Considerations for Going Multi-Site

Building Multi-Site ChurchesChurches by Daniels Construction offers some planning basics to churches considering the multi-site approach.

Written by Geoffrey Oldmixon for Worship Facilities

Currently there are more multi-site churches today in the U.S. than “mega-churches” and there are now over 3,200 churches worshiping in more than one location. According to Tulsa, OK-based Churches by Daniels Construction CEO Charlie Daniels and Director of Business and Finance Rodney James, that trend is likely to continue.

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 go multi-site have two personalities,” Daniels adds. “The planned and proactive personality and the organic and reactive personality.”

Planned & Proactive

A church with 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.”

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 in which a school or store operated by have now vacated.”

Multi-Site Considerations

“When going multi-site, churches need to think more on 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 factors here are the budget constraints,” James says. “Before going for 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.”

Building Basics

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:

  • ls the space zoned for use as a church?
  • ls the traffic flow into and around the space functional?
  • Is there enough parking’?
  • ls there sufficient access and egress?
  • Are there enough bathrooms?
  • ls 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 viable plan.

Massachusetts-based freelance writer and editor.

Multi-site Statistics

An impressive 85% of surveyed multisite churches are growing—and at the strong rate of 14% per year. The vast majority (87%) of campus pastors are found internally—trained and hired from within the church.
Churches typically go multisite in the 1,000 size range, though almost half say they could have become multisite at a smaller size. Multisite campuses grow far more than church plants, and likewise multisite campuses have a
Campus viability starts at 75-350 people, depending on your model. Nearly half (48%) of multisite churches directly sponsor new churches.
The typical multisite church is just 4 years into the process, and 57% plan to launch an additional campus in the next 12 months. The recommended distance between campuses is a travel time of 15-30 minutes.
One in three (37%) churches started a multisite campus as the result of a merger. In rating what campuses do well, spiritual growth and volunteering are near the top, and newer campuses do better at reaching the unchurched.
The vast majority (88%) of churches report that going multisite increased the role of lay
Statistics taken from: “Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard Faster Growth, More New Believers and Greater Lay Participation” By Warren Bird