The world of church multiplication has changed — and continues to change at an astounding rate.
These are exciting times to be involved in the growth and multiplication of the local church. While I hear and read about how the church of North America is going to “Hell in a hand basket,” I don’t subscribe to that camp. Yes, there are churches in decline. Yes, there are churches that have abandoned certain doctrines. And yes, our culture has moved left-of-center regarding morals, ethics and other similar sociological tenets.
I’ve heard Christian leaders say we’re in a “Post- Christian” era and we’ll continue to see decline. In fact, the Barna Group has provided a tool to help you feel more depressed about the state of the church where you live by publishing “The Most Post-Christian Cities in America.”
I’m not sticking my head in the sand or being naive to the realities that we live in an ever-changing world. However … I’m so encouraged by the growth of so many churches and their impact in their local communities. Maybe it’s just the pond I play in, but I see growth. I see community impact. There are churches making a difference in people’s lives, and I see a lot of it. This isn’t just from megachurches, but churches of all shapes and sizes.
I believe there are lots of reasons for this resurgence — what we might call Pre-Christian or New Pre-Christian — due in no small part to new means and methods of multiplication. The two most popular today are:
1) Church Planting
Church Planting has taken the world by storm, and there are hundreds (maybe thousands worldwide) of new plants every year and dozens of organizations supporting these efforts, such as Stadia, Exponential, NAMB/Send, ChurchPlanters.com, Church Multiplication Network and many others.
My dad was a “pioneer pastor” in the Wesleyan denomination in the 1960′s, and I assure you the resources, tools, networks and the like of that era weren’t even close to what’s now readily available. GO GOD!
2) Multisite Churches
- 5 million — the number of people who worshiped at a multisite church last weekend in the United States alone, according to the National Congregations Study sponsored by Duke University.
- 8,000 — the number of multisite churches currently found in the United States, according to the same study.
- 9% — the percent of all Protestant churchgoers who attend a multisite church
- 3% — the percent of all Protestant churches that are multisite
- 80% — the percentage of US states that have known multisite churches.
Church planting and multisite churches have many similarities. Obviously, there are significant differences and even variations within each initiative; but, they both exist to multiply the Kingdom and local community impact.
There are two incredibly timely tools that have recently been made available for planters and multisite initiatives. Both of these will be tremendous tools and assets to your team as you explore multiplication:
1) Multisite Survey by Leadership Network and Generis — This survey is the largest and most comprehensive report available today. Leadership Network and Generis have hit a home run with this, and it’s FREE! As a bonus, you can view an insightful video from Jim Tomberlin, my co-author and the “Multisite Guy.”
2) Church Locality: New Rules for Church Buildings in a Multisite, Church Planting, and Giga-Church World. This is a must-read for anyone involved with church planting, multisite or anyone contemplating the right location for their ministry. This book is available on Kindle and in print. It also provides links to the only free resources of their kind to assist church leaders assess their “locality” options.
You’re not alone in this journey; there are more resources, tools, organizations and consultants / coaches to help you navigate all the exciting options and possibilities related to your specific multiplication calling than ever before.
Don’t try this on your own.
Tim Cool is the Chief Solutions Office of Cool Solutions Group. Since 1986, Tim has led churches to be intentional with the planning, development and life cycle management of the facilities God has entrusted them. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This blog originally appeared on his blog, “Cool Conversations Live.”