For the Son of Man came to seek and to savewhat was lost. Luke 19:10
As Grace Church approached the 2010 horizon, leaders began asking how we could launch a new church. The attendance, staffing and financial resources for sending off an independent church were not present. Sending out a large core of members to an independent 'daughter church' would likely harm the original church and put the new church at significant risk. However, we remained committed to the bigger calling.
Was there another way? Could God's Kingdom expand through our church community with a greater possibility of thriving? After prayerful research, our pastor proposed to the elders for their consideration a multi-site model. We presented the multi-site concept to the congregation in April 2008, opening up a time of prayer and discussion. In particular, the community groups around San Jose began discerning a call for them to unite together as a launch team for a new site.
Multi-site churches are not technically new, but the movement has grown in the last ten years. Hundreds of churches in America have adapted to become churches that are united in purpose with different segments of the congregation meeting in different locations. Rather than simply adding another worship service on an existing campus, additional services begin in new locations.
Multi-site is a method to achieve a greater purpose: expanding God's Kingdom. Among the many different ways to serve missionally, a multi-site church brings several strengths. It is not the best approach for every church at every time. The leadership of Grace Church sees this method as an effective way that God could enable our church to live out its core vision. Multi-site churches combine some of the strengths of local, smaller churches (community, neighborhood focus, outreach) with some of the strengths of larger churches (experienced staff, broad impact, joint ministries to needy people).
Bottom line: We're moving in a multi-site direction because of our deeper missional commitment. Multi-site is NOT for convenience, for trendiness, for personality, for merely adding attendees, even simply for its practical benefits. Multi-site is for the sake of Jesus.
Next, we'll see why new churches are essential for God's kingdom growth.
As always, we welcome your response, questions and feedback. Discuss below, or contact any pastor or elder directly.
[photo of central San Jose by Steve Dorsey. from flickr]