Microsites are an innovative new approach to church multiplication that are best described as a cross between multisites and house churches. This is not a throwback to the house-church movement of the past, but is more about building on some key learnings from the multisite movement to take church faster, cheaper and further than the typical big-box multisite strategy.
At its core, micrositing is a missional small group and campus feeder strategy to extend the reach of a church. Microsites meet in homes, retirement centers, homeless shelters, bars, gyms, clubs, businessesany place a small group can gather. The gathering functions as more than a small group, but less than a full congregation.
Microsites are in the embryonic state of a new idea, but they tend to be video-based, small groups on steroids that are centrally governed with the ultimate goal of becoming a full-blown congregation.
Mingo Palacios is one of the pioneers in the microsite model at Rock Church in San Diego. Rock Church is reaching more than 10,000 people every weekend across five locations and now has 23 microsite and growing. We asked Mingo what he is learning in this innovative new approach to church.
Wade: What is a microsite?
Mingo: Microsites at the Rock Church are mini-campuses led by volunteers that meet on Sundays to connect in community, worship together and watch the Rock Church services live. They are shepherded by a specific leader at each location.
Wade: How did microsites get started?
Mingo: The Rock hosted a community outreach event downtown for Good Friday in 2013. About 5,000 people came out to hear the gospel and receive physical aid in a variety of ways. Two days later we hosted the very first microsites for Easter 3 services at 3 different sites. We haven't stopped since.
Wade: Who attends a microsite?
Mingo: Almost all sites are "open gatherings" that anyone is welcome to attend. There are a few sites that are "closed gatherings" that meet in facilities that are tethered to programs where people cannot leave to attend a church, so we bring it to them. When a specific facility requires it (i.e., a jail or rehabilitation hospital), those groups are closed.
Wade: When do the microsites meet?
Mingo: Microsites livestream the Rock Church services, so each microsite runs at one of our church's service times. There are microsites happening at every service all over San Diego on Sundays at 8AM, 10AM, 12PM and 6PM.
Wade: How are new sites launched?
Mingo: Typically, new sites are formed around a volunteer team that functions during the week and on Sundays. Teams are formed after a 3-part Microsite Orientation that is offered every month. Together the team will journey through praying for provision, searching for a site, preparing for a launch, and finally facilitating a microsite.
Wade: How do microsites integrate with a multisite strategy? What is the goal of a microsite?
Mingo: Early in our efforts, we were merely trying to meet the needs of those who were on the margins in our city. It was a one-way effort that helped wrap arms around more than 700 people who didn't have a church to call home. We wanted to let them know that Jesus loves EVERYONE from EVERY walk of life. 3 years later we are in a great stride with our multisite campuses, working hand in hand as a campus feeder strategy. Helping bring people into the larger campus family is the goal but not always the outcome. We believe that every journey is unique and worth waiting for. Microsites help us meet people right where they are, and give them a loving look at our church before they ever step foot onto our property.
Wade: Are you available to help churches start microsites?
Mingo: Yes, I am partnering with you and Jim at MultiSite Solutions to help churches in learn more about this new micro-siting conversation.
Article Provided Courtesy of MultiSite Solutions
Mingo Palacios has been a part of Rock Church since it launched in 2000. He and his team focus on bringing the Gospel to people far from the church, both physically and spiritually. Together they transform everyday spaces on a weekly basis, establishing community and a new concept of church in hopes to engage individuals who are hesitant to be found within the traditional walls of a church. Their mission is to bring the Gospel to people far from the church, both physically and spiritually. The goal is to fill the seats of the local church. Mingo grew up in San Diego, and majored in Communications and Biblical Studies at San Diego Christian College. He and his wife, Fallon, who also works for Rock Church, were married in 2007, and have a young son named Bravery. You can follow Mingo on Twitter and Instagram @mingo2.
Wade Burnett, serves as Senior Partner at MultiSite Solutions after previously serving the church as a pastor, directional leader, church planter and consultant. In a prior life, Wade was a nationally recognized litigator whose work has been profiled in People Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News, ABC 20/20, NBC Dateline, Good Morning America, The Today Show and many others. He was a clipboard quarterback in college football and is now a grateful family man. You can follow him @wadeburnett on Twitter.