Expansion of ministries through the multisite campus model has taken root and is an undeniable model as the church continues to leverage technology in a wide variety of ways, working to expand and reach new members.
While appearing simple enough at the outset, this type of growth can pose certain challenges depending on a ministry’s needs, staff, location and resources.
Video delivery via the web (in either a time slip or live, real-time scenario) allows the same message to be delivered to all campuses.
Our work with multisite churches during their growth, has shed light on several issues that we see some ministries struggle with, while others shine through and grow rapidly. With that in mind, we felt that this would be an important topic to review, exploring some of the common pitfalls, as well as sharing some best practices.
Both your live and video on demand viewers clearly appreciate your ministry and your message.
Many of your online attendees would also enjoy a live worship experience, however, travelling to the church’s main campus may be difficult for them. A satellite campus can serve as a way to bridge the distance and give those worshippers a place to attend in person and help them feel even feel more connected to your community.
With the advent of the online church, and the ability to geolocate pockets of viewers through your online viewer’s metrics, choosing a campus location has become much easier.
A satellite campus often starts off as a “microsite,” where a volunteer will present video of the worship service through a simple workflow, such as a laptop or mobile device and a projector.
Microsites can be set up in a loading dock, gym or another small public gathering area, with access to power and an internet connection.
As the microsite grows, and the numbers warrant it, most churches will rent space in a school, theater or another church (where that denomination worships on a different day) to test the viability of this spot as a new location. The primary considerations for a rental space are sufficient seating, parking, hallways to move people in and out and a solid (wired) internet connection, (if the campus is to deliver the sermon via video stream).
Once a pastor has been identified for your new satellite campus, the real work begins.
The new pastor will need help from several volunteers to pull off weekly services. Roles typically include a worship team, greeters, ushers, media and pastoral counselors. The primary role of the campus pastor is to replicate the heart of the ministry at the satellite campus.
With downtime before, in between, and after the services, there are many opportunities to encourage involvement from your members. In a temporary (rental) space situation, media volunteers are called upon to arrive several hours prior to the service to load in worship gear, sound and lighting, as well as projection equipment.
Needless to say, volunteer commitment is crucial and requires leadership and consistency, to successfully deliver services at a temporary facility each week.
Technology for delivering your sermon via video to a campus has reached new levels in quality and reliability, but most ministries have found that a live worship experience creates a deeper experience for the congregation, even though it often requires considerable resources.
Depending on the venue, there may be a need for audio, lighting and video equipment with access to internet (for video) and or Wi-Fi for congregants.
With tools such as “text to give” and other mobile technologies, they have helped with tithing, as many churches no longer “pass the plate” and simply urge worshippers to give through a text destination or mobile app.
This allows for an uninterrupted experience leading up to a prayer time and sermon delivery.
Aside from microsites – a majority of satellite campuses provide a live worship experience.
There are currently two schools of thought around multisite sermon delivery:
• Live preaching
• Video delivery from the main (or other) campus, to the new satellite location.
When a senior pastor is mentoring new ministers, a live sermon is often an excellent opportunity to help these young pastors tune their delivery. The question around sermon content, and delivery, can be difficult depending on the personalities and pastors involved.
Video delivery via the web (in either a time slip or live, real-time scenario) allows the same message to be delivered to all campuses. This can help with a sermon “series” model, providing consistency and minimal effort (cost), if printed or online resources are required for series notes or post service study.
Like live preaching - time slip delivery (DVR from the Cloud) allows the satellite campus flexibility around the timing of sermon delivery, so they can worship as the spirit leads or allow for prayer time and announcements as required. This can be very effective solution for ministries, in both temporary or permanent locations.
Real-time video delivery requires the satellite campus to be on the same “time,” as the main or source campus.
Video encoders and decoders offer multiple channels of audio to allow for communication between the campuses to coordinate video delivery. Some larger ministries actually deliver a click-track via live encoding for the worship teams across their campuses.
There is much that can be done through the internet with current encoder/decoder transport technology, to facilitate the desired experience.
As churches expand into multiple sites, it is vital that the ministry team effectively replicate the heart of the main church’s mission, as defined by the leadership of the senior pastor, to encourage growth across all the new and future campuses.
Weekly staff meetings with open discussion to review the experiences offered at each campus are critical to ensure the ministries’ “spirit” has been successfully represented.
Aside from the typical “nickels and noses” mentality, ministers must objectively critique the satellite campus worship environment and congregation’s interaction during the sermon to ensure the success of their satellite campus.
Identifying interaction from the platform, along with overall attendance weekly, will help a ministry continue to grow. As with any ministry, the online campus with a livestream must also be considered an extension of the main campus with the same recognition, attention to detail and resources attributed to any other satellite campus.
Bringing the Message to More Places
After considering all the variables, a multisite model for your ministry can help you to bring the Message to more places, as opposed to simply growing in one local area.
Depending on your location, there may be excellent real estate deals that require minimal build out or remodeling, with plenty of parking to put together a new satellite campus.
Stay tuned for an upcoming post on using specific technology within a multicampus model to easily replicate your ministries’ experiences across all campuses.