MULTI-SITE STAFF MANAGEMENT:
First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach (West Palm Beach, FL)
First Baptist Church is devoted to launching new works and venues — including five “neighborhood churches.” Among these are Family Church Haitian American (FCHA) and Family Church Español (FCE). Both share physical space with the mother church in West Palm Beach and are led by bi-vocational pastors. “They reach demographics that reflect our downtown community,” says Lead Pastor Jimmy Scroggins.
Scroggins says the vision is to plant at least 100 neighborhood churches throughout South Florida. To this end, the church has a residency program in place to train bi-vocational church planters and send them out to South Florida communities to reach the people who live and work near them.
“We believe that churches planting churches tailored to the local community — but [which are] supported by the larger body — is the most effective was to reach the 6.6 million people [in this region] who currently do not attend church,” he explains.
Grace Fellowship Church (Latham, NY)
In the past five years, Grace Fellowship has launched three multi-site campuses — a very ambitious expansion effort.
The first location, at Half Moon, was established in 2008 inside a former SAAB dealership. In 2011, church leaders decided to press on with this expansion model. “We had three years of viable data to draw upon — in particular, attendance and giving — as well as experience, and the personal stories of lives changed,” recalls Bill Minchin, pastor of business administration.
So, a campaign was launched to plant two more locations in Saratoga and Greenbush. Both are due for completion in 2014.
Minchin urges pastors considering multi-site expansion to be flexible and open-minded when it comes to facilities. True to form, the two new multi-site locations will be housed in a renovated office building and a former fitness facility.
Additionally, Minchin recommends bringing lead staff onboard early, if possible. The lead pastor at Half Moon was on staff 13 months in advance. “He could work closely with me to develop the campus and be totally immersed in our culture,” Minchin points out.
The church also brought on Half Moon’s paid support staff three months before the facility launch. “It was a significant financial investment, but it has proven worth it,” Minchin says.
First Mount Zion Baptist Church (Dumfries, VA)
In 2009, First Mount Zion Pastor Dr. Luke E. Torian began working closely with the Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, director of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Philadelphia). Their goal was to develop a Spiritual Cancer Support Ministry at the church.
Today, seven more congregations have joined the effort, expanding its reach beyond well the local community to parts of Northern Virginia. Additionally, First Mount Zion provides cancer awareness to Latinos in the community by way of an interpreter and Spanish-language publications and materials.
The ministry team includes a medical oncologist/advisor and nurse oncologist. Meetings are held on the fourth Saturday of each month, with an average attendance between 35 to 50 cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers. Education is provided, and Pastor Torian delivers words of encouragement to the group.
Ministry members also participate in community outreach. “It’s very encouraging to see that individuals and their families — who’re undergoing challenges themselves — are willing to help others in need,” says ministry spokesperson and church member Sheila Coverson.
Read more about First Mount Zion Baptist Church here.
First Congregational Church of Rockport (Rockport, MA)
To ensure families in need have a safe, warm place to sleep, First Congregational created four separate bedrooms within the church.
In 2009, church leaders were approached by the Family Promise organization, which was facing a lack of emergency beds for homeless families. Today, the church’s bedrooms house up to 14 people at a time. The program is called Family Promise North Shore Boston.
On Sunday mornings, after worship services, the four bedrooms are set up — two in a Sunday school classroom and an adjoining nursery, and two in the fellowship. All are separated by Screenflex portable dividers. Breakfast and dinner are provided.
Families stay for one week and then move on to another host church in the network. “Our church sees families at least four weeks per year,” says Outreach Committee Chair James Reed.
He says the church is gratified by the knowledge that it’s doing what it’s called to do. “The community sees we’re a church that uses our faith to do good works for all,” he says. “That may have benefits on Sunday mornings, when the doors open for worship.”