Before you start reading the article, I want to share with you that in this article, I have intentionally quoted several books. Please consider reading the books listed in the bibliography.
The multisite church is no longer a church model. Instead, it has become a movement with multiple models to choose from to accommodate the needs of the target audience. Many of the more well-known churches in North America have multi-site churches, and “multisite has joined a list of models and approaches that were once out of the mainstream and now are commonplace.”
Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im define multisite as “one church that has two or more locations with a shared leadership, budget, vision, and board.” They describe five models for multisite churches, “video venue model, regional campus model, teaching team model, partnership model, and low-risk model.”
Before one forms an opinion on whether the multi-site church movement is biblically accurate or not, it is imperative to establish the definition of a church. If the church is a “regular gathering for teaching, singing, mutual encouragement, reading of Scripture, a celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and collection of offerings is a natural expression of being the people of God,” if that happens in a home or small group that would be considered a house church movement, but when it happens on multiple site or campuses that is a multisite church movement. Perhaps, “a multi-site church is either a church with multiple sites or a church of multiple sites. Making the all-important shift from with to of brings a significant change to the culture of the church. This subtle shift transforms the core identity of the church and will affect everything you do.”
J.D. Greear says, “Ecclesiologically, there is no substantive difference” between the “multiple services on one campus or services on multiple campuses throughout the city.” He insists that “satellite campuses are an alternative to multiple services and bigger sanctuaries, not to church planting.” Tim Keller says, “The core of the multisite concept is that a church must ‘reverse the flow.’ Instead of drawing people to the church, take the church into their world.”
An argument in favor or opposition to the multi-site church solely rests on an individual’s preference. Some prefer a larger church, and others enjoy a small intimate setting. Depending on its definition, the multi-site church can meet the need, whether it is defined as a venue for like-minded people with a similar worship style; a video venue with live music or a live sermon taped in another venue; a multi-site or campus with two or more locations; or multiple venues that offer people to choose from any of the above categories. The fact is, “Having multiple campuses of multiple sizes in multiple cities and states certainly isn’t for everyone.” Therefore, whatever a person’s opinion of the multisite may be, “it is, without doubt, the new normal.”
Bobby Jamieson, “Book Review: Multi-Site Churches, by Scott McConnell.” IX 9Marks, March, 3, 2010. https://www.9marks.org/review/multi-site-churches/ (accessed April 5, 2019).
Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Multi-site churches mean pastors reach thousands.” USA Today, December 17, 2017. https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2009-12-17- 1Amultichurches17_CV_N.htm# (accessed April 5, 2019).
“Church Planting Tutorial:20. Multisite.” Passion4planting, February 22, 2015. https://church- planting.net/church-planting-tutorial-multisite/(accessed April 5, 2019).
Greear, J.D. “Multi-site vs. church planting.” J.D. Greear Ministries, October 22, 2008. https://jdgreear.com/blog/multi-site-vs-church-planting/ (accessed April 5, 2019).
Ott, Craig, and Gene Wilson. Global Church Planting: Biblical Principles and Best Practices for Multiplication. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.
Stetzer, Ed, and Daniel Im. Planting Missional Church: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply, 2nd ed., Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016.
Surratt, Geoff, Greg Ligon, and Warren Bird. Multi-Site Church Road Trip. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.