CNLP 295: Rich Birch on Whether Multi-Site Has Peaked, What You Need to Succeed as You Add Locations, and Some of the Keys to Sustained Growth

Has the multi-site movement peaked? What’s next for church leaders and other organizations that want to expand and add locations?

Few leaders understand multi-site as well as Rich Birch, and in this interview, Rich opens his notebook on decades of lessons helping mega-churches expand, grow and reach more people.

Welcome to Episode 295 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

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Leadership Network Multi-Site Resources

CNLP 223: How to Break the Growth Barriers that Will Move Your Church Past 200, 600 and 1000 Attenders with Carl George and Warren Bird


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Text careymultisite to 44222 for multi-site resources

3 Insights from Rich

1. Technology is changing the way we do things

Technology enables us to do some pretty amazing things. Instead of forcing people to drive to us, technology enables us to go to them through things like online church and multi-site locations. Instead of being restricted to one zip code, we can go to multiple zip codes. And while there are differing opinions about technology and the Church, we can see it as an opportunity to reach more people rather than an obstacle.

So, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing digitally to help reach more people?
  • Why is it that people come to us?
  • Is there a way for us to replicate that in multiple locations?

2. Multi-site isn’t just systems and processes replication; it’s culture replication

Site multiplication can be made harder if you don’t invite the right people. Rich says that the mistake most churches often make is they find the “innovators”—people who love to try new things but will not help your campus long-term. He says what you need are “middle majority people”—those who are going to stick and stay in the long run, who are going to slow down and say, “Yes, I would love to be here for the long haul.”

Volunteers are also key to site multiplication. But make sure your volunteer experiences are relationally-driven not task-driven. We often think we need people to do stuff. We need them to check stuff off a list, whatever that is. To show up and be the greeter. To set up an environment. To run a camera. To watch kids in the nursery. But that only motivates a small number of people. Most people are motivated by, “Am I known? Does someone know me? Are they caring for me? Are they slowing down for a moment and getting to know me better? Is this the kind of place that I can grow?”

3. Should you multiply?

A recent study by Warren Bird from Leadership Network shows that churches reach all the people they’re going to reach in the first five years. After five years, churches’ ability to reach new people drop off dramatically.

So, if you are growing or want to grow, Rich suggests you think about becoming multi-site. If you’re a church of 200 and growing, statistically when you look at effectiveness to reach new people, the issue seems to be multiplication.

Quotes from Episode 295

There's no doubt that technology is at the core of what's driving multi-site. @richbirch Click To Tweet

What are those pieces of technology that are underlying our culture that ultimately are changing the people that we're trying to serve? And what difference is that making in the way we deliver what we deliver? @richbirch Click To Tweet

If you're thinking about launching multi-site campuses, you have to build large and strong core groups, large teams of people who are going to go and make this thing happen. @richbirch Click To Tweet

A recent study shows churches reach all the people they're going to reach in the first five years. @richbirch Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 295

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Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.

It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you’re a church that isn’t growing, has plateaued, or whether you wish your church was growing faster than it is, I’d love to help you break through. That’s why I created the Church Growth Masterclass.

The Church Growth Masterclass is everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.

Naturally, I can’t make a church grow. You can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.

But I believe you can position your church to grow.

You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. You can eliminate the things that keep your church from growing and implement some strategies that will help you reach far more people. That’s what I’d love to help you do in the Church Growth Masterclass.

In the Church Growth Masterclass, I’ll show you:

  • The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
  • Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
  • How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
  • The 5 keys to your church better impacting millennials
  • What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change
  • 5 essentials for church growth
  • 5 disruptive church trends to watch—and how to respond
  • How to increase church attendance by increasing engagement

The Masterclass includes a complete set of videos that you can play with your team, board or staff, PDF workbooks that will help you tackle the issues you’re facing, and bonus materials that will help you navigate the most pressing issues facing churches that want to reach their cities today.

You can learn more and gain instant access to the course today.

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Next Episode: Mark Batterson

As his career as an author and speaker took off, Mark Batterson was faced with so many requests for his time that he couldn’t keep up. The insane pace eventually led to his wife, Lora, telling Mark that she didn’t sign up for this. Mark talks about how Laura’s concern led him to scale back radically and the impact that’s had on him, how innovation keeps fueling his 23 years in leadership, and talks about why the subject of blessing isn’t just tied to the prosperity Gospel.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 296.

CNLP 295: Rich Birch on Whether Multi-Site Has Peaked, What You Need to Succeed as You Add Locations, and Some of the Keys to Sustained Growth

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