Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dave Ferguson on Multi-Site Churches

I recently attended at a multi-site church conference. I found a session given in part by Dave Ferguson, the Lead Pastor at Community Christian Church in Chicago, Illinois, particularly helpful. During his portion he explained the seven moves they want to see happen before they launch another church site (they now have 8 operating in the Chicago area). These are good principles for adding venues, adding new sites, and planting churches. In my opinion, every church should be doing at least one of these in order to be biblically missional.

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Be observant to where God is at work in the lives of your people and then join him there. If the “God thing” comes first, then that makes the vision compelling. One example of this is if you have a work that is particularly fruitful in a specific region of town (perhaps a free medical clinic, social program, or small group network) then that is where you should consider adding a new site.


Here are three ways to communicate vision to your people…
  • STORIES: Tell lots of stories about how God is at work
  • SLOGANS: Their slogan is “Helping people find their way back to God.” Slogans like this unify and motivate people around a specific vision.
  • STUMP SPEECH: When you are preparing to pitch a new site addition to your congregation, train your leaders to present a 2 minutes speech, which explains the vision behind adding this new site. This way all communication is unified and informed.


Lyle Schaller says there are 2 questions every newcomer asks when attending a church:
  • Whose in charge?
  • Who can answer my questions?
These questions are answered with a campus pastor. You need a face with the place. They are the emcee, the cheerleader, the quality manager, and the talent scout. They are always looking for brand new contributors. The first step in the count-down to launch is identifying the campus pastor.


Don’t recreate your main campus team. Start with campus pastor and then add a specialist who can work with both locations (by this Dave means there will be a Campus Pastor specifically focused upon the site and then supporting staff (like a Small Groups Pastor) who would actually oversee small groups for both church locations).

We need spiritual entrepreneurs. We want 100 key volunteers to start a new location. We tell our people starting a new site, you’ve got to either lead or serve. You can’t just take-up a seat.


$150-200,000 to start a new location


In Dave’s opinion, in the future there will be a lot of churches with 2 sites, a few with 3 sites, and an abundance of churches with 4 or more.

You may be asking the question, “How can multiple-site (and venue) churches stay unified as one church movement?” Here is Dave’s answer:

The Four 1st Are What Unite Your Multiple Sites:
  • 1 Vision – shared mission, vision, slogan, purpose, DNA, etc..
  • 1 Budget – oversee and maintain one church budget
  • 1 Eldership – one elder board oversees the entire regional network
  • 1 Staff – though there are some dedicated site staff, the teaching is the same (usually video from Senior Pastor), the small group oversight is the same, the worship/arts oversight is the same, etc…
Once a month CCC has a leadership community meeting. During this time they train all the leaders from the different sites. The purpose of this training is to impart vision, have discussion huddles, teach leadership skills, etc… (This is where they taught the stump speech for strategy shifts)

CCC operates with the “Big Idea!” – This big idea guides thier teaching topics, small group focus, etc…


Good to Great – is a good book. It teaches that Level 5 leaders are other centered and have an unwavering resolve to do whatever needs to be done. There will come a time when you say, maybe we shouldn’t have done this, but the Level 5 leader will press on.


First Theology said...

Scooter- Sounds like a well thought out approach. I personally appreciate the unified top-down strategy (centered on a shared mission) and the advanced planning that goes into this kind of a process (I was an engineer after all!). I also gravitate toward that b/c I can see that as an area for improvement in my ministry & churchwide.

Side note: On the other hand, do you ever feel like some of these approaches are a little too "businessie" (which I concede isn't a real word)? Sometimes I do... not in a "business is evil" sense rather in a "there isn't exactly a formula to how God works" sense (meaning methodology doesn't equate to God ordained success - that's way too mechanical... back on the other hand - maybe lack of methodology is closely linked to little or no success?). Bit of a ramble & I'm probably just reacting from my pomo-culture but every so often that's how methodology stuff strikes me (even tho I admit I'm a big plan of being strategic). I guess I wanna have my cake & eat it too.

John Carlson said...

Maybe I'm just too child like in my faith and annalogies, but was not God very business like, strategic, methedological, in how he told Noah to build the Ark?

I think it all comes down to balance. It's so easy to read this stuff and take it so litterally, black and white, and without thought for flexibilty and how much more there has to be to the story. (As I confess I often jump to thinking when reading things like this.) It's never that simple as they make it seem or that concrete. (Knowing how Willow would offer ideas such as this, but there was SO much more to it than just a list of course. And so much room, usually, for the Holy Spirit to work and make course corrections along the way. So I think it's good to take note and gather successful "business/mangaement/creative" strategies where we can - but offer great discernement for God's leadings as to how those can be used - or not - and what we do with them. Just like we use modern music and many modern tools taken (or should I say "taken back") from the "world" so to speak. A good idea from the secular work world CAN still be a good idea from God. Can it not?

Again - it's all about balance, discernment, wisdom, Holy Spirit - and working in teams so that we have affirmation of those principles and guides, accountability, etc.


First Theology said...

JC- Yeah, God might direct his people to act in business-like ways but I question the continuity b/w his direct revelation to Noah in building the ark & the present age where believers are indwelt by the spirit as a permanent possession in Christian community... the dynamics might not be as "black & white".

Of course I want to glean from whatever like you, and your call for balance is good. I feel like the "balance" I push toward is away from mechanical-sounding modes towrad growth (tho I fully endorse planning and intentionality).

And NO it's NOT just you. I have to redo the word verification ALL THE TIME.

John Carlson said...

I hate church growth and any strategy towards that as a means to an end. Willow was NEVER about growth for sake of growth either. What I AM about is life change, redemption, people coming to know the true God and finding how they fit into serving Him and the local church, families being re-born/re-built, relationships reconciled, lives being turned from meaningless pursuits to meaningful difference makers for Christ. I'd be happy to know that one instance of that happened in a year, rather than huge attendance spikes.

We do tend to track growth and attendance - or growing less, etc. on a regular basis at PV. How much do we look, "track" (for lack of better words) and celebrate true life change on a regular basis?

Kristen Kufeldt said...

I wish there was some way to communicate an on-fire vision that everyone in our church would want to get on board with. John, I agree with the whole idea of celebrating life-changing events in people more than tracking church growth. I think churches will grow and people will grow in their faith if the people already at the church are unified and motivated by a common goal and vision--seeing others come to know Christ and celebrating those stories when we hear of them. I wish there was more testimony sharing of awesome God stories in our church. I guess that's what I like about small can get to know people on an individual basis, pray for one another, celebrate with them when things are going awesome, and hurt with them when they're not. Why can't we do a little bit more of that in a larger context by letting people in a little bit more on the awesome things God is doing in our lives? Anyway, I am definitely a perfectionist and I like strategy and "busisnessie" (to use Josh's term) ways of doing things. So, I think we can definitely glean some things from Scott's post. But I do think that all of that stuff comes when the church as a whole has a common vision and goal and has God first in their lives...sometimes a hard thing to achieve, but definitely worth all the effort it would take.

PS Just for the record, I've never had to retype the word verification more than once. I have no idea what you guys are talking about! :-)

Kristen Kufeldt said...

Haha! I think God must have been trying to strike me down for my inability to be humble. Because as soon as I tried to send my last post, the word thing failed me too. I had to type a different one.