August 28, 2012 Tony Morgan

9 Signs You’re Not Ready for Multisite

News came out from the Leadership Network last week that there are now over 5,000 multisite churches in North America. That’s really a staggering number. It points to the positive impact this strategy can have on healthy churches to reach more people for Jesus.

For good or bad, multisite is the trendy topic in church world. When something becomes trendy, there’s a temptation to do it because “everyone” is doing it. What works for one church may not work for your church.

My fear is that churches may try to implement multisite too soon. Similar to building projects, multisite will help healthy churches reach more people faster. On the other hand for churches who aren’t in a healthy position, multisite will help you get stuck faster. With that, here are…

9 Signs You’re Not Ready for Multisite

  1. You haven’t clarified your vision and values. When that happens, the DNA of your ministry gets really mushy the farther you get from your top leadership.
  2. You don’t have a culture of leadership development. Because of that, there aren’t enough strong leaders to launch the new location and fill the leadership vacuum at your original location. (Without a doubt, leadership is the key to success with multisite.)
  3. You don’t have a culture of leadership empowerment. When you start launching new campuses, you can no longer make every decision from your original campus.
  4. You haven’t replicated core systems. Think about every key next step people take at your church (i.e. membership, serving, groups, care, outreach, etc). You need healthy systems in place for each of those areas. Start by meeting at multiple times before you consider meeting at multiple locations.
  5. You haven’t been intentional about your communications strategy. You’re still embracing the “fairness doctrine” where every ministry and event gets equal treatment, and that’s creating lots of noise and fewer next steps.
  6. You’re not willing to embrace the tension between authority and influence. As you add campuses, allow authority to flow through the campus pastors and influence to come from your central ministry leaders (i.e. kid’s, groups, student ministries, etc.).
  7. You’re trying to find the right facility rather than the right location. The ideal facility in the wrong location will never gain momentum. The ideal location with an adequate facility will thrive.
  8. You fail to count the cost when it comes to time and money. Time is needed to identify leaders and build teams to engage ministry from day one. Money is needed to fund the launch and several months of ministry until the campus is self-sustaining.
  9. You haven’t prayed and sought God’s direction. I’m amazed at the doors God opens and closes when churches take the time to wait on God for direction then don’t hesitate when he says, “Move.”

If you are one of those 5,000 multisite churches, would would you add to this list? Join the conversation by sharing your comment. Or, learn more about how my team at The Unstuck Group can help you determine if you’re ready to go multisite.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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