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Jim Tomberlin writes:  The multisite model, one church in multiple locations, has become an established strategy for outreach and for growing churches.
Leadership Network reports there are now over 5,000 expressions of multisite church across North America. Even though over one third of the 1,600 megachurches in North America have multiple campuses, the multisite movement is growing at a faster pace than megachurches. The multisite strategy has proven to be an effective vehicle for outreach, volunteer mobilization, leadership development and regional impact. During 2013 we’ll continue to see an increase in multisite church mergers, Internet online campuses, international expansion of campuses and more. In fact here are 14 different developments I am observing in multisite church world:

1. Movements.

The new hot word is Movement. Leading churches in North America today aren’t just multisiting and church-planting, they are focusing on creating networks of reproducing churches that become Movements.

2. Name Changing.

Denominations, para-church organizations and churches are changing their names for all the same reasons—their name has cultural baggage and/or is geographically limiting. In the past churches identified themselves to attract their own kind and were too geographically specific for a multi-campus strategy. There is a lot of name-changing going on and more on the way!

3. The Merger Urge.

The multisite movement is driving the increase in mission-driven “we can be better together than separate” church mergers at a dramatic pace. This is the Next Big Thing on the church landscape with far greater implications beyond the multisite movement (I recently co-authored a book about healthy church mergers called Better Together, see www.outreachmagazine.com/merger for sample chapter).

4. Student Ministry Shift.

Sunday morning based student ministry is moving off of Sunday morning to an alternative evening. This allows students to attend church and/or serve together as a family which also unchains student’s families from the sending campus when going multisite.

5. Adult Sunday School Is Leaving the Building.

As churches multisite to other locations they are finding it too costly to offer on-going Adult Sunday school classrooms at new, rented or renovated facilities. Neighborhood home groups are becoming the complement to local multisite campuses. // Read more here from Jim…
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Current Events
Willow Creek Community Church is planning yet another addition — albeit its first in nearly a decade — to bring its Hoffman Estates-based Care Center onto its main campus in South Barrington. The Care Center provides emergency food and clothing assistance as well as health and legal advice, employment services and English as a Second Language classes. The new Care Center will grow the building’s current 295,000-square-foot footprint by 12.5 percent, and will be constructed in a consistent style of brickwork. The Care Center has been attracting not only more clients during the economic downturn, but approximately 800 volunteers each month. More here.
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Outreach
What if we sold our building and use the $1 million to invest in people who have needs?  That’s the question the people of Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, GA asked.  Their answer?  Heck yeah.  Sell the building! Here’s part of an article from 11alive.com in Atlanta: A church in Fayetteville is closing its doors but not its hearts. Rolling Hills Baptist Church is challenging traditional ideas and selling the church and using the money to help people. It took about a year for the church to find a buyer. On Monday, they closed on a sale to a Peachtree City church. It is now time for Senior Pastor Frank Mercer and more than 100 parishioners to fly free of the four walls that have surrounded their congregation for more than 20-years. “We feel free, free to do what god commands us to do,” Pastor Mercer said about the sale. The church has a new mission. Instead of investing in the property that consumed most of their budget, they will use the more than $1-million dollars from the sale to invest in people who have needs. “It’s just a way of looking at this property differently,” Pastor Mercer said. “We saw it as an asset we could liquidate and turn around and use that resource to meet the needs of people.” You can read more here. What if more churches did this type of thing?  Do you think this was a wise move?  Could your church operate WITHOUT a building? Todd
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