Jim Tomberlin:  Multi-Site Church Trends for 2009

Orginally published on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:35 AM
by Todd Rhoades

Jim Tomberlin works with tons of multi-site churches as part of his Third Quarter Consulting practice. In a recent newsletter, Jim shared some of the trends he's seeing in the multi-site world, and some of the things you should watch for in 2009. These are very interesting. Multi-site ministry is really changing the landscape of what many churches look like. Here is Jim's list of what 2009 may bring...

1. Mainstreaming of multi-site by the next generation of pastors.
For them, it’s not a question of “if” to go multi-site, just a matter of “when.” Multi-site was initially perceived as a celebrity pastor vehicle for building an empire. Now it is increasingly seen as a parallel to or an expression of church planting. The next generation has truly caught the reproducing/multiplying church bug and its spreading.

2. Giga-churches/smaller campuses/multiple-venues.
There will be more and bigger mega-churches, but they will meet in multiple smaller facilities.  In church construction, giga-size churches (10,000+ weekend attendance) will build smaller buildings of 1,000-1,500 seats or add multiple venues in one location instead of building one big auditorium.  They won’t be putting all their “eggs in one basket.” Most will grow by retro-fitting existing “third place” spaces.

3. Double-digit multiple campuses.
The energy and economic crisises add more “fuel” to the multi-site church strategy because it adds more seats at the optimal inviting hours for a fraction of the cost of building larger buildings and reduces the driving distances of attenders. We will start seeing churches with ten or more campuses as a result.

4. Mini-Denominations.
Multi-site churches and their networks are becoming the new “mini” denominations of this era. Many are adding international campuses.

5. Campus pastors are hot!
The campus pastor role is becoming one of the most strategic and sought-after church staff positions. 

6. Theater Church. 
There has been a dramatic increase of churches meeting in theaters. Doing church in a theater is typically the low cost, low risk, high potential return option for multi-site churches.  Church is coming to a theater near you soon!

7. Church mergers, acquisitions, and adoptions
These are increasingly becoming a staple in the multi-site movement and will transform the church landscape across America.

8. Rural multi-site church explosion.
A revitalization of rural churches will occur as multiple campuses spread across the neglected back roads
of the nation.

9. Internet campuses.
Video-streaming over the internet will become the primary vehicle for delivering sermon content and virtual campuses for most multi-site churches. Mega-churches will embrace the virtual internet campus as they did multi-site strategy, but churches of all sizes will launch internet campuses.

10. High Def and 3-D. 
High definition will become the standard for video presentation.  Holographic 3-D preaching is coming and you won’t need the special glasses to experience it!

Need some help with your multi-site ministry?  Contact Jim at Third Quarter Consulting today, of check out his website here...

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  There are 4 Comments:

  • Posted by Eric Partin

    I predict a new trend that will start to get traction in the next 5 years to be micro-sites.

  • Posted by

    Virtual pastor-teacher. There’s 2,000 years of content ready for reuse. Just have an AI scan the regional news and your holo-pastor can seamlessly thrown in local cultural references to biblically sound sermons pieced together from various sources. It can be multi-site, but tailored for each location. (No, I don’t think this is a good idea, but it is a plausible product in the near future)

  • Posted by

    I would also add collaboration and sharing of ‘pulpit time’ between major multi-site churches. One prayer was a step in this direction.

  • Posted by Scott

    This theater is on the small side. Having the seating capacity of about 100, I would describe it as cute.

    Inside, the walls are exposed brick and the theater itself has high ceilings. The Church Theater is home a few groups such as to the The Keegan group which is a professional nonprofit theater company with a focus on local artists and technicians.

    Starting December 7th, A Funny Christmas Carol will be playing here which is an alternative take on the famous tale with cross-gender casting. I saw it here last year and it was hilarious.

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