Zondervan very kindly sent me a copy of A Multi-Site Church Road Trip by Geoff Surratt, Greg Ligon and Warren Bird to review. The book gives an overview into a number of multi-site churches from around America looking practically at the different issues and opportunities that multi-site church gives.
The book is easy to read, and at just over 200 pages, won’t take hours of time. In the fifteen chapters it covers a wide range of topics including:
- The wide range of multi-site churches today
- How church planters and multi-site churches can work together
- Moving from a church with multiple sites to a church of multiple sites
- Researching the location options for new campuses
- Making each campus contextualised to the community it’s based in
- Discovering the development of Internet campuses
- Choosing the appropriate technology for your church sites
- Reorganising church structure to fit multi-site
- International church sites
- The role of a teaching pastor and therefore other leaders
- Deciding when to merge churches
- Figuring out how many new campuses to launch in a specific period
- Understanding leadership issues
- A brief discussion on the theology of multi-site church
- Becoming a grandparent church to campuses that start new sites
Each chapter uses a multi-site church as a case study to delve into the topic. The authors whilst clearly pro multi-site churches do attempt to articulate the problems and potentiall downfalls in each area.
A couple of my key thoughts having read the book:
- Here in the UK we seem to be in the habit of planting new churches, or holding up old churches rather than merging into a larger brand of church. In one sense they’re not particularly different models of church, but in another sense, multi-site church seems to be in danger of developing church brands and increasing the consumeristic tendencies of Christians. I’d prefer to see churches focussed on their local communities, sharing and supporting other churches in their locality – attempting as individual churches and collectively to bring more of God’s kingdom in their area.
- The chapter on internet campuses was very helpful but still left me with a number of the classic concerns as to how pastoral care, and real discipleship can happen over the internet. However, it has sparked me to look more deeply into this issue and process where I think technology is helpful in the local church and where I believe it’s a step too far.
Zondervan has developed a brief clip to explain the book, check it out below:
Overall whilst I still have some concerns with the multi-site church model I found the book encouraged me to see the links with church planting and formal support, and the ways in which multi-site can potentially be a more efficient way of reaching more people. I found the book to be a very helpful introduction into my thinking on this topic.