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 podcast. Listen 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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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
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
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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.
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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.