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Multi-Site Conference—Session 1

I’m here at the Multi-Site Conference here at Community Christian in Naperville, IL… here are some thoughts (as they happen!) at session one.  Phenominal growth of multi-sites:  In 1990, there were an estimated 10 multi-site churches in the country; in 1998 there were about 100; today there are over 1500 multi-site churches in the US!

Greg Surratt shared how Sea Coast Church got started in their multi-site efforts.  They actually started because they outgrew their facility and their city government would not allow them to expand any further.

Dave Fergeson shared that they actually started as a 'reproductive' church.  Starting a new congregation was actually a part of their DNA from the start.  They were very pro-active at starting new things.  Great quote:  "Everything needs to be reproduceable."

Larry Osborn, on the other hand, said they started venues as 'an overflow room that was a reward rather than a punishment'.  They currently have 5 campuses and 24 worship options each week.  They started on-campus with different venues, then learned form others (like Sea Coast and Community Christian) on how to plant new churches using the method geographically.

Greg Ligon from Leadership Network said that the multi-site movement is a real 'God Thing'.  For some reason, it works.  This is not something that man has created, but something that God is blessing.

Question of multi-site church pastors:  The question used to be 'Does it work?'  Now the question is 'How can I adapt that to our situation?'

FOR MORE DETAILS ON THIS FIRST SESSION:  Check out MultisiteRevolution here.

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This post has been viewed 467 times and was added on October 24, 2005 by Todd Rhoades.
Filed under: Innovative Church Models  Multi-site Churches  
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 TRACKBACKS: (0) There are 9 Comments:
  • I think it works, for sure but it sure ain’t easy.  I like the CT article about this subject that compared this to the Methodist circuit riders.  They geographically spread with one pastor over several churches and strong lay involvement.

    The “video venue” approach reminds me of churches that have services in different languages or simply different days of the week. 

    Bottom line, there is as much old as there is new in this current movement.  So, we can rest in history a bit while using systems and technology that was not around in the 1800s, or even in the 1990s.

    Say “hey” to my fellow leaders from Redding, CA if you meet them.  They are in the conference with you!

  • Posted by Bernie Dehler

    Tood wrote:
    “Greg Ligon from Leadership Network said that the multi-site movement is a real ‘God Thing’.  For some reason, it works.  This is not something that man has created, but something that God is blessing.”

    Based on what,,, numbers???

    What’s your reason for saying “it works?”

    Did you ever compare a multi-site with the option of planting new peer churches?  I know it’s cheaper and easier, in the short term, but what about the long-term?  I never saw an analysis.  Why build God’s kingdom by ‘addition’ (multi-site) when ‘multiplication’ (peer church planting) is faster?  Saying that one does both (multi-site plus church plant) doesn’t answer the question.

  • Posted by Todd Rhoades

    Hey Bernie,

    Wish you were here.  But quite frankly, we’ve already debated this; and actually, I think Greg Surratt answered this criticism on this very blog about planting vs. multi-site.

    You really need to consider attending the upcoming conference at Sea Coast… that’d be a great opportunity to have super one-on-one conversations with multi-site leaders and find what they have to say.

    How do you determine if something is a ‘God thing’.

    Everyone has to make those determinations.  smile


  • Posted by David Russell

    Added statistics about growth to the Wikipedia entry.

    Todd, if you get more information as the sessions continue, especially statistics and historical information about multi-site churches, please include it on the blog-or email me-and give as much information as possible (who compiled the data, etc.)

    Thanks so much!

  • Posted by Bernie Dehler

    Todd said:
    “How do you determine if something is a ‘God thing’. Everyone has to make those determinations. smile

    But you stated it as if it were an actual fact, so I asked you what you based this opinion on… just feelings?

    When you “it works,” maybe you mean “it works” financially???

  • I have seen it work with my own eyes, experience and witness of many credible people.  Sounds like a fact to me--observable and repeatable in a variety of settings where people are being reached with the truth and a church home.

    I have met some multi-site leaders not too long ago at a Leadership Network forum in MN and have served in one as early as 1993.  If one does some reasonable digging, they will find out that what is being presented about multi-site and multi-venue churches is pretty accurate, albeit in its infancy as a movement.

    It is not easy, though.  There are some challenges to making it work--mainly these churches have to be more intensley lay-driven in order to succeed.  A plus, in my view.

  • Posted by Todd Rhoades

    By the fact that people are committing their lives to Christ through the efforts of these multi-site church.  The video venue or multi-site church is simply a delivery system, Bernie.

    Don’t know of anyone here getting rich off of multi-site.  Matter of fact, most would find that a laughable point.

    Numbers, to be honest, DO play a part; but only a part.  We would both agree that just because numbers grow does not mean it’s a ‘God thing’.  Numerical growth, however does not automatically disqualify it from being a ‘God thing’ either (as you contend).


  • Posted by Josh Sargent

    I can’t believe I didn’t make the Must Read Blog list! =)

  • Posted by Todd Rhoades

    Sorry Josh!  I’m at a conference today and tomorrow, but I’ll be sure to add your blog to the must reads! 


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