Currently there are more multi-site churches in the U.S. than "mega-churches” and there are now over 3,200 churches worshiping in more than one location. The multi-site strategy isn’t for every church, but it is growing in popularity,” says, Oklahoma-based builder, Churches by Daniels Construction (churchesbydaniels.com).
Who Goes Multi-site?
Just who are the churches adopting a multi-site strategy? James offers a profile: "Churches that adopt the strategy of going multi-site are more likely to go for mergers, acquisitions, and adoptions," he says "They are also engaging in activities like online classes, teenage worship services, joining with charter schools and a number of churches are going international."
"Generally, churches that apply a multi-site strategy have two personalities," Daniels adds. "The planned and proactive personality and the organic and reactive personality."
Planned & Proactive A church with a planned and proactive approach considers a number of things before going multi-site, according to Daniels. "They might be going multi-site keeping in mind the demographics of their visitors or considering other factors, like whether the visitors need to drive a long way to the main church, as a multi-site would make it more convenient and appealing for visitors to come visit."
Organic & Reactive Churches that take an organic or reactive approach are those that tend to take up opportunities. "For example," Daniels says, "there might be a building which was operated by a school or store that has been vacated."
"When going multi-site, churches need to think more about the overall health of the church than just keeping it going," James says. "Their main concerns should be accommodating more people and remaining operational, in a physical sense."
There are three main factors for churches to consider when going multi-site:
1. Philosophy and Strategy
2. Budget Constraints
3. God-Given Opportunities
"No doubt, the most important factor here are the budget constraints," James says. "Before going for a multi-site, churches should be sure that they have enough financing for staffing, operations, building maintenance, and other likewise factors."
"It takes a substantial amount of time to raise the money and make decisions," Daniels adds, "and it is advisable to start off small toward gradual growth."
When considering an existing commercial property for renovation and expansion in a multi-site strategy, church leaders should bring their best real estate or contractor consultants with them.
There are many things to consider with any given piece of real estate. A few of the basic questions to ask include:
Is the space zoned for use as a church?
Is the traffic flow into and around the space functional?
Is there enough parking around or near the space?
Is there sufficient means of access and egress?
Are there enough bathrooms?
Is the HVAC sufficient and serviceable?
Will the space accommodate youth, children, fellowship, or other ministries?
"There are other considerations, of course," Daniels adds. "Should your church consider a satellite campus with live video or delayed video? What will your space needs require with that in mind?”
Considerations for going multi-site are complex, but an experienced consultant can help churches analyze, evaluate and create a plan so that the venue, location and leadership team are ready for the next phase.