.”
4. Mobilizer: this person not only attracts followers but can turn them into volunteers, volunteer teams and volunteer leaders. The key to success in any pastoral position!
5. Multi-tasker: shows high capacity to juggle a lot of balls simultaneously and loves the juggling act.
6. Communicator: doesn’t have to be a bible teacher unless on the teaching team, but is capable and articulate speaking to a room full of people.
7. DNA Carrier: bleeds and defaults to the mission, vision, values, and senior leadership of the church.
The two traits that repeatedly come to the top in all of our surveys about campus pastors is that this person needs to be a high capacity leader who possesses the DNA of the church…
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “Before it was popular, I was championing a multi-site church growth strategy almost 30 years ago. I noticed that they had a higher survivability rate than church pants, were fiscally healthier because they shared their assets and had better leadership mentoring and development. This trend, which I begin advocating in my first book (now 12 books later) is an effective strategy for church leaders of growing churches to consider. Check out this latest research from my colleague Warren Bird then also check out my “4 Models of Multi-site Churches Evaluated & Appraised” in a Great Commission Research Journal article or my book “The Healthy Church.”
by Warren Bird, LeadNet, 8/1/15.
The latest multisite research affirms that the growth of “one church meeting in two or more locations under one overall leadership and budget” shows no signs of slowing down. Yet even as the movement continues to expand, many significant themes are developing in how churches do multisite.
Overall the news is optimistic: Multisite churches grow faster, have more lay participation and reach more new believers than single-site churches.
These findings are featured in the Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard, a major report releasing in March, which draws from a huge Leadership Network survey and is also supplemented by two other major studies. Key points will be forecast over the next several issues of this publication.
Impact of Multisite – By Broadest Definition
• 5 million – the number of people who worshipped at a multisite church last weekend in the United States alone, according to the National Congregations Study sponsored by Duke University
• 8,000 – the number of multisite churches currently found in the United States, according to the same study. (The wording of that survey allowed churches to call themselves multisite if they had multiple venues–such as services in the sanctuary, chapel and gym, but all on one campus.)
• 9% – the percent of all Protestant churchgoers who attend a multisite church
• 3% – the percent of all Protestant churches that are multisite
• 80% – the percentage of US states that have known multisite churches. Over 40 have known multisite churches, as do Washington D.C., Canada’s 9 largest provinces, and several dozen other countries, all according to Leadership Network’s database and its list of global megachurches.
Multisite as Door Opener
Multisite has opened new doors for leaders such as those at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC.
A member of one of Summit’s six locations was serving a needy family in a neighboring city. As the relationship developed and the person being helped expressed an interest in attending church, the Summit member was able to connect them to a Summit campus closer to home.
“It was a good example of one church reaching out across a larger metropolitan area to meet needs,” says David Tran, one the Summit’s pastors. “Our congregation really gets the vision of the church to be a Gospel-centered community that is here to reach people and bless our city.”
J.D. Greear, Senior Pastor, adds, “We can bless people when we are closer to them. That’s why we plant campuses—to bring the ministry closer to home. The entire church gets excited about it and gets behind it,” he concludes…
Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: One of my students found an excellent example of a church that employs:
1) multiple worship venues for evangelistic diversity in worship,
2) while at the same time offering a common foyer area that promotes intercultural interaction before and after worship.
This floor plan is an example of a “one type” of multicultural church called the “Multicultural Alliance Church” (see “Five Models of Multicultural Churches” in Whitesel, The Healthy Church, pp. 62-76). It is an “alliance” of several culturally different congregations (Builder Generation, Boomer Generation, Gen. X-Millennial Generation, etc.) that worship differently but share the same building to pool their assets.
Because the purpose of worship is to draw close to God, not a time for fellowship between humans … such floor plans make theological and evangelistic sense. According to the Hebrew word shachah, worship is “a close encounter with a king which fosters in reverence, respect and praise” (Whitesel, ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011., p. 96).
This is from their website: “At the Little Rock campus, we have three venues from which you can choose – Worship Center, the Warehouse or Chapel. Each of these venues offers a different worship style but has the same teaching. The Worship Center is our largest venue and provides a rich blend of hymns and contemporary worship and most often hosts the live teaching. The Warehouse worship experience incorporates many contemporary elements and takes place in our Warehouse. The Chapel is our most traditional worship experience, which has hymns, communion and other elements that engage the more traditional worshipper.” Fellowship Bible Church, Little Rock, AR (http://www.fellowshiponline.com/get-connected/locations/detail/little-rock/). You can download a copy here: Campus Overview.
Take a look at these floor plans. They can inspire you to create multiple venues in one congregation or location that will not only multiply evangelistic relevance … but unity among diversity too.
Pastor’s multiple personalities suit congregation just fine
SAN DIEGO — A pastor diagnosed with two separate personalities continues to pastor his congregation at Fairview Baptist church as two different people, one in first service and one in second.
The first service, known as “the morgue” because of its preponderance of elderly people, knows pastor Ken Miller as conservative and subdued. He sings old hymns and limits his homily to 15 minutes. During the service he rarely strays from the pulpit.
But in second service, which the church advertises as their “contemporary” service, the same man emerges pumping his fists, jumping up and down and yelling, “Come on, people! Praise Him!” Miller charges through a power-packed hour of rock-and-roll worship and a motivational sermon. The much younger audience seems to connect with his energetic, humorous approach.
Miller’s personality shift happens promptly at 10:15 a.m. every Sunday morning when he’s reviewing his notes between services…
“It’s weird, but it works,” Miller says. “It makes it easy to conduct multiple services. Other pastors might have to think about shaping their presentation for a certain audience. For me, it happens automatically…”
Miller hit a snag recently when his second-service personality proposed building a larger, grander facility on the outskirts of town. His first-service personality had deep reservations, echoed by the more conservative first service audience.
“There is some directional tension with that, yes,” Miller says in his first-service personality. “I’m not sure building a fancier building will make the church any stronger.”
But during Sunday morning second service, Miller’s other personality sounds an opposite tone, insisting that the church must grow and remain relevant in the community. Twice, Miller’s second-service personality has purchased property for the new site, only to have his first-service personality call back later and rescind the offer…
Published by The Great Commission Research Journal (La Mirada, Calif: Talbot School of Theology, Biola University), vol. 6, issue 1, 2014, pp. 22-35.
This article puts forth a comprehensive and reconciliation-based paradigm through which to view multicultural congregations as one of five models or types. It updates the historical categories of Sanchez, adds contemporary models and then evaluates each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation. The five models are: 1) the asset sharing Multicultural Alliance, 2) the collaborative Multicultural Partnership, 3) the asymmetrical Mother-Daughter model, 4) the popular Blended approach and 5) the Cultural Assimilation model. The result is a comprehensive five-model paradigm that includes an assessment of each model’s potential for spiritual and intercultural reconciliation.
This article assesses the strengths and weaknesses of different multicultural church models. Daniel Sanchez offered some of the earliest depictions of such models, but 35 years later they beg to be updated. And despite the proliferation of books on the topic, no significant updating or additions to Sanchez’s categories have been offered other than the Sider et. al. partnership model.
In addition, there is a vibrant discussion today regarding how John Perkins’ intercultural goals of redistribution, relocation and reconciliation are being addressed by churches. Therefore, it can be helpful to assess how well different models of multicultural congregations are addressing each of Perkins’ intercultural reconciliation goals.
The following five models of multicultural congregations suggest a new and contemporized paradigm. I will analyze each through a 10-point grid of: nomenclature, mode of growth, relationships, pluses, minuses, degree of difficulty, creator complex, redistribution, relocation and reconciliation…
 Though the term multiethnic church is often used today, I will use the broader term multicultural, since culture is a more accurate way to describe people who share similar behaviors, ideas, fashion, literature, music, etc. [c.f. Paul Hiebert, Cultural Anthropology, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1976), p. 25]. Ethnicity is a type of culture often based on biological connections to a geographic area of origin, such as Sri Lankans (from the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka), Yemenis (from the Republic of Yemen) or Chinese (from the People’s Republic of China). But the term ethnicity is very imprecise, because there may be dozens of different ethnic groups that hail from the same area of origin. Since ethnicity is so imprecise, culture will be utilized in this article.
 Daniel Sanchez, “Viable Models for Churches in Communities Experiencing Ethnic Transition.” (paper, Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1976).
 Ronald J. Sider, John M. Perkins, Wayne L. Gordon, and F. Albert Tizon, Linking Arms, Linking Lives: How Urban-Suburban Partnerships Can Transform Communities, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008).
 John M. Perkins, A Quiet Revolution: The Christian Response to Human Need, a Strategy for Today (Pasadena, CA: Urban Family Publications, 1976), p. 220.
This article is excerpted and reedited from The Healthy Church: Practical Ways to Strengthen a Church’s Heart (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 2013).
(From The Bridges of God [Revised Edition] by Donald Anderson McGavran. Published in the United Kingdom by World Dominion Press, 1955. Revised edition 1981. Distributed in the United States by Friendship Press, New York. Used by permission.)
by Wesley Seminary student Christopher Herman, MMLO41 Building a Multi-Generational Ministry Course, 2/3/2015.
Dr. Whitesel, I have seen that a sub-congregation in seed form already resides in nearly every U.S. nursing home – all 16,100 of them (CDC, 2013). Yes! Yes! Yes! Most churches should use nursing homes as a venue.
Nursing homes are prime locations for planting sub-congregations, especially low-income skilled nursing facilities financed primarily through Medicaid. These are going to be the most common type, to be certain, because of the anticipated tripling of the U.S. elderly population, and quadrupling of the population over age 90 we can expect over the next 25 years (He & Muenchrath, 2011). They are good places for “good deeds” but “good deeds” through occasional, intermittent entry into the facility are simply not enough to build relationships. One of the charges the Bishop made when I was ordained was to the priesthood was to gather the scattered sheep of Christ Jesus in the midst of this sinful world. I have been compelled by the Holy Spirit to search for them at a nursing home. We found out over the years that the deliberate presence of people in the lives of people living in nursing homes is of paramount importance (after prayer).
I can say with confidence that I am an expert in this particular type of ministry – and I have seen many churches come and go, flashes in the pan, providing worship services for a time, but eventually leaving. I think the reason could be that the leaders do not fully understand that the most important aspect of nursing home ministry is faithful presence through the whole process of arrival, orientation to the new culture, learning there is hope for the future and that life has not ended, and being invited to be part of the lives of fellow residents and the local expression of the Body of Christ in the place. A sacramental approach to life, including Holy Communion, is helpful. Clergy who rely upon oration alone are often frustrated because about half of the residents have dementia and are therefore unable to comprehend phrases longer than five words, let alone a whole sermon. I have seen pastors try to minister but leave because nobody complimented their sermons. Nursing homes need a different ministry emphasis, but any church can do this (Shamy, 2003).
A culture has to be established – the local Christians must unite, cross denominational lines, and impact the lives of others through loving God, one another, and their neighbors in the small world in which they live. This sort of ministry cannot be done well with merely having an occasional worship service. Those are not bad, but they are not what is really needed. It takes years to gain the trust of the management, the staff, and the residents. Most American churches are not willing to sacrifice for several years because it is not in our instant access cultural mindset to be faithful for long periods of time to build relationships in the community. The payoff is huge, though, if we are faithful for longer periods of time. I can go into the facility and go anywhere I desire, any time I want without any sort of escort, and anybody I endorse in that place is immediately given the same privileges because the management knows I have gone through the effort of checking peoples’ backgrounds, and I have vetted them carefully before endorsing their presence. This is because there is trust. Trust is like the oxygen in a relationship. Once a church has trust in a venue, that church is very effective. I know that more than half of the people who come into the facility we serve will either rededicate his or her life to Christ after as many as 70 years of estrangement, or seek to be baptized. I have seen it happen hundreds of times, even in a facility with an average total population of only 81.
The answer to your question is YES!! (I apologize for yelling, but I cannot stress this enough). Yes sub-congregations can be developed. I have seen it. We have done it…Well, God did it and let us help. Every church should adopt at least one nursing home, making it a venue. I would give anything, anything to help large churches adopt several! A nursing home is a prime venue for the Church of the 21st century if we can but see reality. I am not exaggerating – before the end of this Century there will be more than 400 Million people who live in nursing homes (Vincent & Velkoff, 2010). The Church is largely absent today. Nursing homes want the support of churches and they will welcome us if we will but be faithful.
Yes, Dr. Whitesel, nursing homes should be a venue for most churches.
If anyone wants help doing this, we will give it. We will support such endeavors with everything we have! In all truth, my ministry exists to help the Church do this!
Often when considering a multiplication strategy, leaders wonder how many worship services a church should attempt. Most leaders understand the strategic advantages of offering as many celebration options and styles as feasible.
But how many is too many, and how many are too few? 6 Answers…
The question of type, time, and format of worship celebrations is a very delicate issue. And, without a complete understanding of each reader’s scenario I would be remiss to state here definitively. But, I can give you some general guidelines.
1. Have your services on the weekends if at all possible. These always prove to be better attended (for all generations: builder to organic) than weeknights. And, in my personal survey of client congregations:
Saturday evenings only have 20% of the attendance you can expect on Sunday mornings.
10:30 am on Sunday seems to be the optimum time (for my clients at least) to draw people in.
Therefore, try to have as many services at 10:30 am on Sunday. This might therefore mean multiple venues, sites, etc. for maximum connection with non-churchgoers.
2. Do not let an occasional teenage service suffice for your adding an emerging/organic church worship celebration. Emerging/organic ministries are more college-level and 30-something in target and draw. Keep high school and college-aged gatherings separate from one another.
3. Analyze your community (I show how to do this in my book “A House Divided,” and to even a greater extent in “CURE for the Common Church”). It is from your community that you will find unreached age and/or people groups and thus whom the worship celebration should be reaching out to.
4. Try to offer as many options as you can, given your person power. In “A House Divided” (Abingdon Press, 2000) I explain how to start a new service:
By getting a committed core of (a minimum) 50 individuals who will commit one year to this new celebration and then replace themselves.
If you are offering a modern service and it is 80% full, I would reduplicate that. Or if you have the person power to reduplicate it (even though you are not 80% full) I would duplicate it to reach more people.
The more options you offer, proportionally more of the community you will attract to the Good News.
However, if your modern service is less than 80% full and you have another generational or sub-cultural group in the area, you could start a new expression aimed at this new sub-cultural group. In most communities today, a church should offer a traditional celebration, a modern celebration, and an organic/emergent celebration. Then reduplicate these as needed. Times for each should be ascertained from people of these age groups “outside” of the church.
5. Go slow. As you will learn in my book “Staying Power” (Abingdon Press, 2002) or “Preparing for Change Reaction” (Abingdon Press, 2006, chapter 8) research indicates that if you move too fast with new ideas (such as launching a new worship celebration), then you will not get all of your reticent members on board. Feeling left out, or at least circumvented, the reticent members will coalesce into a sub-group someday and you will have two factions. So remember, though you are enthusiastic about offering more worship options after reading this chapter, go slow and get reticent members on board to ensure success.
6. Finally, there is a very good book that goes into this and is one of your recommended readings for this course. It is “How to Start a New Service” by Charles (Chip) Arn. Professor Arn goes into great detail, and to ensure success if you are planning on starting a new celebration, you should get this book. And, Chip Arn is also a faculty for our Wesley Seminary at IWU M.Div. program, teaching for us full time as Professor of Christian Ministry and Outreach.
The 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…
by Keith Farner, Gwinnett Daily Post, Wednesday, January 7, 2015.
LAWRENCEVILLE — In the days leading up to Sunday, Kevin Myers has the same kind of feeling he had 27 years ago when the 12Stone ministry began.
The senior pastor at 12Stone church said Wednesday he feels “all kinds of excitement” and “great expectations” because the church is about to do something not done in its history, and only sparingly seen in churches across the country.
12Stone on Sunday will launch five new campuses across Gwinnett and Barrow counties that will more than double its destinations for worship. The church, which averages about 16,000 people each Sunday, will open the new campuses at schools where they expect to welcome about 300 people each.
The expansion brings 12Stone’s total worship offering to 27 opportunities across nine campuses…
The locations will be called Bethlehem at Yargo Elementary in Winder, Braselton at Duncan Creek Elementary in Hoschton, Buford at Lanier High, Grayson at Covenant Christian Academy in Loganville and Pharr Elementary in Snellville.
It’s existing campuses are in Lawrenceville, Hamilton Mill, Flowery Branch and Duluth.
It’s not the first time 12Stone has partnered with schools. Before it opened the Sugarloaf campus in Duluth, it held services for two years at Peachtree Ridge High.
Each campus will have a full-time campus pastor, full-time worship leader/youth pastor, part-time administrative assistant and part-time children’s ministry director. The church also plans to add three to five positions to its central support staff because of the expansion. Plans for the expansion began about 20 months ago, Myers said.
The new locations were chosen because Myers said that’s where the church has the most people and most influence. In a preliminary list, the church looked into other cities such as Gainesville, Jefferson and Athens, and Myers said the church could still reach those areas or eventually add a location there.
“So part of what this does is actually opens up the door to future opportunities as well,” he said…
All of the new locations will have services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays, and Buford and Braselton will also have 1 p.m. services.
“The convenience factor is significant, but so is the connection, which is the most important thing,” Myers said. “People are connected in communities. If we’re going to see people come to faith and find God’s better life, we’ve got to be closer to their community. Community and connection are really important to us and why we would even bother to bring the church into another community…”
Students Publish Articles as an Alternative Assignment for CONG-520: Building a Multi-generational Church
As an alternative assignment for CONG-520, Dr. Whitesel encourages students to write two articles for publication based upon what they have learned about multiplying cross cultural sub-congregations (venues, sites, campuses) in his course.
Below is an abbreviated list of students who have had the articles they wrote for this course published.
The Salvation Army Magazine called The Officer is published internationally to 111 countries, ran an article by Robyn Bridgeo titled “Third Space.” The article was birthed out of ideas discussed in this course.
Dr. Whitesel stated, “This is a great way for students to share insights from their Building a Multi-generational Church course with other church leaders. And, as I recall, none of the above students expected to be published.”
by Julia Rendleman, The Pittsburg Post Gazette, 11/9/14
Churches have absorbed immigrants from the fast-growing, youthful Christian populations of Latin America, Africa and Asia, and synagogues have received Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union.
Congregations serve as both spiritual filling stations and all-purpose social networks for those seeking referrals for jobs and human services or just the experience of familiar languages and foods.
“This is my spiritual home, also my home away from home,” said Jane Chan of Pittsburgh Chinese Church in McCandless, where the Bethel Park resident has been a longtime member and volunteer. The independent Protestant church, with roots in 1930s Chinatown, has weekly services and classes in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, followed by a communal meal.
Ahmed Arafat of Brookline, an information technology worker who came here from Gaza in 1999 to study at the University of Pittsburgh, got involved at the Islamic Community of Pittsburgh in Oakland, soon after his arrival. “It’s been my center for the last 15 years,” he said…
Pittsburgh’s changing religious landscape has been evident in visits by the Post-Gazette to more than 20 congregations, worship services and faith-based service organizations serving immigrant populations:
At a historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in the Strip District, amid displays of Polish icons and prayer cards reflecting its immigrant founders, a bride and groom pray at a side altar to the Virgin Mary after a bilingual wedding — in English and Vietnamese.
In a carpeted former Presbyterian sanctuary in downtown Carnegie, rows of Muslims from many nationalities kneel and prostrate amid Arabic prayers at a Friday service.
At a Pentecostal church in a former auto parts warehouse in Wilkinsburg, immigrants from West Africa and a few Americans bob and sway, raise their arms and sing exuberant worship choruses: “I’ve never seen your kind-oh, this kind God- oh!”
At a makeshift temple in the storage room of a Carrick grocery store, refugee priests from Bhutan chant in Sanskrit and prepare a small fire offering in honor of the Hindu goddess Durga.
At a modest Greenfield storefront, a dozen mostly American-born participants recite an ancient Buddhist chant, sit silently on meditation cushions and hear a teaching from a Tibetan lama.
On the streets of Oakland, Spanish-speaking Catholics process with a painting of the crucified Christ, re-enacting a centuries-old Peruvian tradition in honor of Senor de los Milagros, “Lord of the Miracles.”
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